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Kelly Walsh wins regional; Wolverines third
Thomas Pointon of Riverton High School followed the touch of Chade Hanson in the 200-yard freestyle relay Saturday at the Riverton Aquatic Center during competition at the Class 4-A North regional swim championships. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Kelly Walsh wins regional swim; Wolverines finish in third

Feb 13, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine Staff Writer

Casper Kelly Walsh High School, under the leadership conference coach of the year Dean Hawks, outscored Gillette by 32 points to run away with the Class 4-A West regional boys swimming championship Saturday at the Riverton Aquatic Center.

The Trojans tallied 407 points to outdistance second-place Gillette's 375 points to win the title.

The Riverton Wolverines placed an expected third with 200 points.

Casper Natrona, with 95 points, and Sheridan with 66 points trailed the field.

Four pool records were set Saturday: Kelly Walsh's 1:32.56 swim in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Gillette phenom Nick Dillinger's 1:55.90 in the 200-yard individual medley, Wayco Bailey of Natrona's 479.45 in diving ,and Gillette's Collin Baldacci's 49.12 in the 100-yard freestyle.

Senior Thomas Pointon stroked to two third-place finishes to lead Riverton. Pointon swam a 1:56.46 in the 200-yard freestyle and a 52.98 in the 100-yard freestyle.

"Both were personal bests," Pointon said.

Pointon's 100-yard leadoff leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay was two-tenths of a second faster than his previous best, according to Wolverine head coach Jay Dayton.

Eli Horyza, a junior, placed third in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:13.32 and a placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:00.6.

Sophomore Erik Horyza, still improving from an early-season shoulder injury, placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.05 and won the consolation championship in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:09.61. Had Erik Horyza posted that time during the finals, he would have placed third.

The big surprise of the meet for Riverton was the performance of freshman Justyn Root, who qualified for the state meet in diving. Root placed sixth with a score of 289.7.

"We had some outstanding performances. He (Root) has come a long way. He couldn't do 11 dives when the year started," head coach Jay Dayton said.

Shay Boyle is the Riverton's assistant coach in charge of diving.

"She does an outstanding job. That is exactly where we want our freshman diver. We were ecstatic about that," Dayton said.

Clayton Murdock (11th, 200-yard freestyle), Than Esposito (10th, 200-yard individual medley), Chade Hanson (7th, 100-yard freestyle; 9th, 50-yard freestyle), Edwin Erickson (11th, 500-yard freestyle), Ryan Murdock (12th, 500-yard freestyle; 12th 100-yard breaststroke), Romelo Cortez (12th 100-yard backstroke), Caleb Heil (8th, 100-yard backstroke) and Tyler Matson (8th, 100-yard breaststroke) all scored consolation points for the Wolverines.

Although Kelly Walsh won the conference championship, it is unlikely the Trojans will finish in the top five at the state meet that starts in two weeks in Gillette.

"At the beginning of the year, we figured that we would be stuck in second (in conference) again. The guys just trained hard to pull something special out. There are so many dynamic teams in the state this year that have upper echelon kids. You're looking at Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Laramie, Gillette and Rock Springs that should be in the top five at state," Hawks said.

Hawks, who has been working at the Kelly Walsh pool since 1977 and has coached the team for many of those years, plans to retire after this season.

"It's nice to go out on top," Hawks said.

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