Lansing, LVHS teams have high hopes for state meet

For hopefully two days, the Leavenworth and Lansing high school boys swim teams will be in Topeka for the Class 5-1A state finals at the Topeka-Capitol Federal Natatorium.

Hopefully only because day one performances can determine if a swimmer advances to the finals on Saturday and both squads have plenty of talent heading south to see what can come out of their efforts in the pool.

For Lansing, six individuals, Zach Crunpacker (200 and 500 freestyle), Jake Hamilton (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Brock Martin (500 freestyle), Robert Schafer (500 freestyle), Jack Spickelmier (200 freestyle) and Maxwell Walck (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) are all statebound, while all three relays (200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle) teams have also booked passage.

Relay teams consist of the aforementioned swimmers and Collin Kenaga, Trey Meyers and Greyson Walker.

“We had a good season and saw a lot of improvement as the months went by,” Lansing High head coach Josh Floetke said. “We have a few more individual swims at state than expected. I expect that Lansing will have a few individuals and relays make it back for the second day of the meet on Saturday to put some points on the board in the state meet.”

The Lions have had some strong leadership and that will only help the cause.

“Zach and Maxwell are both juniors who qualified automatically each in two separate events,” Floetke said. “Both swimmers have qualified for state individually all three years of their high school careers so far. We have seen personal best times this season from both of these seasoned swimmers in all of their individual state events.  It will be fun to see them swim in the state meet with all of the energy and excitement that comes with the championship event.

“Two thirds of the state team consists of members of the junior class.  I look forward to seeing this group finish out the season as well as provide a glimpse toward what we have to look forward to next year.”

As for the Pioneers from Leavenworth, individual state qualifiers include senior Danny Christie (200 freestyle, butterfly), junior Weston Marshall (200 IM, 100 butterfly) junior Kato Fischer (100 breaststroke), junior Jack Schilling (100 backstroke), and sophomore Curtis Springer in (500 freestyle), to equal the same number that went to Topeka a year ago – five.

Relay state qualifiers include 200-medley relay (Marshall, Fischer, Springer, Christie), the 200-freestyle relay (Schilling, Gabe Flores, Springer, Fischer) and the 400-freestyle relay (Christie, Marshall, Springer, Fischer).

“The season has gone really well, and we have seen our individual state qualifiers improve upon preseason expectations,” Pioneers’ head coach Kaley Wittrock said. “These boys put in extra pool time and dry land work to improve upon their stroke mechanics and strength. Curtis and Jack showed a huge improvement at the league and Last Chance swim meets, peaking at just the right time to earn qualifying standards. Danny, Weston and Kato have done a good job of providing mentor-ship to younger swimmers and encouraging them to push past pain in races. 

“This weekend, I hope the majority of our relays can qualify for finals as well as our individuals. We have two relays seeded in the top 16 going into the meet, with the 400-freestyle relay seeded in the top 10. Individually, Christie has high seating to potentially qualify for both final heats in his events, along with our other individuals in the hunt for consolations. Last year, we just missed top 16 in some individual events, so I´m hoping we can finish higher this year with our improved times. We have (rested) since league, so swimmers should be able to earn best times in their events and relay splits. This will be vital to qualify top 16 for the finals session on Saturday.”

It isn’t hard for Wittrock to explain the virtues of her top swimmers which could see some glory this weekend.

“Danny has had a great season as a senior swimmer and has hit a personal best time in the 100 butterfly and is seeded first going into the state meet this weekend while being seeded top six for the 200 freestyle,” Wittrock said. “He was also named a KMBC Hyvee scholar athlete this week. His senior season is shaping up well after battling some illness last year in the final weeks. Weston Marshall and Kato have showed great time improvements and racing abilities in our prelims/finals experiences at league. These two have a great chance of making finals this year after just missing out last year.

“Curtis and Jack moved in this season and have provided great depth to our individual events and relays. Their experience in club swimming has been helpful and they continue to improve their stroke mechanics and speed. I´m excited to see these two continue to race.”