Moffat County swimmers fifth at Western Slope Championships | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County swimmers fifth at Western Slope Championships

Jesse Kurz qualifies for state in two races; swim coach ends time with team

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

Moffat County High School swimmer Jesse Kurz qualified for state in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races during the Western Slope Conference Championships during the weekend in Grand Junction, where the boys swim team placed fifth. Kurz will not attend state in order to focus on finishing school and joining the military.

The season is officially done for Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School boys swimming, though one of its team members finished the schedule with multiple distinctions. boys swimming, though one of its team members finished the schedule with multiple distinctions.

Moffat County High School boys swimming, though one of its team members finished the schedule with multiple distinctions.

MCHS swimmer Jesse Kurz posted state qualifying times during the Western Slope Conference Championships in Grand Junction, hitting the mark in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.

A Friday preliminary time of 23.41 seconds was Kurz's best result this season in the 50 free, though a 23.30 recorded at last season's regional event remains his best ever. He finished third in the Saturday finals at 23.50.

Teammate Jacob Briggs also made it to the finals in the 50, placing sixth, while Devin McIntosh and Wes Atkin were 17th and 18th in the first round.

Kurz also took his lowest time this year in the prelims of the 100 at 52.86, still slightly behind last season, finishing in the finals fourth at 53.39, already a state qualifier in the larger freestyle.

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The MCHS senior, who has qualified all four years, is opting not to compete at the state championships in order to focus on finishing school and a plan to join the United States Air Force.

Kurz was also part of the sixth-place 200 free relay with Briggs, Atkin and Steamboat Springs' Brooks Birkinbine. The same foursome also took sixth in the 200 medley.

Briggs was No. 7 in the 100 backstroke, while Birkinbine placed 10th in the 200 free and 11th in the finals of the 100 breaststroke, the latter of which featured McIntosh 14th and Atkin 15th in the prelims.

The Bulldogs were fifth overall against Montrose, District 51, Glenwood Springs and Durango.

Coach Jeff Wert said the season has been an enjoyable one, his last with the team as he plans to take a job opportunity in Pennsylvania once the school year ends.

"I'm really proud of the whole team this weekend and this season," Wert said. "Everyone improved throughout the season and really worked hard every day in practice to achieve their personal and team goals. I will miss coaching the Bulldogs. I wish the swimming program a lot success in the future. Also, I want to thank all the parents, administration, and athletes for a successful season and being able to coach at Moffat County High School."