MANHATTAN – Once again, despite having the smallest team in numbers at the meet the McPherson boys swimming team managed to finish second in Manhattan on Saturday at the Manhattan Invitational while also taking individual gold in seven events.

The Bullpups finished the meet with 465.5 team points, just 13.5 points behind first-place Manhattan who rolled up 479, as once again despite having the fewest number of swimmers and not having any divers, McPherson still made a run for team gold. Salina South and Salina Central rounded out the top four in team scoring with 309 and 205 points respectively.

“We were missing three swimmers due to illness and other activities so I feel we could have snuck in to the top spot with those three,” Head Coach Matt Morrow was clarifying during his post-meet reflections. “Regardless the guys swam really well today as we had seven first-place finishes this weekend, but Manhattan beat us at our own game by taking just a spot or two above our other swimmers in a lot of the events.”

Among the stars of the meet for the Bullpups was the quartet of Silas Steinert, Dawson Van Goethem, Justus Hampton and Will Powers who not only won the opening event, but won the 200 Medley Relay by finishing a full four seconds-plus ahead of Salina South.

In the 200 Individual Medley, Justus Hampton won while also breaking the school record previously held by teammate Will Powers. Silas Steinert placed second behind Hampton. Hampton also scored an individual gold in the 100 Butterfly.

Will Powers earned the first of two golds in the 500 Freestyle while his brother Matt Powers placed second and Rece Reiman finished fifth. Will (Powers) earned another individual gold in the 100 Backstroke, giving him four gold medals on the day. Silas Steinert placed second again, this time in the 100 Backstroke.

Other Bullpup golds came in the 200 Freestyle Relay with Hampton, Van Goethem, Rhys Vanderhoof and Will Powers, while Van Goethem earned gold in the 100 Breaststroke.

At one point after adding in the diving event from Friday evening, Manhattan had what seemed like an insurmountable 50-point lead on the Bullpups before they took first in five of the final seven events.

“Before the last heat of the 400 Freestyle Relay they announced the team scores and we were half-a-point ahead of Manhattan,” noted Coach Morrow. “But Manhattan had the top seed in the relay and despite Matt Powers swimming the best 100 he has ever had, Manhattan out touched us by just eight-tenths of a second to take first. Ironically this was exactly what happened to us at this meet last season with Topeka Seaman winning.”

In concluding his reflections Coach Morrow looked at the results of today and what was left for the season, saying, “Crazy to think a team of just 13 kids could compete with a school fielding 60 swimmers and the top diver in the meet, but they took on the challenge and just missed the top spot. Couldn’t be prouder of these guys as they step up time and again for each other. Our AVCTL Divisions 2-4 league meet is next Saturday and we will be going for our third straight league title. Maize South and Andover Central have some solid squads so we will have a challenge ahead of us. Our goal is to win the team event and get state qualifying times from Cody Achilles, Rece Reiman and Rhys Vanderhoof. As of now we have five individuals and all three relay teams qualified for the State Meet.”

Team Scoring at the Manhattan Swim Invitational: 1 – Manhattan 479, 2 – McPherson 465.5, 3 - Salina South 309, 4 - Salina Central 205, 5 – Garden City 179.5, 6 – Great Bend, ‘A team’ 165, 7 – Campus 141, 8 – Newton 104, 9 – Topeka 88, 10 – De Soto 53, 11 – Derby 43, 12 – Manhattan ‘B team’ 35, 13 – Emporia 28, 14 – Junction City 14, 15 – Washburn Rural 6, T-16 – Topeka Seamon 5, T-16 Hays 5.

Bullpup Top Individual Results:

200 Medley Relay: 1. Bullpup ‘A’ (Silas Steinert, Dawson VanGoethem, Justus Hampton, Will Powers) 1:43.88; 6. Bullpup ‘B’ (Rece Reiman, Matt Powers, Zach LeBlanc, Gage Stafford) 1:53.70.

200 Freestyle: 3. Cody Achilles 2:04.84; 10. Logan Ediger 2:13.54; 14. Alex Houston 2:21.78.

200 Individual Medley: 1. Justus Hampton 2:04.51; 2. Silas Steinert 2:16.62; 11. Riley Shelton 2:36.32.

50 Freestyle: 2. Rhys Vanderhoof 24.13; 12. Zach LeBlanc 25.17.

100 Butterfly: 1. Justus Hampton 53.58; 7. Rhys Vanderhoof 1:02.44.

100 Freestyle: 3. Dawson VanGoethem 52.20; T-6. Cody Achilles 55.16; 11. Zach LeBlanc 57.17.

500 Freestyle: 1. Will Powers 5:02.41; 2. Matt Powers 5:22.08; 5. Rece Reiman 5:40.10.

200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Bullpup ‘A’ (Justus Hampton, Dawson VanGoethem, Rhys Vanderhoof, Will Powers) 1:33.41; 9. Bullpup ‘B’ (Zach LeBlanc, Riley Shelton, Logan Ediger Cody Achilles) 1:45.55.

100 Backstroke: 1. Will Powers 57.18; 2. Silas Steinert 1:00.04; 6. Rece Reiman 1:02.49.

100 Breaststroke: 1. Dawson Van Goethem 1:06.90; 10. Matt Powers 1:12.97.

400 Freestyle Relay: 2. Bullpup ‘A’ (Rhys Vanderhoof, Cody Achilles, Silas Steinert, Matt Powers) 3:31.83; 9. Bullpup ‘B’ (Logan Ediger, Gage Stafford, Alex Houston, Rece Reiman) 3:54.74.

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