TOPEKA – It was so exciting that their coach found himself at a loss for words as the McPherson High boys swim team set all sorts of new standards at the Kansas Class 5-1A State Swim Championships, including a first ever state championship in the 200 Freestyle Relay, earning top five again in the team standings, setting several school records, earning first and second team all-state for two Bullpups and then top it off with the reward for the coach.

Bullpup Head Coach Matt Morrow was named the Coach of the Year.

As a team, the Bullpups finished in the top five for the second season in a row as they place fifth with 178 points. Only State Champion Wichita Heights (213), Topeka Seaman (211), Wichita Independent (202) and Bishop Miege (197) scored more team points. And people need to remember, the Bullpups did this without even competing in the diving event.

Earning the first ever state champion medal for the Bullpup swim program was the 200 Freestyle Relay quartet of Will Powers, Dawson Van Goethem, Silas Steinert and Justus Hampton. McPherson won the event with a time of 1:27.83 which came within .06 seconds of breaking the state record.

Overall the Bullpups finished out the state meet by scoring points in all but two events while gaining a First Team All-State honor for junior Will Powers and a Second Team All-State award for fellow junior, Justus Hampton.

Among the other highlights for the Bullpup swimmers were second and fourth place finishes in the 100 and 50 Freestyle events for Will Powers, a third-place finish in the 500 Freestyle for Justus Hampton and the second-place landing in the final event of the day for the 400 Freestyle Relay team of Hampton, Van Goethem, Silas Steinert and Will Powers.

“I am at a loss for words as I’ve used most of them to describe this team,” noted State Coach of the Year and Bullpup Head Coach Matt Morrow in his post-meet reflections. “Amazing, determined, outstanding. After yesterday I wasn’t sure how we could top that on Saturday, but the Pups rolled in to the finals with a vengeance. With the top-five finish, first time state champions in an event, three new school records and scoring the most points we’ve ever scored, the coaches were so impressed by the performance of these boys that they awarded us Coach of the Year!”

A bright spot for the future of the Bullpups will be that the two all-staters, Will Powers and Justus Hampton, plus sophmores Rhys Vanderhoof and Matt Powers will all be back to lead the Bullpups dive into battle next season.

“To have swimmers in all but one swim event be in scoring positions made a big difference in how we competed,” concluded Coach Morrow. “The 200 Freestyle Relay race was swum perfectly by the Pups, not often you see a team win that event by over a second. It was one of my prouder moments to be able to hand out the medal at the awards ceremony for the event. Bullpups at the top of the podium was quite a site!”

Bullpup Individual Results:

200 Medley Relay: 15. 1:47.12 (Simon Steinert, Matt Powers, Zach LeBlanc, Rhys Vanderhoof)

200 Freestyle: 13. 1:53.62 Matt Powers

200 Individual Medley: 14. 2:10.41 Silas Steinert; 20. 2:14.81 Rhys Vanderhoof

50 Freestyle: 4. 21.53 Will Powers; 10. 22.05 Dawson VanGoethem

100 Butterfly: 8. 53.75 Justus Hampton; 14. 56.16 Zach LeBlanc; 21. 58.00 Rhys Vanderhoof

100 Freestyle: 2. 46.80 Will Powers; 6. 49.14 Dawson VanGoethem

500 Freestyle: 3. 4:54.00 Justus Hampton; 9. 5:09.73 Matt Powers; 26. 5:39.15 Rece Reiman

200 Freestyle Relay: 1. 1:27.83 (Will Powers, Dawson VanGoethem, Silas Steinert, Justus Hampton)

100 Backstroke: 15. 59.21 Silas Steinert; 22. 1:00.17 Simon Steinert; 27. 1:02.77 Rece Reiman

400 Freestyle Relay: 2. 3:15.49 (Justus Hampton, Dawson VanGoethem, Silas Steinert, Will Powers)

Class 5-1A Team Scores: 1. Wichita Heights 213; 2. Topeka Seaman 211; 3. Wichita Independent 202; 4. Bishop Miege 197; 5. McPherson 178; 6. Andover Central 155; 7. St. James Academy 127; 8. Bishop Carroll 107; 9. Maize 96; 10. St. Thomas Aquinas 96; 11. Maize South 86; 12. Wichita Trinity 80; 13. Salina Central 71; 14. Blue Valley Southwest 70; 15. Kapaun Mt. Carmel 66; 16. Lansing 62; 17. Salina South 60; 18. Wichita Northwest 38; 19. Basehor-Linwood 35; 20. Andover 27; 21. Wichita Collegiate 27; 22. Emporia 24; 23. Wichita Classical 21; 24. Clay Center 18; 25. Winfield 17; 26. Great Bend 15; 27. El Dorado 13; 28. Paola 8; 29. Chanute 3; 30. Kansas City Turner 2.

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