SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School swim team headed to state Friday morning after a record-breaking season.
Lady Bronc seniors Emily Spiegelberg, Gretchen Dougherty, Payton Brilz, Laurel Fosnight and Rachel Stevens are confident the team can place in the top three at state.
Led by coach Brent Moore, the ladies have had one of their strongest seasons in years.
Moore is serving his third year as swim coach of the Lady Broncs after relocating from Ft. Collins, Colo., where he coached the Poudre High Impalas for 12 years.
While at Poudre he was named Front Range League Coach of the year seven times, coached state champions and placed consistently in the top 10 state team standings.
The ladies attribute a lot of their success to having a strong, consistent coach.
“My seniors now have been swimming a long time and swimming with me since sophomore year” Moore said. “They are not afraid to put in the work even outside of swim season.”
In fact, the girls practiced all summer with the USA Team and say they were more dedicated this year than ever before.
“This was the first summer we’ve had almost every single girl in the water,” Spiegelberg said. “Now, ever since our conference meet finish we’ve realized what we’re capable of.”
The ladies took second place in conference.
Spiegelberg made All-State her sophomore year in the 100-meter backstroke.
Another star senior, Dougherty, broke the school’s backstroke record this season after making All-State her junior year in the 100-meter butterfly.
Spiegelberg and Dougherty say they’ve been swimming together for years and stress the importance of team bonding.
“You have to be positive,” Dougherty said. “Make it fun. I think the team dinners we host before each meet have really helped.”
Brilz, 17, says of swimming with the two All-State Lady Broncs, “swimming next to Gretchen and Emily pushes me. It gives you someone to compete against every day to shave off those extra few seconds.”
Brilz herself is expected to join the girls’ star ranking this year.
“I have no doubt Payton will make All-State” Spiegelberg said. “She’s found her own this year. Her freestyle medley has scored a lot of points for us.”
“I feel confident going in to state that I’ll come out with places and times I worked hard for this year,” Brilz responded.
There was a bittersweet moment as the girls reflected on the fact that this will be their last state meet together.
However, they are confident the team can continue its success under Moore, as they’ve worked hard to build their team numbers as well as awareness of how they’ve improved.
The seniors also have high hopes for the younger girls to carry on their legacy.
“With our relay, we broke our record, and our seniors have potential to be top in the state,” Brilz said, “so we’ve given them something to look up to.”
The 4A girls state swim meet takes place Friday and Saturday in Gillette.
This story was written by staff reporter Alisa Brantz.
Lady Broncs swimming state qualifiers
Girls 50 Free
13th Emily Spiegelberg 27.04
14th Payton Brilz 27.12
T22nd Mackenzie Dougherty 27.38
43rd Katie Beardslee 27.89
57th Rachel Stevens 28.15
Girls 100 Free
16th Mackenzie Dougherty 59.56
28th Emily Spiegelberg 1:00.79
36th Payton Brilz 1:01.35
37th Katie Beardslee 1:01.45
T38th Gretchen Dougherty 1:01.48
4 Payton Brilz 2:05.55
15th Mackenzie Dougherty 2:09.75
28th Gretchen Dougherty 2:14.21
35th Rachel Stevens 2:16.38
37th Katie Beardslee 2:16.89
43rd Emily Spiegelberg 2:17.41
Girls 500 free
7th Payton Brilz 5:41.14
20th Mackenzie Dougherty 5:58.25
25th Katie Beardslee 6:06.99
37th Gretchen Dougherty 6:12.35
39th Rachel Stevens 6:12.83
41st Emily Spiegelberg 6:13.90
Girls 100 backstroke
4th Emily Spiegelberg 1:03.79
15th Payton Brilz 1:08.09
32nd Mackenzie Dougherty 1:11.09
34th Gretchen Dougherty 1:11.42
5th Gretchen Dougherty 1:12.00
14th Mackenzie Dougherty 1:17.78
19th Raien Emery 1:19.06
21st Emily Spiegelberg 1:19.26
30th Payton Brilz 1:19.79
7th Mackenzie Dougherty 1:04.91
8th Gretchen Dougherty 1:05.04
21st Payton Brilz 1:09.57
25th Laurel Fosnight 1:10.43
30th Emily Spiegelberg 1:11.05
36th Cassandra Robinson 1:12.29
40th Katie Beardslee 1:12.89
9th Gretchen Dougherty 2:26.29
11th Mackenzie Dougherty 2:27.05
26th Payton Brilz 2:32.04
39th Laurel Fosnight 2:36.40
41st Katie Beardslee 2:37.31
43rd Emily Spiegelberg 2:37.75
4A girls diving
6th Whitney Migrants 212.80 points
14th Brielle Smiley 186.75 points
15th Sara Von Krosigk 186.25