Matt Hulstine, a Moffat County High School sophomore, swims the backstroke March 15 in the MCHS swimming pool. Hulstine will help lead a young Bulldogs team this season after qualifying for the 4A state swim meet in his first year.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Matt Hulstine, a Moffat County High School sophomore, swims the backstroke March 15 in the MCHS swimming pool. Hulstine will help lead a young Bulldogs team this season after qualifying for the 4A state swim meet in his first year.

MCHS boys swim team welcomes 10 newcomers

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Meghan Francone

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Anita Reynolds

BULLDOGS AT A GLANCE:

Coaches: Meghan Francone, Anita Reynolds

Returning swimmers: 4

Returning state qualifiers: 3 (Charlie Griffiths, Matt Hulstine and John Kirk)

Swimmers to watch:

• Sophomore Matt Hulstine, who placed 15th in the 100-meter breaststroke as a freshman last season in the 4A state swim meet.

• Junior John Kirk, who Francone described as a guy who can swim in any event.

• Senior Charlie Griffiths, who qualified for the 4A state swim meet last season. Francone said Griffiths has the will to win.

SCHEDULE:

MCHS boys varsity swimming team’s remaining schedule:

(Time Date Place Event/Host)

TBA April 15 Away Jeffco Invit.

TBA April 16 Away Jeffco Invit.

4 p.m. April 22 Away Montrose

TBA April 23 Away Glenwood Sp.

10 a.m. April 30 Away Grand Junction

3 p.m. May 6 Home Montrose

TBA May 13 Away League meet

TBA May 14 Away League meet

TBA May 20 Away State

TBA May 21 Away State

With a record number of boys on the Moffat County High School boys varsity swimming team this season, coach Meghan Francone said her team has a lot of potential this season.

“With the experience we have in our returning swimmers, the young guys get a lot of good examples,” she said. “Already, just a couple of weeks into the season, the newbies have advanced so much.”

With four returning swimmers, the Bulldogs welcomed 10 newcomers to the team.

Francone said the number is the biggest since 2000 and maybe in the team's history.

The new depth, Francone said, makes the team stronger.

“We are deeper this year and it is really exciting,” she said. “In previous years we are happy to just have four strong swimmers to fill a relay, but this year we have five or six guys fighting for the four spots.”

Seniors Charlie Griffiths and Kevin Murray, junior John Kirk and sophomore Matt Hulstine are the returning Bulldogs this season.

Griffiths, Kirk and Hulstine were all 4A state qualifiers last year.

Francone said the returning swimmers all have strengths they bring to the team.

“In past years, Charlie always wanted to go out and get after it, but he would get all worked up and lose his technique,” she said. “This year, he will be hard to beat because I’ve seen he can hold it together and that will be a deadly combination.”

Hulstine, who placed 15th in the 100-meter breaststroke at the state meet last season, will look to improve even more this season, Francone said.

Francone described Kirk as a swimmer who can compete in any event. In his junior year, he was called to do many things and always got it done, she said.

“Each returning swimmer has something special about them,” she said. “Together, as a team, we will turn heads.”

Before meets began, Francone said her and fellow coach Anita Reynolds ran their team through basic drills.

From endurance to technique, Francone said she wanted to get the guys ready for strong competition.

“Anyone can come in and move their arms for basic drills,” she said. “We wanted to help build their technique through these drills and build up their endurance as well as keep working on starts and turns.”

Of the 10 new swimmers, Francone said she has seen two in summer swimming, but eight are getting in the water for the first time.

Early in the season, freshmen Dalton Kendall, Justin Prosser and Colter Tegtman have been standouts.

When the season started, Francone said most of the new swimmers were “bubble blowers,” or swimmers in need of help in the water. They've since gotten more comfortable.

“The young guys have really stepped up,” she said. “They have become swimmers.”

As the team looks forward to the 4A state meet May 20 and 21, Francone said the team is looking to do big things.

“We are really excited,” she said. “There will be deep competition this year, but we are a deep team, so it should be a good year.”

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