Lady Panthers claim second overall behind Belen; Trenton Grossheim achieves a new personal best in the 50-yard freestyle
FARMINGTON — For the second straight year, the Piedra Vista and Farmington swim teams swam in honor of Nephi Seavey, a PV swimmer who died in August 2015.
Emotions were especially high on Saturday at the Farmington Aquatic Center during the second annual Nephi Seavey Invitational. In addition to honoring the late swimmer, the seven-school meet served as senior day for 10 PV and FHS seniors who competed in their home pool for the final time.
"For us seniors, most of us did know Nephi, so it's pretty sad to come to this and see that," said PV captain Kathleen Ketchum, pointing to a memorial set up in Seavey's honor near the Aquatic Center's diving board. "For me anyways, I dedicated my swims to Nephi."
She said the team's goal for the meat was "mostly just to have fun."
"Since we've had so many canceled meets and the stress has been super high trying to qualify for state and stuff, having fun at our senior meet was one of our biggest goals," Ketchum said.
PV was second in combined team scores with 509 points, which was 161 fewer than first-place Belen. The gap between PV and Belen would have been wider had it not been for the Lady Panthers, who also finished in second but were only 28 points behind the Lady Eagles.
The Lady Scorpions took fourth out of six girls teams, while the FHS boys nabbed third out of seven, with 206 points to second-place Miyamura's 222.
The PV boys came in fifth with 158 points, well ahead of sixth-place Sandia Prep (93).
There were no new state qualifiers for PV or FHS, but many of the school's swimmers achieved new personal records, including Farmington's Trenton Grossheim, who continued his undefeated streak this season in the 50-yard freestyle with yet another first-place finish. But the decorated senior outdid himself Saturday by winning the race in 21.99 seconds, a new career-best time.
Grossheim was also victorious in the 100-yard butterfly.
PV and FHS coach Kristi Lucero said she was proud of swimmers on both of her rosters for striving for new personal records.
"We had almost all best times across the board," she said. "Trent Grossheim, obviously, he always shows up and he always swims well. And so he was really fun to watch today. Our PV girls 200-medley relay came in seeded second, and they finished first. They weren't gonna lose today — they weren't gonna lose in their home pool."
That 200-yard medley relay team of Morgan Miller, Sheala Moffitt, Emilee Lucero and Ketchum edged Belen's team by more than 5 seconds, winning the relay in 2 minutes and 1 second.
The Lady Panthers' 200-yard freestyle relay team also took first on Saturday. That team was made up of Ketchum, Moffitt, Miller and Bella Danek.
On top of the two first-place relay finishes, Moffitt had quite an afternoon individually, earning first in the 200-yard individual medley, as well as the 100-yard breaststroke.
Miller won the 100-yard backstroke for PV.
Farmington's boys turned in first-place finishes in both the 200-yard medley and the 200-yard freestyle relay. Both squads consisted of Christian Jones, Ethan Larson, Tyler Duncan and Grossheim.
Duncan came out on top in the 100-yard backstroke event, winning by edging PV's Skylar Hammond by less than 1 second.
After the meet, Lucero acknowledged the 10 PV and Farmington seniors who swam at home for the last time. Those seniors are: Grossheim, Jones, Ketchum, Moffitt, Mishael Isaacson, Ben VanOtteson, Richie Gibbons III, Sam Christensen, Hali Fine and Claire Madera.
From paying tribute to Seavey to saying goodbye to the seniors, Lucero said Saturday's meet was extremely memorable.
"Starting off with the synchronized diving that we do for Nephi to honor him, that just kind of starts off the day with emotion for his family and for the divers that knew him and were able to dive with him," Lucero said. "So it's just a really special time to start off the senior recognition with that. We had the PV choir chamber sing the national anthem, and they did an amazing job, like they always do. And I just wanted (the swimmers) to have fun. I wanted them to go out and enjoy themselves in their last meet here."
Now it's on to the District 1 championship meet for FHS and PV. Qualifiers will compete in district on Friday and Saturday at the Geneva Chavez Community Center in Sante Fe.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.