ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Alex Lane, Bishop Kelley
Lane, a freshman, had an excellent showing last week, winning the 200-yard freestyle and placing second in the 100 free at the Hornet Invitational on Jan. 7, and winning the 500 free and finishing second in the 200 free in the head-to-head meet against Class 6A defending champion Jenks on Jan. 5.
Bishop Kelley girls improve depth
Bishop Kelley’s girls team has significantly improved its depth this season. Top swimmer Abbey Mink, a finalist for Tulsa World All-World Swimmer of the Year in 2020, is back, and she is joined by another top talent, freshman Alex Lane. There are also several other new swimmers that will make a big difference for the Comets, who placed sixth at the Class 5A state meet last year with just five swimmers competing.
“They’re so nice to have,” Kelley coach Ellen Glasgow said of Mink and Lane. “Both of them are good at everything, so we kind of put them where we need them and they’re still going to perform really well.
“Just numbers-wise, our team has more than doubled for girls, which is really going to help, because we had great swimmers last year, but we swam five at state, and this year, we’ve got like 12 on the team. That’s super helpful, so those girls are going to be able to help us. They don’t have to get firsts to help us and it’s showing in our scores.”
Both Mink and Lane delivered strong performances last week in a head-to-head meet with defending Class 6A state champion Jenks. Although the Comets were outmatched, the meet helped them gauge where they are at this point in the season.
The Comets then placed fourth Jan. 7 in the Hornet Virtual Invitational, an innovative meet that took place at three locations but enabled the swimmers to measure themselves against more opponents than would have otherwise been possible. Booker T. Washington won it with 385 points, followed by Bixby (349), Fort Gibson (273) and Kelley (227).
“It was cool that they had it take place at three different locations so we could have more teams participating,” said Glasgow, whose team swam at the host pool at Booker T. Washington, with other locations at Bixby and Muskogee. “Even though we didn’t swim against them face to face, we got to see how we would stack up against them, which was really nice.”
Lane finished second at Jenks in the 200-yard freestyle to Laney Fenton, a double 6A state champion last year. Lane also won the 500 free, topping Jenks’ Gabby Vargus, who placed fifth at last year’s state meet, by 10 seconds.
Mink, who won both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle at last year’s state meet, switched her events up and still measures up. At Jenks, she placed second (to Vargus) in the 50 free and second (to Jasmine Moss) in the 100 butterfly.
In the meet at Booker T. Washington, Lane won the 200 free and switched events to place second in the 100 free to Oologah’s Mia Pendleton, who was runner-up at 5A state last year. Mink finished second in the 50 free to Pendleton, the defending state champion in that race, and Mink was runner-up in the 100 butterfly to Bixby’s Savannah Jacoway.
The Kelley girls, with Mink starting and Lane anchoring (along with Regan Hoyt and Allison Andrews), won the 200 free relay.
Jenks ready to defend state titles
After dominating Class 6A state championship victories in both the boys and girls competitions last year, Jenks is ready to defend both titles.
The Trojans hosted a head-to-head meet with Bishop Kelley Jan. 5 and as expected, did extremely well, winning seven of eight individual races in the boys competition, as well as all three relays, and claiming 10-of-11 events in the girls battle.
At this point, the Jenks squads appear to be favorites to pull off the double repeat.
“I wish I could say that I’m confident,” Trojans coach Diego Henao said. “The reason I say that is because we’ve been going through a lot of challenges with COVID — training, practicing, distance learning. Some of the kids have been sent home, they can’t train for a week or two, depending on where they are, and Christmas training was a challenge because of weather or some repairs we got to do at the pools. We are not the only teams going through a lot of challenges — that’s the other thing that makes me a little comforted. Everybody’s going through some concerns.”
The Trojans were scheduled to host the Frontier Valley Conference meet on Tuesday night at the Jenks Trojan Aquatic Center, but it was postponed until Saturday in order to allow more time for them to split the girls and boys competitions into two separate sessions, resulting in more social distancing during the meet.
“That way, we can spread them out,” Henao said. “We’ve been doing that a lot for meets, we spread them out. In the water, it’s hard, but when they’re on the pool deck, we try to spread everyone out around the pool.”
Against Kelley, the following Trojan boys recorded individual triumphs: Jazz Widney (200 free and 50 free), Grant Stucky (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Austin Sung (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) and Ryan Short (500 free).
For the girls, individual victories were earned by Fenton, the reigning Tulsa World All-World Swimmer of the Year, in both the 200 free and 100 breaststroke, Jasmine Rau (200 IM and 100 free), Vargus (50 free), Moss (100 butterfly), and Josie Jones (100 backstroke).
— John Tranchina, for the Tulsa World