It turned out that the Buffalo High School girls swim team’s goal of bringing home a conference championship only sounded lofty, as the Lady Bison sliced through the competition Friday and Saturday in Douglas to win the 3A East regional meet and capture their first conference title since 2010.
“It was close,” coach Ron Chapin said. “Once our girls realized how close it was they put the pedal to the metal and off they went.”
Emi Wagner, Grace Wagner and Luci Riddle put up solid times in the 50-meter free.
Grace Wagner and Maddi Johnson took first and third, respectively, in the 100 free.
Riddle and Kate Norman racked up points in the 100-butterfly with third and fourth place finishes.
The 400 free was neck and neck as freshman Makenna Lambert and Sheridan Mathis of Douglas battled. Lambert edged the Lady Cat swimmer by a half second, finishing the distance race in 4 minutes, 59.54 seconds.
“That was probably the best race of the day,” Chapin said. “Sheridan is a senior and really wanted to win that race. Makenna has so much heart and she doesn’t want to lose to anybody.”
All three relay teams were lights out. Buffalo dominated the 400 free relay and set a new conference record in the 200 free relay. The foursome of Emi Wagner, Grace Wagner, Lambert and Riddle shattered the previous record in 1:56.39, three seconds faster than the previous mark.
“That was Makenna swimming in that relay right after she got done racing and winning the 400,” Chapin said. “She still had an incredible time. And our anchor, as it has been all season, was Luci Riddle. She’s another one that doesn’t like to get beat and swims even faster in relays.”
Everything appears to be coming together for the Lady Bison swimmers with one last chance qualifier in Gillette on Thursday, and the 3A state meet in Laramie next weekend.
Thursday in Gillette could potentially see more state qualifiers, including McKinley Kessler who swam her best 100 backstroke of the season at conference, shedding three seconds off her fastest time and finishing a tenth of a second away from qualifying.
“I think some of the other teams rested a little for the conference meet and all of them put on their Fastskins and we didn’t,” Chapin said. “The girls really did earn that conference championship and I think the best is yet to come.”
Buffalo will head to Laramie on Thursday, Nov. 1 to kick off the state meet.