Swimmers shine at state meet
It was a moment that had never been experienced by a Moffat County boy swimmer.
With Rage Against the Machine rocking over the speakers, the 200-medley relay team of seniors Chris Compton, Zach Vorhies, Nick Ruckman and Blake Worsley walked across the pool deck and were announced for the finals.
“It was amazing,” Vorhies said. “It was memorable.”
It was the first event of the Class 4A state swim meet and the rocked-out walk along the pool deck was the first of many firsts for the team.
The Bulldogs had never made a swimming final. They proceeded to have three of the four members swim personal bests and finish third.
“We were all over the place in the pool,” coach Jim Vorhies said. “We really surpassed what I expected.”
As a team, Moffat scored 142 points, which was good enough for seventh-place overall and was almost five times more than the team’s previous best, 34th, at state.
“Just seeing coach happy was rewarding,” Compton said. “He told us he never expected us to do so well.”
Even Friday night, Vorhies didn’t expect his team to do as well as it did Saturday.
“I sat down Friday and added up our potential points,” he said. “I thought we would be around 114 or 115.”
The medley team was ranked second going into Saturday so Vorhies did expect them to do well. They swam another school record with a time of 1 minute, 41.37 seconds.
The unexpected performances came from the 200 freestyle relay, Compton in the 100 backstroke and Ruckman in the 50 freestyle.
“They just finally pulled it through,” Vorhies said about the freestyle relay.
The relay was seeded sixth going into the finals. The team of Zach Vorhies, Ruckman, Worsley and senior Andy Key finished fourth.
Compton had qualified for state in the 100 backstroke and finished 14th, 16th and 16th the last three years. His personal best before this year was 59.3 seconds. He finished the final backstroke of his high school career with a personal best of 56.13 and in third place — the best individual finish for a Bulldog in the meet.
And to think, Compton was a little doubtful about his ability at the beginning of the season because of a knee injury in football.
“I was optimistic but I had a had the thought in the back of my mind, ‘what if my knee doesn’t hold out?'” he said.
His knee held as he out-kicked two other racers for third place.
“It was an act of God,” he said. “I didn’t know if I could finish but I did. I had a sense of urgency this year and although I didn’t get to train as much I knew there was no holding back.”
Ruckman broke through in the 50 freestyle last week with a first-place finish and a swim in the 23-second range at the Western Slope Championships. Saturday he swam his way into the 22-second range (22.96) and into a fifth-place finish. Worsley was just in front of him in fourth place.
Worsley also finished sixth in the 100 freestyle. Worsley ended up with four top-eight finishes in the finals for the day.
“Blake is such a raw talent,” Vorhies said. “He’ll go on to do great things.”
Other point scorers for the Bulldogs were: Ruckman, 10th in the 100 butterfly; Compton, 13th in the 50 freestyle; Key, 14th in the freestyle; the 400 relay team of Vorhies, Key, Compton and Karschner was 12th.
“This should give swimming at the high school some notoriety,” Compton said.
Coach Vorhies said he thought it would bring notoriety beyond the hometown.
“For a little seasonal club we did great things,” he said. “They were just a great bunch of guys.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Across seven games, Moffat County High School football had not yet been on the wrong side of the scoreboard this fall.