Jim Vorhies' plan for his boys swim team is progressing perfectly.
The Moffat County High School team qualified the 400-meter freestyle relay team for state during the two-day meet at Montrose. The Bulldogs now have all three relays qualified.
"This is exactly what I had hoped we would do," he said. "Get the two short relays first and then go after the long."
Vorhies has five swimmers -- all juniors -- who are state-caliber competitors. He stacked a different relay every meet early in the season with four of those five swimmers and each time it qualified.
This weekend the 400 relay was stacked with Andy Key, Chris Compton, Nick Ruckman and Blake Worsley. Not only did it qualify for state, but the Bulldogs broke the school record by more than four seconds.
"That's just the tip of the iceberg for that team," Vorhies said. "It was their first time to compete together."
Anther first-timer at the meet was Andy Key. He had been playing basketball for Rangely in the state tournament when the spring season started.
"He's looking really good for just his first meet," Vorhies said. "I'm excited for what he'll be able to do."
In the 21-team meet, the 400-freestyle relay demolished the school record but finished seventh.
"There were some Eastern Slope 5A teams there," Vorhies said. "To say the least there were some fast swims."
The Bulldogs had 12 other events in which they finished in the top 10.
Ruckman was the only first-place finisher with a meet-best swim in the 50 butterfly.
Compton was the second-fastest swimmer at the meet in the 50 backstroke.
The 50 breaststroke had two scoring finishes for Moffat County with Zach Vorhies finishing fifth and Key sixth.
In the 50 freestyle the Bulldogs had three top-10 finishers in Ruckman, fifth, Worsley, ninth, and Key, 10th.
The Bulldogs were more competitive in the shorter swims with seven top-10 finishes. The greater success in the shorter events is something Vorhies said is a sign of his team not being a year-around club.
"We won't swim with the year-round clubs in the longer distances yet because we haven't put in the work that they have," he said. "Later in the season is when the longer races will come along."
In the 100 freestyle, Worsley was less than a second off a state cut with a seventh-place finish. Zach Vorhies also improved to nearly a state-qualifying time with a seventh-place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
The 200 freestyle relay of Worsley, Zach Vorhies, Ruckman and Key improved on its season best with a sixth-place finish that was less than a second from a school record.
The 100 back was another fast swim for Compton, good enough for seventh place.
In the 400 medley relay, Compton, Vorhies, Ruckman and Worsley took eighth place.
The meet was a two-day, 21-event setting, which allowed Vorhies to put his best guys in each relay. Normally he decides which relay he wants to swim fast on a certain day and then gives some of the younger swimmers experience in the other relays.
"We had enough rest in between to stack most of the relays," he said. "Not to take away from our young guys because everybody swam well this weekend."
The Bulldogs have home meets the next two weekends before the Jeffco Invite in three weeks.
"I hope to get our younger guys to score some points for us the next couple of weeks," Vorhies said.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 970-824- 7031 ext. 211 or firstname.lastname@example.org