Cortez swimmers cap historic season at state meet

Bagge breaks school backstroke record; M-CHS finishes 21st in state

The Montezuma-Cortez High School swim team. Top row: Sam Bagge, Caisey Duran, Nanabah Sam, Maddy Ludington, Jewels Goad, Allyssa Ludington.

Middle: Bailey Duran, Autumn Vanbibber, Lynda La Paz, Jenna Barner, Ahnna Higgins. Bottom: Coach Gayle Earley, Alexx Earley, Shayla Candelaria. Not shown are Bess McAlpin and Labrea Matteson. Enlargephoto

Candi Duran/For The Journal

The Montezuma-Cortez High School swim team. Top row: Sam Bagge, Caisey Duran, Nanabah Sam, Maddy Ludington, Jewels Goad, Allyssa Ludington. Middle: Bailey Duran, Autumn Vanbibber, Lynda La Paz, Jenna Barner, Ahnna Higgins. Bottom: Coach Gayle Earley, Alexx Earley, Shayla Candelaria. Not shown are Bess McAlpin and Labrea Matteson.

Capping off a historic season that saw them break all but one school record, the Montezuma Cortez High School girls swim team traveled to the Colorado Class 3A State Swimming Championship in Thornton on Feb. 10-11, and finished 21st overall.

Leading the team as she has all season was senior captain Samantha Bagge, who captured ninth place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.20 and 16th place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:06.69.

Bagge also broke the school record in the preliminaries of the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:05.30. Now finished with her high school career, Bagge holds individual school records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly, and 100-yard backstroke.

Also turning in an impressive individual performance for the Panthers was senior co-captain Bailey Duran, who finished 14th in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:24.51. Bailey Duran also competed individually in the 100-yard breaststroke, but was disqualified during preliminaries.

Like Bagge, Bailey Duran finished her prep career as the school record-holder in multiple events, including the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle.

Rounding out the Panthers’ upperclassmen competing at the state championship was junior Caisey Duran, who placed 16th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:29.89) and 17th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:06.22).

Sophomore Jenna Barner placed 15th in the 100-yard freestyle (58.86) and 28th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:08.49), while sophomore Nanabah Sam finished 33rd in the 100-yard backstroke (1:09.19).

Finishing out her first high school season in style, freshman Bess McAlpin placed 27th in the 100-yard backstroke.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Bailey Duran, Caisey Duran, Barner and Bagge finished 10th overall with a school record time of 1:47.54. The same group placed 12th overall in the 400-freestyle relay with a school-record time of 3:54.52.

McAlpin and Sam joined sophomore Alexx Earley and sophomore Shayla Candelaria in the 200-yard medley relay and placed 23rd overall (2:13.16).

Aspen High School won the meet and in doing so, became the first team champion in the 3A class, which was formed prior to the season. St. Mary’s Academy finished second in the team standings, and Glenwood Springs High School finished third.

With their season now complete, M-CHS will look to improve throughout the offseason in hopes of improving their state placing next season.

The Montezuma-Cortez High School swim team received a police escort out of town as they head for the state tournament. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/The Journal

The Montezuma-Cortez High School swim team received a police escort out of town as they head for the state tournament.