The first state championships of the winter season will be handed out this week at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton. And numerous local athletes hope to be in contention for some hardware.

While the Class 5A diving competition of the girls swimming and diving state championships took place Tuesday, the 4A diving competition and 4A swimming prelims are slated for Wednesday.

After the 5A swimming prelims early Thursday, the 4A swimming finals are set for Thursday afternoon/night.

The 3A prelims will kick off action on Friday, with the 3A finals set for Saturday afternoon/night. The 3A diving competition is slated for early Saturday — the fourth and final day of state competition at the VMAC.

Locally, Greeley West and Windsor will compete in the 4A state meet.

Eaton, Roosevelt and Valley will partake in the 3A meet.

Here’s a look at three items to keep an eye on during this week’s state competitions:

1. Can Greeley West continue to show strides in the final event of the season?

Greeley West may have entered the season a few months ago a bit under the radar, but the Spartans have steadily built momentum throughout the season.

That came to a head this past Saturday when West was in contention for a conference title all the way until the end of the 4A Northern Conference Championships at the Broomfield Community Center.

The Spartans ultimately scored 369 points and placed third behind Centaurus (381) and Silver Creek (372).

During the regular season, West went undefeated in dual meets for the first time since 2009.

At the conference championships, Spartans senior Kourtney Smith was named the conference’s Swimmer of the Year. West’s longtime head coach Colin Shaha was named Coach of the Year.

Smith will lead a team of six swimmers and two freshmen divers into state, as the Spartans look to further raise some eyebrows after placing 14th at state a year ago.

Delilah Ruiz and Ella Hass will compete in one-meter diving, which is set for Wednesday late-morning on into the early afternoon.

The Greeley West girls swimming and diving team poses for a team photo during the 2022-23 season. (Courtesy/Colin Shaha, Greeley West swimming and diving)

The 4A swimming events take place Wednesday afternoon/night with prelims and Thursday afternoon/night with the finals.

Smith will compete in the 200-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay after qualifying for state in seven individual events.

Sophomore Mady Douglass qualified in five individual events and will compete in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay.

Sophomore Dani Douglass will compete in the 50 freestyle, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay.

Junior Akam Chahal will compete in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 medley relay. Senior Kalynn Jennings will take part in the 200 medley relay, and senior Kyra Weinbender will participate in all three relays.

The Spartans will look for contributions from all throughout their lineup as they strive to leave their mark on a tough 4A classification.

2. Can Windsor rack up another top 10 finish?

A year ago at state, Windsor scored 307 points and placed second behind champion Heritage (636).

The Wizards have been a top 10 team at state more often than not over the past couple decades and are in the midst of a streak in which they’ve been in the top 7 three consecutive years.

Windsor has a bit of a younger team this season in more ways than one.

In addition to having 11 freshmen and 11 sophomores on its 29-athlete roster, the Wizards welcomed their first new coach in more than a decade.

Erin Eccleston — a 22-year-old 2018 Windsor graduate — immediately went from wrapping up her own swimming career at the University of Wyoming to taking over her alma mater’s program at Windsor .

She assumed the reins from longtime coach Mandy Schneider, who is taking a year-long sabbatical to travel the world with her family.

WINDSOR, CO – DECEMBER 15:Windsor girls swim and dive head coach Erin Eccleston, right, coaches her team at the Windsor Wizards girls swim practice at Windsor High School in Windsor Dec. 15, 2022. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Eccleston has kept the Wizards right among the upper tier of 4A swimming.

Windsor has five athletes competing in individual events, in addition to teams in all three relay events during state this week.

Freshman Ann Claire Bosch is competing in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

Sophomore Sienna Hawbaker will test herself in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

Freshman Reagan Annable is slated for one-meter diving.

Sophomore Kayla Knifong and freshman Abbie Sedaghat will compete in the 100 breaststroke.

3. Can a smaller school make a big impression?

A trio of local programs will try to make a statement in the 3A meet Friday and Saturday.

Eaton will have six competitors in individual events, in addition to fielding a team in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

Senior Caitlin Morgan will compete in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke,

Sophomore Sophie Morgan is slated for the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly.

Junior Andie Rasmussen is set for the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Sophomore Dharma Perkins will compete in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

Senior Kaiya Sinkler and sophomore Maddux Chapman are in the one-meter diving Saturday morning.

Roosevelt sophomore Aayla Deter will compete in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Rough Riders sophomore Addison DeGeldere is set for the 200 freestyle. Roosevelt junior Kerrighan Dauk and freshman Rylie Krieger will be in the one-meter diving competition.

Senior Neva Adolf will be Valley’s sole representative. She will compete in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

A year ago, Eaton placed 14th in the 3A state meet. Roosevelt finished 32nd in its first year hosting a program.

Bobby Fernandez covers high school sports for the Greeley Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at bfernandez@greeleytribune.com or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez.


This article was originally published in Greeley Tribune