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Sweet 16! Tigers win again
Tiger Darren Pursel placed second in the Class 3-A 100-yard butterfly and Lander won a record-setting sixteenth straight Class 3-A state championship. Photo by Melissa Gray

Tigers win 16th straight!

Feb 26, 2012 - Melissa Gray

The Lander boys swimming and diving team now holds 16 consecutive Class 3-A state titles and reportedly is tied for seventh best on the nation's list of consecutive swimming and diving titles.

So much time has elapsed that nearly half of this year's team wasn't even born the last time Lander lost the crown.

"This is a unique way to win a state title," mused Coach Bruce Gresly, "We didn't take one first-place finish. That's never happened before. It was absolutely a team effort. Everybody stepped up."

"I've never seen anything like it," said assistant coach Lantien Chu. "Twenty of the 22 swimmers we had seeded in the preliminaries swam personal best times, placing them in the top 12 at finals, many of them in two events."

Coaches said the times as state fastest top to bottom that they have been in a while.

"The boys really jelled as a team in the last couple of weeks," added assistant coach Hester, "They trained hard, and they came to win."

Lander claimed second-place honors in three individual events and both the medley and 200-freestyle relays. Gresly identified the 500-yard freestyle as the most exciting race of the meet. Lander's Drew Gramlich left the blocks next to Buffalo's Neil Meddars and Worland's Alec Hampton and matched them stroke for stroke for 19 lengths. When the final horn sounded and they pushed off the last wall, it was a 25-yard sprint to the finish with Meddars first, Gramlich second, and Hampton third. "You don't usually see that in the 500, " said Gresly. " All the times were very close."

Lander Alan Mandel, was commended publicly for his sportsmanship as he finished second to Worland's Austin Rettinghouse by a mere 3.5 points. Darren Pursel finished second in the 100-yard fly. Chad Mason claimed third in the 100-yard backstroke.

"You swam like champions and acted like champions," Gresly told the team. "You earned the state title."

Team standings

1. Lander 284.5

2. Buffalo 194.5

3.Worland 181.5

Individual results

200 Yard Medley Relay- 1. Buffalo, 1:44.90. 2. Lander (Darren Pursel, Matt Robinson, Chad Mason, Bobby Cecrle), 1:46.30.

200 -Yard Freestyle- 1. Alec Hampton, Wor, 1:49.92. 4. Matt Robinson, Lan, 1:55.47. 5. Drew Gramlich, Lan, 1:55.69. 9. Chance Nelson, Lan, 2:03.66. 11. Justin Ellsworth, Lan, 2:04.66.

200-Yard Individual Medley-1. Zach Cain, Raw, 2:06.20. 1. Nate Holt, Buf, 2:06.20. 4. Darren Pursel, Lan, 2:12.27. 10. Daniel Bolding, Lan, 2:22.51. 11. Tucker Russell, Lan, 2:23.62.

50-Yard Freestyle-1. Chase Walton, Cod, 22.46. 7. Bobby Cecrle, Lan, 23.59.

1-Meter Diving-1. Austin Rettinghouse, Wor, 409.40. 2. Alan Mandel, Lan, 405.90. 3. Terrell McNiven, Lan, 356.40. 4. Ian Etter, Lan, 285.40. 8. Scot Jones, Lan, 257.40.

100-Yard Butterfly-1. Tylor Weiss, Dou, 54.92. 2. Darren Pursel, Lan, 57.24. 8. Dillon Hedges, Lan, 1:03.76. 9. Chad Mason, Lan, 1:04.94. 11. Philip Baron, Lan, 1:05.73.

100-Yard Freestyle-1. Connor Petty, Wor, 48.52. 6. Seth Dayton, Lan, 53.27. 8. Steven Wilcox, Lan, 53.71. 10. Zach Tilton, Lan, 54.48.

500-Yard Freestyle-1. Neil Meddars, Buf, 5:09.80. 2. Drew Gramlich, Lan, 5:11.96. 8. Daniel Bolding, Lan, 5:34.29. 9. Justin Ellsworth, Lan, 5:34.44. 11. Riley Patterson, 5:37.36.

200-Yard Free Relay-1. Worland, 1:33.06. 2. Lander (Matt Robinson, Darren Pursel, Bobby Cecrle, Alan Mandel.)

100-Yard Backstroke-1. Nate Holt, Buf, 57.39. 3. Chad Mason, Lan, 1:03.61. 6. Tucker Russell, Lan, 1:04.68. 7. Thomas Geer, Lan, 1:03.88. 9. Dillon Hedges, 1:04. 34.

100-Yard Breaststroke-1. Erron Hopkins, Kem, 1:01.11. 5. Alan Mandel, Lan, 1:04.40. 6. Matt Robinson, Lan, 1:05.63. 10. Seth Dayton, Lan, 1:11.02. 12. Zach Tilton, Lan, 1:12.08.

400-Yard Freestyle Relay-1. Worland, 3:23.66. 4. Lander (Bobby Cecrle, Seth Dayton, Drew Gramlich, Alan Mandel), 3:37.43.

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