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Make it 18 state titles in a row for Lander Tiger boys

Mar 2, 2014 - By Judy Crawford

GILLETTE -- The Lander Tigers won a remarkable 18th consecutive Class 3-A swim state championship Friday.

Lander scored 274 points in the team race for the title. Powell placed second at 195 points, and Worland came in third with 176 points in the 11-team field.

Friday's kicked off with the medley relay. Tucker Russell launched the backstroke, followed by first-seeded breaststroker Ryan Crawford, who tagged butterflier Zach Noffsinger (digging through an injured and taped wrist), who handed it off to Tyler Marchetti. All swam personal-best times in finishing second behind the small but mighty Rawlins Outlaws.

In the 200-yard freestyle, it was third-seeded Sublette swimmer Tanner Trujillo commanding from the blocks to the finish, with the real duel between Tiger Drew Gramlich and Powell Panther Ben Wetzel taking place on the chase. In the end the longtime friendly rivals tied for second touching at exactly the same time over the distance. Riley Patterson and Chance Nelson locked in fifth and sixth places for Lander as the score spread widened.

The individual medley played out in a similar fashion with Worland Warrior Connor Petty dominating after a reserved preliminary swim. Tigers Tucker Russell and Ryan Crawford took second- and third-place points for the team. Nick Krassin swam up from the 12th seed, capturing ninth place.

When it comes to the short-distance freestyle races, Griffin Leemon is the most unassuming sprinter on the blocks. His torpedo-trajectory style and uniquely lean build defied stereotypical body types when personal-besting for fourth in the 50 and fifth in the 100-yard distances. Tyler Marchetti, fitting the same mold, staked his own claim, swimming up from 10th to seventh place and boosting the points tally.

Through 11 dives Terrell McNiven's height and grace, rotations and twists earned him second place. Andrew Fallin earned fifth, and Noah Kreager was 10th. Senior Dillon Hedges represented Lander in the 100-yard butterfly pulling in 10th-place points while being honored with the Good Sportsman of the Year award with three others.

The biggest point spread of the meet was gained by the four distance swimmers, with Gramlich second, Riley Patterson fourth, Chance Nelson sixth and Nate Robinson seventh, collectively putting the advancing Worland Warriors 72 points back after the 500 free.

Crisp turns and a fast start marked Tucker Russell's lifetime-best 100 backstroke, covering the distance in 56:05 for second place. Thomas Geer and Ellis Peterson pulled to eighth and 10th places.

State champion

The sole individual victory of the meet went to breaststroker Ryan Crawford, racing strategically as well as fast.

"We came off the wall at the 50, and I knew I was going to have to time this finish perfectly to beat him (Cody Senior Nic Snyder)," Crawford said. In the end it was Crawford's reach to Snyder's extra stroke that decided the .35 second outcome.

Assistant Coach of the Year was awarded to Lander's Lantien Chu.

"I'm a better swimmer because of her skill," Crawford said.

The 400 relay team sealed the deal with its best effort to date, claiming second to the Outlaws.

In the books

"Do you see those banners, boys (referring to the 17 state championship banners adorning the south wall of the pool)," coach Tim Hester said as he prepared the team.

"They don't sell those, and they don't give those away. You earn those banners with every stroke, every situp, every interval we've done together."

Now No. 18 will adorn that wall.

Lander swim results from Class 3-A boys state meet

Team standings -- 1. Lander, 274; 2. Powell, 195; 3. Worland, 176.0; 4. Rawlins, 154; 5. Kemmerer, 147; 6. Lyman, 114; 7. Sublette, 94; 8. Douglas, 86; 9. Cody, 66; 10. Buffalo, 48.

200- yard Medley Relay -- 1. Rawlins, 1:43.64; 2. Lander (Tucker Russell, Ryan Crawford, Zach Noffsinger, Tyler Marchetti) 1:45.68; 3. Kemmerer, 1:46.07; 4. Powell, 1:47.02; 5. Worland, 1:47.52; 6. Douglas, 1:48.94; 7. Cody, 1:52.58; 8. Buffalo, 1:55.18; 9. Lyman. 1:57.92; 10. Sublette, 2:09.52.

200- yard Freestyle -- 1. Taner Trujillo, Sublette, 1:48.97; 2. Drew Gramlich, Lander, 1:49.77; 5. Riley Patterson, Lander, 1:55.60; 6. Chance Nelson, Lander, 1:55.97; 8. Justin Ellsworth, Lander, 2:00.70.

200- yard Individual Medley -- 1. Connor Petty, 1:59.16; 2. Tucker Russell, Lander, 2:04.48; 3. Ryan Crawford, Lander, 2:04.76; 11. Nick Krassin, Lander, 2:18.96.

50- yard Freestyle -- 1. Garrett Walton, Kemmerer, 22.39; 4. Griffin Leemon, Lander, 23.14.

1- meter Diving -- 1. Austin, Rettinghouse, Worland, 447.40; 2. Terrell McNiven, Lander, 373.90; 5. Andrew Fallin, Lander, 290.80; 10. Noah Kreager, Lander, 234.65.

100- yard Butterfly -- 1. Zach Cain, Rawlins, 54.67; 10. Dillon Hedges, Lander, 1:02.32.

100- yard Freestyle -- 1. Connor Petty, Worland, 47.71; 5. Griffin Leemon, Lander, 50.69; 4. Tyler Marchetti, Lander, 52.38.

500- yard Freestyle -- 1. Ben Wetzel, Powell, 5:00.47; 2. Drew Gramlich, Lander, 5:06.52; 4. Riley Patterson, Lander, 5:17.23; 5. Chance Nelson, Lander, 5:20.76; 7. Nate Robinson, Lander, 5:27.91.

200- yard Freestyle Relay -- 1. Kemmerer, 1:31.69; 2. Worland, 1:32.93; 3. Lyman, 1:33.15; 4. Lander (Ryan Crawford, Griffin Leemon, Tyler Marchetti, Drew Gramlich) 1:33.39; 5. Powell, 1:36.77; 6. Sublette County, 1:37.30; 7. Cody, 1:41.06; 8. Buffalo, 1:41.10.

100- yard Backstroke -- 1. Zach Cain, 54.88; 2. Tucker Russell, Lander, 56.40; 8. Ellis Peterson, Lander, 1:01.93; 10. Thomas Geer, Lander, 1:03.76; 12. Dillon Hedges, Lander, 1:05.96.

100- yard Breaststroke -- 1. Ryan Crawford, Lander, 1:01.06; 12. Ellis Peterson, Lander, 1:13.32.

400- yard Freestyle Relay -- 1. Rawlins, 3:25.08; 2. Lander (Griffin Leemon, Chance Nelson, Drew Gramlich, Tucker Russell) 3:25.68; 3. Lyman, 3:30.22; 4. Sublette, 3:3:33.18; 5. Powell, 3:35.21; 6. Worland, 3:39.47; 7. Kemmerer, 3:59.75; 8. Douglas, 4:05.46; 9. Cody, 4:07.68.

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