Seacats gain automatic times from Stark, relay Scottsbluff/Gering teams both finish third in conference meet
     2015-02-19      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Gering Seacat, sophomore John Stark takes a breath during the finals heat of the Boys 500 Yard Freestyle last Janurary during the Twin City Invitational Swim Meet held at the Scottsbluff Splash Arena. Stark earned an automatic qualification for the state meet in the event last weekend during the GNAC tournament in Columbus with a 5:01.23 time.  
COLUMBUS — Scottsbluff/Gering Seacat, sophomore John Stark became the first individual member of the swimming and diving team to earn automatic qualification into the state tournament with his performance Saturday in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference meet.

In the final competition before the state meet on Feb. 26-28 in Lincoln, the Seacat boys nearly came away with a runner-up finish, with Columbus edging Scottsbluff/Gering 214-208 for second place. Norfolk was the boys’ champion with 362 points.

Norfolk also won the girls’ team title, scoring 307 points. Kearney was second with 244, followed by Scottsbluff/Gering with 223.
While six Seacat boys and four girls had earned individual secondary-qualifying times for state, and all three boys’ relays and two girls’ relays had reached secondary marks heading into the GNAC competition, Stark guaranteed his spot in Lincoln with a huge drop in time in the 500-yard freestyle.

The sophomore from Gering won the race in 5:01.23, knocking about 12 seconds off his best time this year.

Then, with just about a five-minute period to catch his breath, Stark helped put the Seacats’ 400 freestyle relay, which he anchored to a conference championship with a time of 3:29.91 – another automatic state-qualifying time.
Joining Stark on the relay team were sophomores Ian Galindo and Tito Garcia-Ortiz, and freshman McKay Lake.

“John had a phenomenal meet,” Scottsbluff/Gering coach Mike Hayhurst said of Stark, whose leg in the 400 free relay was about 52 seconds. “Last year I thought he got a little overly nervous in the conference meet, but this year he clearly has overcome that.”

Stark also bettered his secondary-qualifier in the 200 freestyle by dropping six seconds off his best mark. His new secondary time of 1:53.60 earned him third place in the boys’ GNAC race.

“He’s a good kid, a hard worker and cracks up everybody all the time,” Hayhurst said of Stark. “He always keeps everybody light.”
Garcia-Ortiz also had a big day individually in the boys’ meet, scoring three new secondary times. He placed fourth in the 100 freestyle in 52.80 and sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:15.26. Garcia-Ortiz also led off the 200 freestyle relay with a secondary time.

The meet also went well for Galindo, who took second in the 200 IM and third in the 100 freestyle.

Also for the Scottsbluff/Gering boys, senior James Maag was third in the 500 freestyle, and junior Jon Hastings was third in the 100 breaststroke. Lake was fourth in the 100 freestyle, and the 200 medley relay team of Maag, Hastings, Galindo and Lake also placed fourth.

In the girls’ meet, Scottsbluff/Gering was led by senior Cierra Weatherfield, who posted third-place finishes in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle. She was also on the Seacats’ third-place 200 medley relay, along with juniors Sarah Cloud and Hannah Holloway, and sophomore Anna Yanke.

Freshman Rosa Garcia was third in diving with 286.40 points, leaving her just shy of the state-qualifying mark of 300 points.

Hayhurst said six boys individual, four individual girls, all three boys’ relays and 200 and 400 freestyle relays with secondary-qualifying times entering the conference meet. Those marks will be considered for next week’s state meet and official entries were to be announced by today (Thursday), he said.

“You just never know who is going to make it in with their secondaries,” Hayhurst said. “Last year was ridiculously fast to get in some events.”

GNAC Championships at Columbus

Girls’ team scoring
Norfolk 307, Kearney 244, Scottsbluff/Gering 223, North Platte 174, Columbus 141, McCook 103, Hastings 85.
Seacat Girls’ Results
200 Medley Relay – 3. Scottsbluff/Gering, 2:05.89 (Cierra Weatherfield, Sarah Cloud, Hannah Holloway, Anna Yanke).
200 freestyle – 6. Megan Hayhurst, 2:17.06; 7. Makala Fogg, 2:27.10; 10. Hailey Sanderson, 2:28.21. 11. Kaitlyn Hayhurst, 2:29.38.
200 individual medley – 3. Cierra Weatherfield, 2:28.31; 5. Sarah Cloud, 2:34.03.
50 freestyle – 5. Hannah Holloway, 27.21.

Diving – 3. Rosa Garcia, 286.40 points; 5. Eliza Hale, 252.05 points.
100 butterfly – 5. Hannah Holloway, 1:08.02 (new secondary); 10. Hana Nagasawa, 1:20.50; 11. Hana Kautz, 1:25.96.
100 freestyle – 5. Anna Yanke, 1:00.53.
500 freestyle – 3. Cierra Weatherfield, 5:41.15; 6. Megan Hayhurst, 6:16.82; 7. Hailey Sanderson, 6:28.88; 10. Makala Fogg, 6:37.35.
200 freestyle relay – 6. Scottsbluff/Gering, 23:01.43 (Sarah Cloud, Megan Hayhurst, Makala Fogg, Hailey Sanderson).
100 backstroke – 11. Hana Nagasawa, 1:18.39.
100 breaststroke – 2. Sarah Cloud, 1:16.94; 4. Anna Yanke, 1:18.86.
400 freestyle relay – 3. Scottsbluff/Gering, 4:05.90 (new secondary) (Hannah Holloway, Cierra Weatherfield, Megan Hayhurst, Anna Yanke).

Boys’ team scoring
Norfolk 362, Columbus 214, Scottsbluff/Gering 208, Hastings 196, North Platte 126, Kearney 100, McCook 76.
Seacat boys’ results
200 medley relay – 4. Scottsbluff/Gering, 1:48.71 (James Maag, Jon Hastings, Ian Galindo, McKay Lake).
200 freestyle – 3. John Stark, 1:53.60 (new secondary); 5. James Maag, 1:58.50; 9. Jon Hastings, 2:05.28.
200 individual medley – 2. Ian Galindo, 2:06.92; 6. Tito Garcia-Ortiz, 2:15.26 (new secondary); 11. Chase Wells, 2:52.80.
50 freestyle – 4. McKay Lake, 23.68.

100 freestyle – 3. Ian Galindo, 51.21; 4. Tito Garcia, 52.80; 8. McKay Lake, 54.71.
500 freestyle – 1. John Stark, 5:01.23 (new automatic); 3. James Maag, 5:20.07.
200 freestyle relay – 6. Scottsbluff/Gering, 1:39.19 (Tito Garcia-Ortiz, James Maag, Jon Hastings, John Stark).
100 backstroke – 9. Chase Osland, 1:14.23.
100 breaststroke – 3. Jon Hastings, 1:06.17; 10. Chase Wells, 1:24.57.
400 freestyle relay – 1. Scottsbluff/Gering, 3:29.91 (new automatic) (Ian Galindo, Tito Garcia, John Stark, McKay Lake).

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