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October 02, 2008 3:01 am

PHS swimmers defeat Cody, face Worland Saturday

Written by Tribune Staff

The Powell Lady Panthers invaded the Cody pool Tuesday night and swam past the Fillies in dual competition.

Freshman Belen Quillen added her name to the list of state qualifiers while finishing third in the 500-yard freestyle, bringing the number of Lady Panthers on the state team to 10.

The Powell girls earned only four first places in the 12 events, but grabbed most of the other top-five finishes to outscore the Fillies 100-86.

Monique Zorgati won both the 200-yard and 100-yard freestyle events to lead the Lady Panthers' efforts. Diver Laura Morse earned her highest score of the season to win her event, and Zorgati, Alice Pinter, Jessica Curtis and Samantha Baker swam to first in the 200-freestyle relay for the team's other first-place effort.

Cody scored first-place points in the medley relay and the 400 relay, and double winners Betsy Whisonant, Allie Samuels and Kristi Valenzuela accounted for six other first-place finishes.

Samantha Baker and Pinter each earned two second-place finishes — Baker in the individual medley and the 500 and Pinter in the 50 and 100. Hannah Toland was second in the butterfly, and Stepfanie Thompson finished behind Morse in diving.

Six other swimmers contributed to the team score with two scoring finishes, including Kourtnie Rodgers, Alyssa Smith, Maddy Jones, Ryanne McDaniel and Jessica Curtis. Diver Emily Newlin, Anya Tracy, Sierra Baker, Jenna Hotovec and Jessica Wurzel all earned team points by placing in the top five in one event.

PHS head coach Karen Roles said a number of the swimmers earned their best times in the meet. Olivia Paxton cut 13 seconds, and Hotovec cut six from their best times in the individual medley relay, Roles said. Smith had her lifetime best swims in the individual medley and the backstroke. She narrowly missed qualifying for state in the backstroke. Samantha Baker, Curtis, Tracy, Wurzel and Rodgers also had season best times during the meet.

The Lady Panthers have one more dual meet left this season when the Worland Lady Warriors invade the Powell pool Saturday, and Roles said this weeks' schedule is benefitting the girls.

“It's nice to have a week without back-to-back meets,” Roles said. “The girls had time to rest before Cody and they can swim fresh Saturday. That should help them swim faster.”

Roles said several girls are within reach of qualifying times, some within a second or two, and have a chance to qualify this weekend. In addition, she said swimmers who have already qualified will be swimming to qualify in additional events.

After this week, the Lady Panthers have only one more regular season event, the Lander Invitational. The conference meet takes place in Kemmerer Oct. 17-18, and the state meet opens Oct. 31 in Gillette.

Saturday's meet with Worland will be the last home meet for seven seniors on the team, and they will be honored following the meet.

Swimming starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, and senior recognition will follow at about 1 p.m.