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Girls place second at state swim meet, boys capture fourth

by DYLAN GREENE
Sports Editor | November 6, 2021 8:44 PM

BOISE — With only 14 swimmers, the Sandpoint swim team proved once again why they can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the state.

The Bulldogs are bringing home a pair of state trophies after yet another impressive showing at the 4A state meet at the Boise YMCA.

“I’m proud of everybody,” head coach Greg Jackson said. “They did some amazing things.”

On the final day of competition Saturday, the girls captured second and the boys secured fourth to allow both to grab trophies. Since the Idaho High School Activities Association began sanctioning the sport in 2018, the boys and girls have earned a state trophy every year.

And with only seven swimmers on each side, Jackson said securing that kind of hardware is quite the accomplishment.

“It feels good, especially knowing what we have,” he said.

Six Bulldogs medaled in individual events, and Emily Ballard, Maren Davidson, Ava de Leeuw and Ryleigh Bamer led the girls to a state title in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“That was a fun moment,” Jackson said about the relay victory.

The girls finished 73.5 points behind state champion Bishop Kelly. Heading in, the Bulldogs were eyeing their second state title, but they knew it would be an uphill battle against a Knights’ squad that had twice as many athletes at state. Ultimately, Jackson said that depth was the difference.

“The girls we were happy with,” he said. “We kind of did what we thought we were going to do. We were hopeful that we were going to get first place, but Bishop Kelly had quite a bit of success. Unless they made some major mistakes, there wasn’t much that we could do.”

The girls nearly picked up another state title in the 400 free relay. Ballard, de Leeuw, Ayiana Prevost and Bamer dropped nearly five seconds off their time from prelims, but finished second to Bishop Kelly.

Bamer grabbed a pair of individual medals. The freshman phenom took second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 50 free.

Ballard and Prevost both medaled in the 200 free and 500 free. Ballard placed third in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free, while Prevost was fifth in the 200 free and sixth in the 500 free.

McKinley Jensen captured 10th in the 200 individual medley, while de Leeuw finished seventh in the 200 free and 500 free. Sandpoint also took eighth in the 200 medley relay.

“They kept up the energy and really brought it,” Jackson said about the girls.

The Sandpoint boys were impressive on the first day of state Friday, and they kept that pace Saturday, but their competitors also raised their level.

“The boys swam nearly identical to what they did in prelims,” Jackson said. “Some people just came out and performed a little bit better than them.”

Hayden Leavitt captured a pair of medals in the 50 free and 100 free, placing second in both. Heading into the finals, Leavitt was seeded first in both events, but he fell short to Burley’s Jackson Rasmussen.

The senior was hoping to take home some individual state titles in his final competition in a Bulldog uniform, but he still had a stellar meet and is the current state meet record holder in the 100 free with a 48.42.

Junior Caleb Norling also brought his best to the pool to earn two state medals, securing second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle. Senior Jack Grzincic medaled in the 200 individual medley with a fifth-place finish. He also grabbed eighth in the 100 fly. Freshman Max Zuberbuhler was 11th in the 500 free.

Grzincic, Lon LeBlanc, Norling and Leavitt swam legs on the third-place 200 free relay team. The boys also took third in the 400 free relay thanks to Grzincic, Zuberbuhler, Norling and Leavitt. The Bulldogs were 11th in the 200 medley relay.

“The relays all performed well,” Jackson said. “We were hoping for a first-place relay in the 200 free and we came out and put up what we did yesterday and … a couple of teams just beat us.”

Across the board at state, Jackson said the team posted personal bests and he couldn’t be happier with how they finished the season.

Last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Sandpoint and the rest of Idaho had to settle for a virtual state swim meet. The Bulldogs were devastated when they learned they wouldn’t be making the trip to Boise, so the return of an in-person meet this weekend brought plenty of excitement and smiles. Jackson said the team enjoyed every second of the state experience.

“It was great,” he said. “They were thrilled and they had competition and it pushed them.”

4A state swim meet

Final results (Sandpoint athletes only)

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Bishop Kelly 224.5. 2, Sandpoint 151. 3, Lighthouse Christian 138. 4, Skyline 83. 5, Twin Falls 74. 6, Declo 58. 7, Century 55.50. 8, Moscow 54. 9, Minico 53. T10, Burley 44. T10, Wood River 44. 12, Cole Valley Christian, 43. T13, Kimberly 35. T13, Lakeland 35. 15, Canyon Ridge 29. 16, Mountain Home 27. T17, Columbia 23. T17, Vallivue 23. 19, Nampa Christian 21. 20, Jerome 18. 21, Middleton 10. 22, Cascade 5. 23, Hillcrest 4. 24, Ridgevue 3. 25, Bonneville 1.

200-yard medley relay — 8, Sandpoint (McKinley Jensen, Ayiana Prevost, Terra Converse, Maren Davidson), 2:11.05.

200 freestyle — 3, Emily Ballard, 2:07.78. 5, Ayiana Prevost, 2:09.07. 7, Ava de Leeuw, 2:12.96.

200 individual medley — 10, McKinley Jensen, 2:48.48.

50 freestyle — 3, Ryleigh Bamer, 26.27.

100 butterfly — 2, Ryleigh Bamer, 1:04.56.

100 freestyle — 16, Maren Davidson, 1:05.41 (prelims).

500 freestyle — 5, Emily Ballard, 5:45.19. 6, Ayiana Prevost, 5:53:35. 7, Ava de Leeuw, 5:56.76.

200 freestyle relay — 1, Sandpoint (Emily Ballard, Maren Davidson, Ava de Leeuw, Ryleigh Bamer), 1:48.83.

400 freestyle relay — 2, Sandpoint (Emily Ballard, Ava de Leeuw, Ayiana Prevost, Ryleigh Bamer), 3:55.00.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Bishop Kelly 179. 2, Moscow 162. 3, Skyline 121. 4, Sandpoint 116. 5, Century 106. 6, Twin Falls 83. 7, Burley 81. 8, Middleton 60. 9, Canyon Ridge 56. 10, Jerome 49. T11, Minico 47. T11, Lighthouse Christian 47. 13, Wood River 32. 14, Declo 26. 15, Oakley 22. 16, Nampa Christian 16. T17, Bonneville 10. T17, Lakeland 10. 19, Riverstone International 9. 20, Kimberly 8. 21, Ridgevue 4. 22, Vision 1. 22, Hillcrest 1.

200-yard medley relay — 11, Sandpoint (Max Zuberbuhler, Harrison Gedde, Luc LeBlanc, Lon LeBlanc), 2:01.49.

200 freestyle — 2, Caleb Norling, 1:49.11.

200 individual medley — 5, Jack Grzincic, 2:13.99.

50 freestyle — 2, Hayden Leavitt, 22.02.

100 butterfly — 8, Jack Grzincic, 59.16.

100 freestyle — 2, Hayden Leavitt, 49.18. 3, Caleb Norling, 49.36.

500 freestyle — 11, Max Zuberbuhler, 6:10.51.

200 freestyle relay — 3, Sandpoint (Jack Grzincic, Lon LeBlanc, Caleb Norling, Hayden Leavitt), 1:35.18.

400 freestyle relay — 3, Sandpoint (Jack Grzincic, Max Zuberbuhler, Caleb Norling, Hayden Leavitt), 3:29.24.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

The Sandpoint girls swim team poses for a photo with the runner-up trophy at the 4A state swim meet Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Senior Jack Grzincic competes in the 100-yard butterfly during the 4A state swim meet.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

From left: Ava de Leeuw, Emily Ballard, Maren Davidson and Ryleigh Bamer pose for a photo with their medals after winning the state title in the 200-yard freestyle relay on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Senior Hayden Leavitt swims in prelims on Friday.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

The Sandpoint boys swim team poses for a photo during warm-ups at state.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Ryleigh Bamer (second on the right) poses for a photo with her runner-up 100 butterfly medal.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Hayden Leavitt (second on the right) poses for a photo with his runner-up medal in the 50 freestyle.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

From left: Caleb Norling, Max Zuberbuhler, Jack Grzincic and Hayden Leavitt pose for a photo after capturing third in the 400 freestyle relay.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

From left: Caleb Norling, Hayden Leavitt, Lon LeBlanc and Jack Grzincic pose for a photo after capturing third in the 200 free relay.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Calen Norling (left) and Hayden Leavitt pose for a photo at the 4A state swim meet.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Caleb Norling (center) poses for a photo after capturing second in the 200 free.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

Jack Grzincic (far left) poses for a photo after capturing fifth in the 200 individual medley.

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(Photo courtesy of JIM ZUBERBUHLER)

From left: Ryleigh Bamer, Ayiana Prevost, Ava de Leeuw and Emily Ballard pose for a photo after placing second in the 400 free relay.