By BRETT MARSHALL
For a variety of reasons, Saturday's Wichita Trinity Invitational swim meet posed one of the biggest challenges of the 2013 season for the Garden City High School Lady Buffs.
First, it was the team's fourth meet in a span of just eight days.
"It was a long week and we were able to survive," GCHS Coach Casey Wise said. "We knew that coming in, it would be a tough schedule this week."
Second, and more importantly, they were taking on the toughest and deepest field of teams and swimmers they had gone up against all year as well.
The end result, though, was a solid fourth-place team finish in a field of 12 teams, scoring 226 points. Powerhouse Emporia won the team title with 325.5 points while Andover High was second with 297 and host Trinity Academy third with 251 points. Bishop Carroll rounded out the top five with 195 points.
"We saw teams we don't normally see very often, and they were some good ones," Wise said. "It's good for the girls to see where they are at this stage."
One of the downsides for the team was the scoring formula utilized, where the Garden City "B" relay teams were not awarded any points. In those three events, the Lady Buffs would normally have received a total of 70 more points, pushing them all the way to third place, closing the gap on Andover.
"It's just one of the ways they decide to score the meet, but it gives our girls an idea of where we are," Wise said.
There were no firsts or seconds for the Lady Buffs in the quality field of swimmers. Junior Samantha Norton had the team's highest individual finish, a third, in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.34 seconds. She also had a ninth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:10.64).
"That's a state-consideration time and we can now submit it and see if it gets her to the state meet," Wise said of Norton's effort. "It would be great to see that happen.
Sophomore Claire Schmidt had a fifth and sixth-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle (6:22.95) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:37.47). Another sophomore, Lindsay Bradstreet, had a seventh-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:20.86) and was ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:24.64).
Junior Ashley Longoria and senior Jacie Sullivan went 9-10 in the 100-yard backstroke with times of 1:15.66 and 1:19.27. Senior Katelyn Greene was 10th in the 50-yard freestyle (28.80).
In the three relay events, the Lady Buffs had two fourths and a sixth. The 200-yard freestyle unit of Greene, Erika Schafer, Bradstreet and Norton were fourth with a time of 1:55.50 while the 400-yard free squad of Schmidt, Schafer, Greene and Norton also took fourth with a time of 4:19.91. The 200-yard medley relay team of Sullivan, Bradstreet, Schmidt and Abigal Ginest-Dougherty swam to a sixth-place finish with a time of 2:11.04.
The Lady Buffs will be back on the road Wednesday at the Manhattan Invitational.
The Garden City Buffaloes' boys baseball team continued its struggles this season on Friday, dropping a doubleheader to Western Athletic Conference rival Dodge City, 9-4 and 10-4, in Dodge City.
The twin setbacks dropped the Buffs' record to 2-11 overall and 0-5 in the WAC. The Buffs are slated to travel to Liberal on Saturday for another WAC doubleheader, starting at noon.
In the opener, Dodge City took command early, scoring a single run in the first and two in the second before the Buffs got two of their own in the top of the third.
Thomas Solorio doubled and scored on an RBI single by Logan Dechant. Mario Montoya drove the second run in with a single. The Red Demons, though, came back with three runs of their own in the bottom half, making it 6-2.
The Buffs answered back with two runs in the top of the fourth, one run scoring on Dechant's RBI sacrifice fly, and another on a groundout. Dodge City tacked on a single run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to put it away. Dechant absorbed the pitching loss in the opener. The Buffs had seven hits and committed four errors while leaving 11 runners on base.
In the nightcap, the game was similar in scoring.
Dodge City got one in the first, Garden City responded with four in the second. Dodge City bounced right back with four in the bottom half of the second and added two in the third and three in the fourth.
In the second for the Buffs, Mitch Moore and Isaiah Rodriguez had consecutive singles, both scoring on Andy Saldivar's double. A passed ball, stolen base and a round out accounted for the other two runs for GCHS.
Saldivar started on the mound and took the loss. Moore relieved in the second and finished out the game. The Buffs had 10 hits, but once again committed four errors and left another 9 runners stranded on the bases.
"The hitting is getting better, but we need to be more consistent there," GCHS coach Bill Wilson said. "We score, and then out pitchers go right back out there and can't hold the other team. We've got to develop the mentality that we're gonna stop them."
The Buffs' rugged schedule has come from playing teams that collectively now own a won-loss record of 51-17.
Garden City 002 200 0 -- 4 7 4
Dodge City 123 012 x -- 9 10 0
WP--Weiser) and Wells; LP--Dechant, Gutierrez (3), E. Montoya (6) and Solorio.
Garden City 040 000 0 -- 4 10 4
Dodge City 142 300 x -- 10 12 2
WP--Balderaz and Wells; LP--Saldivar, Moore (2) and Solorio.