Seacats make waves at home
     2016-01-29      By Staff Report    editor@geringcitizen.com
Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photography Seacats junior John Stark took first place in Boys 500-yard Freestyle at the Twin City Invitational swimming meet at the Splash Arena in Scottsbluff on Saturday. 
Gering and Scottsbluff swimmers were at home at the Splash Arena on Jan. 24 as the Seacats posted big wins at the Twin Cities Invitational.

The Seacat girls’ team was a 358-236 winner over runner-up North Platte, while the boys also picked up the win over North Platte by a 339-294 score.

Although perennial swimming powerhouse Omaha Westside didn’t make it for the event, two new teams were there – the Cheyenne South boys’ team and the girls’ team from Holyoke, Colo.

“We swam phenomenally well and better than expected,” said Seacats Coach Mike Hayhurst. “We got three automatic swims for state and four new secondary swims. The people who didn’t get lifetime best times got season bests.”

Hayhurst said the home meet is always good for them because they don’t have to travel five or six hours, plus a time change, for road meets.

Among the many Seacat highlights, McKay Lake was named Boys Swimmer of the Meet after wins in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. His 100-yard time of 49.84 seconds was well under the state qualifying time he posted earlier in the season.

“McKay is only a sophomore and continues to swim great,” Hayhurst said. “He’s got a lot of talent and speed.”

Gering student Jon Hastings posted a state qualifying time of 1:03.49 in the 100 meter breaststroke. He was also part of the state qualifying 400 meter freestyle team along with John Stark, Ian Galindo and Chase Osland.

Other automatic state qualifiers for the Seacat boys were Mana Garcia in diving, and the 200 meter relay team of Hastings, Galindo, Lake and Tito Garcia-Ortiz.

The Seacat girls also had new secondary state-qualifying times with Anna Yanke in the 100 meter breaststroke (1:15.77), Kayla DeBlieck in the 50 meter freestyle (27:56), and the girls’ medley relay team of DeBlieck, Yanke, Hannah Holloway and Megan Hayhurst (2:05.63).

Seacat girls also placed first in the 200 meter relay. Holloway won the 100 meter butterfly and Yanke took first in the in the 100 meter freestyle.

The team of Holloway, DeBlieck, Hayhurst and Yanke also claimed the 400 meter freestyle relay.

The Seacats team leaves Jan. 29 for the Omaha Westside Invite over the weekend. “That’s probably the stiffest competition we have all year other than state,” Hayhurst said. “It’s a huge meet with about 15 teams and the competition is fast across the board.”

Hayhurst said team members stay with the families of Westside swimmers, which is a great experience of meeting new friends.

“A lot of times, these stays turn into friendships that go on for years,” he said. “In college, some of the kids ended up rooming with the Westside kids. It’s a cool deal.”

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