Two weeks after getting upset by Powell in the Class 3A West Regional, Lander successfully defended its crown to secure the program’s fourth consecutive state championship by winning the 2019 Wyoming State High School Class 3A Girls Swimming & Diving Championships at the Campbell County Aquatic Center in Gillette on Friday.
The Tigers won with a total of 274 points. Second-place Buffalo finished with 206.
Senior Olivia Fowler and sophomore Ashlon Koch led the Tigers by both capturing gold. Fowler successfully won the 100 backstroke with a sub-minute 59.65 seconds. Koch, meanwhile, notched two gold-medal performances by winning the 100 butterfly (1:02.14) and 500 free (5:27.10). The Tigers also finished second in the 200 medley and 400 free relay races.
Newcastle junior Hannah Gross earned 2019 Girls Athlete of the Year honors as the culmination of her efforts this season. Gross won the 200 free (1:57.79) and finished second in the 100 back (1:00.20) on Friday.
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Buffalo head coach Ron Chapin was named Girls 3A Coach of the Year after a successful silver-medal day for the Bison. Buffalo won the 200 and 400 free relays thanks to the collective group of Emi Wagner, Grace Wagner, Maddi Johnson, Luci Riddle and Makenna Lambert.
The sophomore Lambert won individual gold in the 200 IM (2:16.08) as well, while senior Emi Wagner earned gold medals in the 50 free (24.32) and 100 free (54.29). That gave the Bison a fighting chance at winning their first swimming championship in program history but Lander’s depth proved too much.
Lyman junior Brynlee Busskohl won a tight 100 breaststroke (1:05.59) race ahead of Kemmerer’s Teryn Thatcher (1:05.66). Busskohl also swam on Lyman’s winning 200 medley relay team alongside seniors Harper Hewitt, Brooklyn Hewitt and Samantha Weston.
Busskohl, along with Emi Wagner and Lander’s Koch, all shared 2019 Girls Athlete of the Meet honors.
Powell junior Emma Karhu won the state diving championship with a total of 383.85 points. Panthers assistant coach Heather Christensen was named 2019 Girls Assistant Coach of the Year after the meet. Powell finished fourth in the team standings.
Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans