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17 straight: Tiger boys are 3-A state swim champions again
Lander Valley High School's boys swimming and diving team won its 17th consecutive Class 3-A swimming and diving state championship Saturday in Gillette. Only five other high school swim teams in history have won more state crowns in a row, and Lander's is the longest active streak. Photo by Melissa Gray

17 straight: Tiger boys are 3-A state swim champions again

Feb 24, 2013 - By Melissa Gray

Lander won two individual and two relay first places and on their way to final victory.

GILLETTE -- Number 17 is in the books for the Lander Valley High School swimming and diving team. The Tiger boys won their17th consecutive Class 3-A state championship Saturday in Gillette, moving the team up another spot in the National Federation of High School's record book.

Lander now hold the sixth-longest high school championship swim streak in the nation, and the only one in the top six that is active.

Lander won two individual and two relay first places and on their way to the final victory.

Friday's preliminary swims provided the base for Lander's winning score in Saturday's finals. Pre-meet tension was thick as the boys wondered whether all their training would be enough and if "the taper" would work.

"You gotta trust Bruce," assistant coach Aaron Steele offered, referring to head coach Bruce Gresly.

"He's been doing this a long time with a lot of success. Let him coach and you swim."

The Tigers entered 23 boys in 36 individual splashes, and all but eight swims qualified in the top 12, sending the swimmers on to Saturday's final meet.

"It's all won or lost in prelims," said Gresly, "and the boys really stepped up and swam some great times. "Of course they had some great swims in finals too, " he added with a smile.

Tucker Russell, Zach Tilton, Darren Pursel, and Bobby Cecrle secured the first win of Saturday's championship finals by swimming a Northwest Sectional-qualifying time in the 200-yard medley relay. Matt Robinson and Drew Gramlich kicked to third and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle event.

Pursel, Tilton, and freshman Ryan Crawford followed, earning third-, fourth-, and sixth-place points in the 200-yard individual medley. Cecrle powered to a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle.

Lander's Terrell McNiven and Worland's Austin Rettinghouse battled it out over two days and 11 dives for the top spot on the podium. In the end it came down to the last dive, with Rettinghouse finishing first and McNiven a close second. Lander's Scot Jones finished sixth.

Following diving, Pursel flew to second place in the 100-yard butterfly and Russell finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Defeating both Powell's Jarred LaPierre and the heavily favored Buffalo swimmer Neil Meddars, Lander's Drew Gramlich impressed the crowd with his grit by earning a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. Riley Patterson was fifth.

Cecrle, Robinson, Tilton, and Gramlich combined to a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay and at that point it became clear that Lander would claim the day.

Russell went sub-60, kicking to second in the 100-yard backstroke. Matt Robinson pulled to Lander's second individual win of the day in his signature event, the 100-yard breaststroke. Tilton and Crawford backed him up in fourth and fifth.

Cecrle, Pursel, Gramlich, and Robinson closed the season for the Tigers finishing less than a second behind the Buffalo Bison in the 400 freestyle relay, both teams breaking NW sectional mark.

Lander defeated second-place Buffalo by more than 100 points. Worland was third.

2013 Class 3-A state

swimming and diving championships

1. Lander 317

2. Buffalo 207

3. Worland169

200 yard medley relay: 1. Lander (Tucker Russell, Zach Tilton, Darren Pursel, Bobby Cecrle), 1:43.09; 2. Worland, 1:46.14; 3. Buffalo, 1:46.74.

200 freestyle: 1. Neil Medders, Buf, 1:49.22; 2. Taner Trujillo, Sub, 1:49.92; 3. Matt Robinson, Lan, 1:51.91; 4. Drew Gramlich, Lan, 1:54.29; 9. Chance Nelson, Lan, 1:57.93; 10. Riley Patterson, Lan, 1:58.79.

200 individual medley: 1. Connor Petty, Wor, 1:59.96; 2. Nate Holt, Buf, 2:03.44; 3. Darren Pursel, Lan, 2:07.62; 4. Zach Tilton, Lan, 2:13.67; 6. Ryan Crawford, LAN, 2:17.21.

50 freestyle: 1. Symen Ooms, Wor, 21.97; 2. Bobby Cecrle, Lan, 22.87; 3. Devon Stapel, Kem, 23.13; 9. Zach Noffsinger, Lan, 24.76;11. Dalton Koshko, Lan, 25.02.

1-meter diving: 1. Austin Rettinghouse, Wor, 409.15; 2. Terrell McNiven, Lan, 397.20; 3. Justin Land, Buf, 339.90; 6. Scot Jones, Lan, 280; 8. Ian Etter, Lan, 273.85; 11. Andrew Fallin, Lan, 245.95.

100 butterfly: 1. 2. Connor Petty, Wor, 53.75; 2. Darren Pursel, Lan, 54.26; 3. Zach Cain, Raw, 55.70; 8. Daniel Bolding, Lan, 1:00.80.

100 freestyle: 1. Symen Ooms, Wor, 47.94; 2. Matt Archibald, Kem, 49.18; 3. Taner Trujillo, Sub, 49.85; 6. Tucker Russell, Lan, 53.34; 9. Griffin Leemon, Lan, 55.34.

500 freestyle: 1. Drew Gramlich, Lan, 5:07.96; 2. Jarred LaPierre, Pow, 5:10.64; 3. Neil Meddars, Buf, 5:12.24; 5. Riley Patterson, Lan, 5:19.77; 9. Justin Ellsworth, Lan, 5:31.15; 9. Chance Nelson, Lan, 5:33.46.

200 freestyle relay: 1. Lander (Bobby Cecrle, Matt Robinson, Zach Tilton, Drew Gramlich), 1:33.03; 2. Kemmerer, 1:34.44; 3. Worland, 1:34.59.

100 backstroke: 1. Nate Holt, Buf, 54.12 ; 2. Tucker Russell, Lan, 58.75; 3. Nic Tracy, Pow, 59.7; 12. Ellis Peterson, LAN, 1:05.93.

100 breaststroke: 1. Matt Robinson, Lan, 1:02.04; 2. Zach Cain, Raw, 1:02.82; 3. Matt Archibald, Kem,1:03.67; 4. Zach Tilton, Lan, 1:05.03; 5. Ryan Crawford, Lan, 1:05.54; 11. Daniel Bolding, Lan, 1:10.81.

400 freestyle relay: ; 1. Buffalo, 3:23.94; 2. Lander (Bobby Cecrle, Darren Pursel, Drew Gramlich, Matt Robinson), 3:24.72; 3. Lyman, 3:33.79.

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