Top-3 finish for Seacats at conference meet
     2016-02-19      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Laura Beahm/Hastings Tribune 02-13-16 Scottsbluff's Megan Hayhurst competes in the 500-yard freestyle race at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference swim meet Saturday in Hastings. 
The Scottsbluff/Gering Seacats swimming and diving team turned in solid performances on Feb. 13 in Hastings. Both the boys and the girls placed in the top three at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference meet.

“We were really happy with how the meet went,” said Head Coach Mike Hayhurst. “We started off a little slow the first couple of events. We knew the medley relay wasn’t going to be our best event because we loaded our other relays. We thought we could win those or were looking for state qualifying times.”

The Seacat boys’ team met expectations, being seeded second and finishing the meet second place with 256 points. Norfolk was crowned champion with 358 team points.

A number of the boys also turned in some excellent performances. Ian Galindo has an automatic state-qualifying mark of 2:04.25 while winning the 200 IM event.

The Seacat boys other first-place finishes included victories in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races by sophomore McKay Lake. He and teammates Galindo, John Stark and Tito Garcia also won the 400-meter freestyle relay. Stark also finished first in the 500-meter freestyle event.

Jon Hastings posted a runner-up finish in the 100-meter breaststroke, while the 200-meter freestyle relay team of Lake, Galindo, Garcia and Stark finished in third place.

In boys’ diving on Feb. 12, Avery Bailey also got an automatic qualifying mark, placing fourth with 324.45.

“This is Avery’s first year of diving,” Hayhurst said. “To go out for diving and three months later qualifying for state is pretty impressive. Diving takes a while to get used to, but he has a lot of natural talent.”

The fourth-seeded Seacat girls improved on their ranking, accumulating 187 points for a third-place team finish. Runner-up Kearney scored 227 points. The Norfolk girls won the championship with 294 points.

Among other individual divers, the Seacats Mana Garcia finished with 324.40.

The Seacat girls’ relay teams earned second place finishes in two events. Anna Yanke, Kayla DeBlieck, Hannah Holloway and Megan Hayhurst competed in both the 200-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle relay. In those events, they also posted new secondary times.

For individual events, Holloway placed third in the 100-meter butterfly.

Yanke finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke and registered a new secondary time of 59.69 in the 100-meter freestyle.

Next up: The Seacats travel to Nebraska’s state meet which is scheduled for Feb. 25-27 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln. Hayhurst said all three relay teams for boys and girls are going to the state tourney. A total of 18 swimmers and divers will make the trip.

“We have a good number of events, especially on the boys’ side,” Hayhurst said. “The boys have a solid shot of finishing in the top 10, which is a good goal for us swimming against all the big schools from Lincoln and Omaha.”

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