The Keller girls swim team finished in fourth place at the UIL State Swimming and Diving meet, while Central was just one point behind the Indians in fifth.
Racking up a majority of the points for Keller was Laura Norman, who won state titles in the 200m IM and 200m Back. It was the second year in a row in which Norman has brought home state championships in the events.
Keller also piled up points with second-place finishes in both the 200m IM relay and 200m Free relay.
Had Keller qualified a 400m Freestyle relay for the state meet, the Indians may well have been hoisting the state trophy.
Austin Westlake took home the state title with 160 points, with second-place Carroll scoring 159. Humble Kingwood was in third with 149, Keller had 147 and Central had 146.
“We scored so much with what we had,” said Keller head coach Linda Shults. “That was all I had down there. We were in first place 99 percent of the meet.”
Keller led throughout much of the meet until the final event, when Keller was forced to watch as those with qualifying 400m relay teams garnered team points.
The two relays for Keller were about three one-hundredths of second out of capturing a state title and additional team points.
Relays account for double the team point total of an individual event.
“If we had even a 400m relay team in the consolations, we would’ve won,” Shults added. “We had to come of out of a tough region.”
Carroll, Keller and Central had to compete against each other from the same district, and then to the same regional meet.
In addition to the difficult feat of repeat championships by Norman, she also was a member of the 200m Free and 200m IM relays.
In the 200 Free relay, Norman was joined by Sophie Frohberg, Audrey McMurray and Megan Hanson.
The runner-up 200m IM relay team was comprised of Kendall Hazleton, Ashley Ward and McMurray and Norman.
Other Keller points came from McMurray’s seventh place finish in the 200m and 500m Freestyle events and Taylor Olhuazier’s fourth in diving. Both are freshmen.
For the boys, Keller’s Luke Mankus was second in the 50m Free and fourth in the 100m Fly.
“I was thrilled,” Shults added. “We wanted to be in the top five.
“They amaze me,” she said of the girls. “They really swam lights-out. Laura was outstanding and there’s such pressure to repeat with so many fast swimmers down there,” Shults added.
“She was the difference. She’s swum a lot of big meets and knows how to do it. She’s very focused and driven as an athlete and as a student,” she said of the Texas A&M signee.
Shults said Central’s finish just behind the Indians didn’t surprise her in the least.
“They had a lot of seniors and they brought a very fast team,” Shults said, adding the Chargers had three relays at the state meet.
Central’s Madison Straight was third in the 200m IM and fellow Charger Jason Head, was fourth in the 100m Free.
Lauren Pitzer, a Fossil Ridge freshman, was third in both the 50m and 500m Free.
Placers for Nelson included the second place finish of the 200m Free relay of Daniel Sampognaro, Adam Koster, Justin Frederick and Trey Stenger. They set a school record with their performance.
Adam Koster picked up a bronze medal in the 100m Free and fourth in the 50m Free. The 100m time was a school record.
Koster was also a member of the fourth place-finishing 400m Free relay, along with Adrian Maher, Seth Winstead and Frederick, setting another school record.
Another school record was set in the girls’ 200m Free relay, where Molly Henson, Madeline Wilson, Hannah Reckmeyer and Eva Koster finished 11th overall.
“Our record board had 21 of 24 new record times with the majority of them much faster than last year,” said Nelson head coach Steve Melbourn.
“The team came to state this year ready to go faster, make finals and get on the podium,” Melbourn added. “Most every race we had turned into a new school record beating their region finals time. But, the biggest change from in the past came with their attitude of wanting to win the races in prelims and finals. They all came to race or dive their best and they did an outstanding job.”