Lady Rangers 6th at 3A State Swimming and Diving Championships

The KHS girls’ swimming and diving team prepares to depart for the 3A State Swimming and Diving Championships in Gillette. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Price runner-up in 50, 100 free; Top 8 finishes for divers

For the second straight season, the Kemmerer High School girls’ swimming and diving team exceeded expectations, placing sixth overall at last weekend’s 3A State Swimming and Diving Championships in Gillette.

Green River won the team title with 296 points, followed by Lander (260) in second and Powell (185) in third. Cody (135), Douglas (131) and Kemmerer (90) rounded out the Top 6.

“Sixth place is a great finish for us,” said KHS head coach Amanda Aimone. “We wanted to be in the Top 7, and we exceeded that by being in the Top 6. We have been in the top 6 two years in a row now, and that is a huge accomplishment.”

Leading the charge once again was Lady Ranger Kylie Price, who finished runner-up in both the 50 (25.17) and 100 freestyle (55.60), earning All-State honors in both events. The talented senior also swam legs in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays — along with teammates Ella Thatcher, Ally Bartschi and Tyler Thatcher — placing fourth in the 200 relay (1:47.23) and fifth in the 400 relay (3:59.02).

“Kylie did a great job for us,” Aimone said. “She is All-State in two events, and I have never had a girl do that before. I have had multiple with just one event, so that is a huge accomplishment for her.”

The Lady Ranger divers also turned some heads, and as both are sophomores, the future of Kemmerer diving is bright. Hanna Walker made the podium, placing fourth with a score of 344.80; Kaylie Julander finished eighth, with a score of 311.20.

“Our divers had some of their best performances at this meet, and it was the perfect time to have them,” Aimone said. “I am not sure if there have ever been two Kemmerer divers in the top 12, so that is a historic accomplishment for both of them, and Coach [Jessie] Willoughby. We are very excited about their future as Kemmerer divers. I think one big goal for them is to be both in the Top 6 next year — a goal that I can see them reaching, if they keep working like they have been.”

Willoughby was named 3A Assistant Coach of the Year, an honor that’s well-deserved, according to Aimone.

“The last half of the season these girls [Walker and Julander] grew to be completely different divers for the better, so that speaks to their abilities to be students of the sport and the direction and skill from coach Willoughby,” Aimone said. “She deserves [the honor] so much for all her work, and it really speaks to how well her divers performed. We wouldn’t have been a complete team without her.”

Other notable state performances included freshman Ally Bartschi, who turned in a pair of 12th-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (2:16.67) and 100 breaststroke (1:13.62).

“A nice accomplishment for [Bartschi],” Aimone said.”Really, as a team, these girls did a great job. We wouldn’t be sixth without everyone’s dedication and effort.”

In their final state meet, seniors Arianne Dearden and Tyler Thatcher swam personal bests in their individual events, ending their high school careers on a high note.

“The other seniors had a great weekend, as well,” Aimone said. “Arianne Dearden and Tyler Thatcher swam faster than they ever