Wiebe medals twice, Miller places at state
     2013-02-28      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Jon Wiebe 
LINCOLN -- When it came to the Scottsbluff/Gering Seacats swimming and diving team's performances at the Nebraska Swimming and Diving Championships, sprint swimmer Jon Wiebe saved his best splashes for last.

And junior diver Noah Miller made his first big splash, with perhaps more to come next season as a senior.
Wiebe, the senior leader of the Seacats who was making his third state meet appearance, earned two medals with a pair of top-six finishes at the Bob Devaney Sports Center's aquatic arena.

Wiebe finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle final with a career-best time of 48.41 seconds. He qualified for the final with a 48.48-second time on Friday. Creighton Prep sophomore Sean Tate won the 100 free, in 46.42 seconds.

"All you can do is ask a kid to do is to their best, and he got up there and did a great job," Seacats coach Mike Hayhurst said.
Wiebe, who had the third-best state-qualifying time (21.88 seconds) entering the state meet in the 50 free, had to settle for a sixth-place medal after falling from a third-place spot at the final turn.

Nevertheless, his 22.27-second time got him a state medal this year after he placed 10th in the 50 free last February. Wiebe’s preliminary time Friday was 22.03. The 50 free winner also was Tate, with a clocking of 20.76 seconds.

"Jon came in four years ago, never had swum before, never been on a swim team, with really no swimming experience at all, and what he did doesn't happen very often in Nebraska," Hayhurst said.
"He comes in and goes to state as a sophomore, he places his junior year and he double medals his senior year, and all the way through he has always given great effort, been a good team leader, did everything we asked him to do and it paid off."

On Thursday -- a day when travel was brought to a crawl in some places in Nebraska because of Winter Storm Q and wreaked havoc on the swimmers' practice schedules -- Miller made his goal of placing in the top 12 by finishing 10th with 305.55 points.

Miller missed getting the eighth-place medal by more than 18 points. The winning diver was Ralston/Omaha Gross Catholic sophomore Joey Weber with 458.60 points.

"Their goal was to make the finals, which is the top 12, and he accomplished that," Hayhurst said. "I saw his first seven dives, and what I saw I thought were his best dives all year.

"The scoring at state is much tighter and he's not as well known a person back east, so next year he will be in better shape. They (judges) have seen him twice now at the state meet, and I thought he dove great and handled the pressure really, really well."
With Wiebe and Miller’s top-16 results, the Seacat boys finished with 34 team points, good for 18th place. Creighton Prep dominated the boys’ competition, amassing 409.5 points, with Lincoln Southeast a distant second with 212 points.

The girls’ division had Millard West take first with 267 points, with Omaha Marian second with 197.
Omaha Westside, which won both divisions of the Seacats’ Tri-City Invitational on Jan. 18-19, finished sixth in the girls’ division with 159.5 points and 10th in the boys’ team race with 90 points.
Although none of the Seacat girls' entrants made the top 16, Hayhurst said plenty of pride and excitement was to be passed among the other Scottsbluff/Gering state qualifiers.

"We had 11 swims and one dive, and we had nine best times," Hayhurst said. "The best example was Sarah Cloud, who dropped three seconds in a 100 breaststroke, and that's just unheard of.

"A lot of these kids got experience at state, and we had a couple kids as alternates who didn't swim but they got to see it and experience it. One of our junior kids who went on a relay and had never been before said, 'This is cool!' They were really excited about everything that goes on, so that is just fantastic."

In looking toward next season, Hayhurst has a solid unit of girls returning while the younger boys will have to step up and join Miller as team leaders.

"All of the girl state qualifiers will be back, and the guys we lose three seniors plus a junior who is going to Australia as a foreign exchange student," Hayhurst said. "But we bring back the bulk of our team and that's exciting."

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