The Great Bend girls swim team now has an even dozen when it comes to Western Athletic Conference titles. The Panthers won their 12thstraight title over second place Garden City, a team that came within a point of breaking the streak two years ago, by 72 points on Thursday.
“It's more than a tradition,” said senior Hannah Hildebrand. “It's what we work for our whole entire year and it's everything builds up to the WAC meet so when you win it it's fantastic.”
Hildebrand won the 200 IM and 100 freestyle, plus she was the anchor on the winning 200 and 400 free relay for the Panther. That helped her pick up swimmer of the meet honors.
Great Bend also got wins in the 200 free from Freshman Kira Cook, the 50 free and 100 backstroke from junior Micheala Cape and the 100 fly from junior Madeline Vesta.
“We just have some girls that really compete and this is just pay day for us,” said head coach Steve Beaumount. “We work hard all season for today.”
The three events the Panthers didn’t win, were won by the second place Buffaloes. Garden City got wins from junior Claire Schmidt in the 500 free, junior Laura Richmeier in the 100 breast and they won the 200 medley relay.
But for Great Bend, winning number 12 in such a convincing fashion, was a great way to head into the state tournament.
“I think it's mostly not letting the tradition down,” said senior Kylee Spray. “We have great coaches and great fans and we just want to keep that tradition going.”
Dodge City finished third, Hays fourth and Liberal fifth.