Swim team competes with big dogs

When it comes to the Moffat County High School boys swim team's annual trip to Denver for the Jeffco swim meet, everything is bigger than normal. There are two days of competition, many of the top Front Range teams are there and, according to MCHS coach Jim Vorhies, the clock that tells the lap time at the Meyers pool in Arvada, would be too big to fit into the Moffat County High School pool.

This year the Bulldogs also finished big.

"Our finish was the best I've had while coaching here," said Vorhies. "We had a very good showing and a lot of the schools that beat us were 5A."

The Bulldogs left before the final competition at the meet. But, at the time, they were sitting in eighth place out of what Vorhies predicted was 25 teams.

The meet usually provides the team with a measurement for what the state swim meet will be like. If that holds true again this year, Vorhies and his team are excited for May.

In the two-day meet, swimmers compete to qualify for the consolation or the regular finals. The regular final is for the top-eight qualifying times and the consolation is for ninth to 16th.

The Bulldogs had four events qualify for the finals. The 200-meter freestyle relay, the medley relay, John Shipley in the 50 freestyle and Chris Compton in the 100 backstroke.

The highest relay team placing for Moffat County was in the 200 freestyle. Shipley, Kellan Moore, John Ilko and Kyle Eitel combined to finish in fourth place. All three teams in front of them were from the Western Slope.

"It's going to be a real dog fight at regionals," Vorhies said. "The schools from the west performed very strong this weekend."

The medley team of Compton, Kyle Eitel, Nick Ruckman and Shipley finished seventh. Compton swam to seventh in the 100 backstroke and Shipley placed fourth in the 50 freestyle.

The best finish of the meet for the Bulldogs came in diving with Shipley earning second, behind a Class 5A diver. Jerry Davis also earned the team points with a ninth-place finish.

Other swimmers making the consolation finals were Compton in the 200 individual medley (14th); Ruckman and Moore in the 100 backstroke, 14th and 16th respectively; Kyle Eitel in the 100 breast stroke (15th); and Ruckman again, who finished .1 second off of a state qualification in the 100 butterfly with a 14th place showing.

"With it being a two-day meet, most of our best times were in the first day," Vorhies said.

"The second day is something we need to work on going into regionals and state, but the hard work is starting to pay off and they are seeing that."

In the JV competition, the Bulldogs had four representatives in the finals. The medley relay team of Andy Key, Nick Raschke, Zach Vorhies and Tim Bailey finished sixth, Key won the 50 freestyle, Vorhies won the 100 breast stroke and the 200 freestyle relay of Vorhies, Bailey Raschke and Key finished sixth.

The next meet for Moffat County is at 4 p.m. Friday in Montrose as the team is counting down to the Western Slope championships, which are in three weeks.

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