photo - Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
Photo by Isaiah J. Downing 

The top boys' swimmers and divers in Colorado converge at Thornton's Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center and Air Force Academy on Friday and Saturday for the Class 5A and 4A state meets, respectively.

The 4A meet will host a majority of the Pikes Peak region’s top contenders, as Discovery Canyon, Cheyenne Mountain and Pine Creek all produced top seed times. A pair of individuals look to lead the way in 5A.

Class 5A

A local diver might be the most competitive area participant at the 5A meet.

While divers do not enter with seed times, or scores, like the swimmers, Lewis-Palmer senior Aric Althouse figures to be in contention after placing fifth a year ago.

He’s coming off a record-setting performance at the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference meet where he broke his own record, set in 2017, with a 591.45, which is the top score in the state this season.

Althouse will be joined by fellow Ranger senior Shane Oatman, who is set to make his state meet debut.

No other area divers qualified in Class 5A.

The most anticipated race from the area perspective is the 100 breaststroke. Rampart senior Andrew Bennett’s 58.48-second seed time has him sitting third, while Lewis-Palmer senior Nick Orie (1 minute, 0.23 seconds) and Liberty senior Troy Legg (1:00.34) are ninth and 10th, respectively. Regis Jesuit senior Elijah Warren enters with the fastest time at 57.55.

The 100 freestyle is the only other event with multiple area participants seeded in the top 10. Lewis-Palmer senior Breck Donahue is slotted seventh with a time of 48.13, while Rampart’s Jackson Evanitz is 10th in 48.52.

Evanitz is also 10th in the 50 freestyle at 22.0, a hundredth of a second ahead of Palmer junior Reece MacRenato.

Fossil Ridge, Regis Jesuit and Cherry Creek fill out the top three of the latest Colorado High School Activities Association rankings, respectively. No area team is ranked.

Class 4A

The DC Thunder will start the state meet with the top ranking in 4A, according to CHSAA. Cheyenne Mountain is fifth, with Pine Creek seventh.

The Thunder’s top event figures to be the 100 butterfly where senior Robert Clayton (52.19) and sophomore Tommy Rauchut (52.41) have the top two seed times. Rauchut’s 50 freestyle time of 22.09 has him slotted fifth.

The Thunder also have the diver with the top score in senior Brendan Byrnes, who finished second to Althouse at last week’s PPAC meet. Jad Khalek and Sean McDonough round out a group of three Discovery Canyon divers to qualify.

Braden Whitmarsh (4:49.44, fourth) and Adam Vogt (5:03.01, 10th) give the Thunder another event with a pair in the top 10 in the 500 freestyle.

The Thunder also have the potential to score in the relays. The 400 freestyle quartet enters with the second-best time of 3:16.81, a little more than three seconds back of Mullen, while the 200 freestyle relay (1:31.94) and 200 medley relay (1:40.0) both are seeded sixth.

The 200 medley is headlined by the Indians and Eagles, however.

Cheyenne Mountain enters with the fastest time of 1:37.47, just ahead of Pine Creek’s 1:37.78.

The Indians also have a top-seeded individual, as Kyle Leach looks to be the meet’s top sprinter, seeded first in a pair of events. The senior enters with a 50 freestyle time of 20.77 and a 100 freestyle of 45.46.

Junior Gabe Grauvogel is seeded fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.12) and seventh in the 200 individual medley (1:59.85).

Air Academy’s Griffin Ayotte is seeded third in the 50 freestyle (22.01) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (46.35). The Kadets also have a diver slotted in the top five with Jack Elbert entering with the fifth-best score.

Cheyenne Mountain is also eighth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:23.07) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.37). Ryan Leach is the Indians’ lone representative in diving.

Pine Creek’s Nicholas Sherman is also looking for a couple of medals out of his final state meet, as he’s seeded first in the 100 backstroke (52.16) and second in the 200 individual medley (1:53.14). Sherman will be joined by Cheyenne Mountain’s Christian Moden (53.25, third) and Discovery Canyon’s Andrew McGill (53.63, fourth) in the top five seeds of the 100 backstroke.

Eagle junior Joshua-Ryan Lujan is the top area seed in the 100 breaststroke, entering with a best time of 58.29, less than two seconds off the fastest time belonging to D’Evelyn’s Jack Moranetz. Lujan is also eighth in the 200 individual medley.

Pine Creek’s 400 freestyle relay is slotted fourth in 3:19.45, and the Eagles are sending three divers to Thornton, as senior Dylan Apicello, sophomore Kaden Ashworth and freshman Matthew Sherman qualified.