May 17, 2014 11:01 PM by Posted by Greg Smith
FORT COLLINS - You'd never know that Air Academy boys swimming coach Scott Newell is a quiet and mild-mannered guy by watching him on the deck leading his team.
The Kadets boss knew that his squad had its naysayers, those people that wondered what his team would do without Devon Davis. The same Devon Davis, now at swimming at the Air Force Academy, that was instrumental in helping the Kadets win back-to-back titles.
"Like we said in our pre-meet meeting, we worked a year for this and we had this plan in our head for a while," Newell said. "They knew about the relays and they knew about what was possible.
"They blew the doors off of possible!"
The Kadets were impressive in winning their third straight Class 4A state swimming and diving title on Saturday at Edora Pool Ice Center, scoring 280 points compared to runner-up Thompson Valley's 244.
Air Academy put an exclamation point on not only the meet but their season as a whole in the final race of the night, the 400-yard free relay. The all underclassman quartet of Hunter Doerr, Tommy Baker, Caleb Hicks and Jack Dangremond went 3:06.84 to best Lewis-Palmer's four year old record in the event of 3:08.86.
"I wish we could have started with it, but it is also nice to end with it" a soaking wet Newell said after his team celebratory plunge into the diving well. "I don't want to make too big of comparisons, but Devon made it possible and that mentality of possible turned into inevitable and inevitable turned into destiny. These guys really laid it down and they knew, even without Devon, we can do something bigger."
In capturing the title, the Kadets also received gold medal swims from Brennan Mays in the 500 freestyle and from Doerr, Michael Loyd, Baker in Dangremond in the 200 free relay. Mays, a senior, swam a 4:35.07 and held of Thompson Valley freshman Liam Gately (4:36.70) for the victory.
Estes Park's Forrest Beesley didn't have the best preliminary heat on Friday, slipping twice on his starts. But the defending champion in both the 50 and 100 free erased those memories and returned to the top of the podium twice more.
Swimming in Lane 8 in the 50, the UNLV-bound Beesley, had a nearly flawless race, winning in 21.14 second and touching Doerr (21.23) and Discovery Canyon's Blake Lawrie (21.41) at the wall.
"I totally slipped on both of my starts yesterday, which was unfortunate, and it kind of made me a little nervous for today, but then you realize that it is your last meet ever as a high schooler," Beesley said. "For me the 50, it's never a perfect race, there is always that I think I could have done better. In this 50, I was thinking about my start a little too much, and I was a little hesitant, but I felt super good going into the wall and my transition was much better than yesterday and my rotation felt great."
In the 100, Beesley (46.00), this time from Lane 6, got the better of Montrose's Lars Knutson (46.79) and Dangremond (46.80).
Beesley wasn't the only two-time individuals champ on Saturday. In fact, D'Evelyn junior Daniel Graber was on top of the podium three times. Not only did he team with Kevin Olson, Jake Sbarbaro and Alexander Moreland to capture the opening 200 medley relay, but he also captured the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
The most eye raising effort of the night went to Thompson Valley junior John Thorne. The defending champion and 4A state record holder in the backstroke, Thorne didn't disappoint in his encore, going 48.82 to win by nearly four seconds over Broomfield's Blake Logan (52.49). A powerful underwater swimmer, Thorne also was victorious in the 100 butterfly.
Silver Creek' Tyler Lis won the 200 free, one year after winning the 200 IM.
In diving, Mullen senior David Hoffer finally got his chance to stand on top of the awards podium. After distancing himself from the field during the morning preliminary round, including fellow nationally ranked freshman Vitalii Shestakov of Pueblo East, Hoffer's only goal on in his final three dives was to try and track down the state record set by Conifer's Ben Grado in 2006 of 559.60 points.
His second last dive, a reverse 1 1/2, 1 1/2, scored big points and left him withing reach of Grado's mark. He came close, finishing with a score of 556.10. Shestakov was second with 477.05.
"I was hoping to get (the record) and it didn't quite happen, but I can't complain," said Hoffer, who will compete for Arizona State next season. "I've been working for that for the full four years I have been here and God finally allowed me to get it this year."