By BRETT MARSHALL
Friday was a busy day for Garden City High School spring sports teams.
In addition to the GCHS girls home soccer game, the Buffs had swimming, golf and tennis competing on the road.
It was a banner day for the Lady Buffs swimmers, who brought home the team championship, a first for the program, at the Salina Invitational.
Coach Casey Wise's team scored 423 points to outpace Salina South, which was second with 399.5 points. Great Bend was third with 370.5 while Salina Central (354), Hutchinson (236) and Hays High (121) rounded out the team scores.
"Getting first here for the first time is a pretty awesome day," an ecstatic Wise said in a telephone interview. "I really liked the competitiveness of the girls, our times are quicker and quicker and it just couldn't have been a better day."
While the Buffs swam consistently in many events, junior Samantha Norton earned the team's only individual gold medal, winning the 200-yard individual medley (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle) with a time of 2:31.11 to defeat Salina Central's Hannah Schulte by 1.12 seconds.
"She dropped three seconds off her personal best and winning for us was really big," Wise said of Norton, who was ranked No. 4 coming into the race.
Senior Alexa Shaffer and sophomore Lindsay Bradstreet garnered individual thirds, Shaffer clocking a 6:12.41 in the 500-yard freestyle, while Bradstreet got her third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:20.26.
"A really good day for both Alexa and Lindsay," Wise said of the duo. "Lindsay was back on her time and I see more good things for her."
The Lady Buffs went 4-5 in the 100-yard freestyle with senior Katelyn Greene and freshman Erika Schafer claiming those spots with times of 1:03.45 and 1:04.15.
Shaffer also got a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (2:18.12) while sophomore Claire Schmidt had a fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:39.60). Schafer and Jacie Sullivan went 6th-7th in the 50-yard freestyle with times of 28.84 and 29.02 seconds. Norton added in a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly (1:11.19) and freshman Kailee Stucky was seventh in 1:18.54. Greene also earned a sixth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:25.72.
The GCHS relay teams also performed well, with the 200-yard medley unit of Sullivan, Bradstreet, Schmidt and Shaffer taking third (2:11.16). In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Buffs' two relay teams placed fourth and fifth, with the team of Greene, Schafer, Sullivan and Norton going in 1:54.63, while the other squad of Erin Kuneyl, Abigail Ginest-Dougherty, Ashley Longoria and Bradstreet clocked a 1:57.96 mark, good enough to be in the state consideration category.
Longoria (1:14.50) and Sullivan (1:15.24) were sixth and eighth in the 100-yard backstroke, and Schmidt added in a fifth-place in the 500-yard freestyle (6:21.19).
"Our team depth is really showing," Wise said. "It's keeping the pressure up on everyone and the competition is really good for all the girls."
The upcoming schedule is a busy one for the swim team, as they travel to Manhattan on Monday, Hutchinson on Thursday and then to Wichita Trinity next Saturday.
"This will give us a lot of momentum going into a very demanding week," Wise said.
In day two of a three-day road trip for the GCHS boys tennis team, the Buffaloes finished in a tie for third at the Salina Central Mustang Invitational on Friday.
The Buffs tied with Newton with 38 points, while host Salina Central scored 76 points to easily claim the title. Andover High was second with 49 points. Emporia rounded out the top five teams with 28 points in the eight-team field.
With all singles players and all doubles teams thrown into the same bracket, it made for a tough day of competition for the Buffs.
Brian Clarke garnered a sixth-place finish in singles, as did the doubles team of Evan Riggs and Denton Keller. Sebastian Kyaw placed 10th in the singles division while Brevin Irwin and Dozie Ekweariri also took 10th in the doubles competition. All four of those posted 2-2 records in the tournament.
"This was the hardest tournament so far this season," GCHS coach Rod Robinson said. "We are not doing too bad against the better teams. We just need to cut down on some errors and get more of our first serves in."
Still, Robinson was pleased with the team's finish.
"It's not too bad considering the quality of the teams that were there," Robinson said.
Clarke defeated Ian Barker of Emporia (8-0) before losing to Steven Wegner of Andover (8-5). He then blanked Adam Ford of Newton (8-0) and then dropped an 8-1 match to Logan Cayton of Emporia.
"He faced some stronger competition," Robinson said of Clarke, who had won the singles title on Thursday in Hutchinson. "He played hard to get the sixth-place spot."
Riggs and Keller battled against a tough doubles field, defeating Salina Central's Trent Brown and Barkley Edison (8-6) before losing to Josh Carlgren and Riley Kingsley ofNewton (8-3). In the consolation side, they defeated Ali Nasrazadani and Will Kraft of Emporia (8-2) but lost the fifth-place match to Pierce Carey and Gage Kerns of Salina South (8-4).
"They hung in there with some tough teams," Robinson said of the No. 1 doubles squad. "If not for a few too many double-faults they would have a little better placing. They played some great tennis even in their losses."
Kyaw also saw another round of tough competition in the open singles event.
He lost to Logan Cayton of Emporia (8-1) and then defeated Zach Koshgarian of Salina South (8-3). That was followed with an 8-2 win over Will Bochte of Smoky Valley and an 8-2 loss to Matt Berneking of Salina South.
"Going 2-2 was not what he expected, but he also played against some good competition," Robinson said of Kyaw.
Irwin and Ekweariri had some of the most exciting matches of the day. They lost their opener 8-1 to Salina South's Crey and Kerns and followed with an 8-6 win over Nick Debauge and Andrew Kraft of Emporia (8-6). They came up with a dramatic 8-7 (8-6) win over Preston Ford and Shwan Bontrager of Newton. Then, they lost an 8-7 (9-7) tiebreaker to Kevin Kraus and Logan Harrier of Salina South.
The Buffs were back on the courts again today at the McPherson Invitational.
Junior Austin Swender shot a 5-over-par 76 on Friday at the Guymon, Okla. Invitational to help the Buffaloes golf team to a third-place finish.
Swender's 76 on the par-71 Guymon Country Club layout was four shots back of medalist Mason Overstreet of Laverne, Okla.
The Buffs finished with a team score of 342, while Laverne garnered top honors with a 322 total. Host Guymon was second at 338. Dodge City's JV was fourth at 349 and Woodward, Okla., rounded out the top five with a 362. There were eight teams entered in the tourney.
Other scores for the Buffs were Jacob Law (84), Tucker Schiffelbein (89), Mitch Moore (93) and Tristan Corrales (100). Only five players were allowed to compete for each team, with the low four scores counting in the team total. Parker Tanner also played for the Buffs as an individual entry and shot an 85.
"Austin played good, but he still is struggling some on the greens," GCHS coach Walker Frey said. "We've been working with him some, and it's just a matter of time before he gets it straightened out. He bogeyed three of his last four holes, or he would have been right there for the medalist spot."
Frey said most of the players struggled at the tournament's outset, due mainly to the lack of a driving range at the course which prevented any warm-up for the players.
"It's just impossible not to warm up and be able to play well at the beginning," Frey said. "After the guys got loose, they played much better."
The Buffs will be back on the road for a 1 p.m. Monday tournament at Hays.
Results in Scoreboard, Page D2.