Brilliant Briggs

December 4, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Senior leads Patriots to 2A state swim title

By Greg Farrar The trophy looks awesome up close for the Liberty High School swim team as they celebrate their school's first-ever state swim team championship Nov. 15 at the King County Aquatic Center, earned in style with a 2A-record 348 point total.

By Greg Farrar
The trophy looks awesome up close for the Liberty High School swim team as they celebrate their school’s first-ever state swim team championship Nov. 15 at the King County Aquatic Center, earned in style with a 2A-record 348 point total.

Just three days before the last state swim final of her career, Liberty High School star Mackenna Briggs was calm and determined.

Briggs signed her name to papers Nov. 12 solidifying her commitment to swim for the University of San Diego.

But even with an eye toward her future as a Torero, Briggs knew that later that weekend, she and her Liberty teammates had the chance to do something special.

“I’m excited to swim with my teammates and confident that we’re going to have a fun weekend,” Briggs said before leading the Patriots’ to the 2A state swim title Nov. 15, and earning the Swimmer of the Meet Award.

The 2014 Liberty girls swim team won the program’s first state championship in a devastatingly dominant fashion. The Patriots won seven of the meet’s 12 events and left the King County Aquatic Center with a 2A record final score of 348 points.

To put that score in perspective, second-place finisher Sehome, coincidentally Liberty coach Kris Daughters’ alma mater, had 188 points.

“That was one of the most fun nights of my existence,” a beaming Daughters said at the end of the meet.

Briggs led Liberty swimmers with two individual wins, capturing the 100-yard butterfly with a 2A meet record time of 55.65 seconds, and cruising to victory in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.78.

The meet was the end of Briggs’ illustrious Liberty career that saw her win multiple individual titles and single-handedly rewrite the school’s record book in every event.

“The University of San Diego is lucky to get a person like that on their team,” Daughters said. “She’s one of the best swimmers that Washington state has ever had, I would say, and certainly the best swimmer that Liberty’s ever produced.”

By Greg Farrar Senior Mackenna Briggs slices through the water en route to winning the 50-yard freestyle 2A state championship in a time of 23.78 seconds.

By Greg Farrar
Senior Mackenna Briggs slices through the water en route to winning the 50-yard freestyle 2A state championship in a time of 23.78 seconds.

Records fell all over the place as Liberty made its first appearance at the 2A state meet. It began early the final day, when the 200-yard medley relay team of Lauryn Hepp, Abby Russell, Cecilia Nelson and Sydney Hartford broke the 2A state meet record with a winning time of 1:51.40.

Liberty ended up winning all three relay events, one of the major keys to the team’s dominating state performance, Daughters said.

Prior to the season, Daughters asked her former Sehome coach, Don Helling, what it took to win a championship. Helling, who still coaches the school and has quite the overflowing trophy case, pointed to the relays.

So, Daughters made that a focus at the beginning of the year, lining up her personnel to come up with the best relay combinations.

“In my wildest fantasies, I never thought that they would win all of the relays in this meet, though,” Daughters said.

Ellie Hohensinner, Briggs, Russell and Hartford won the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.23), while Briggs, Nelson, Hohensinner and Hepp won the 400 freestyle relay in a 2A meet record time of 3:37.43.

Liberty took the top two spots in the second event of the meet as Nelson, a senior, won the 200-yard freestyle (1:56.47), followed closely by teammate Hohensinner (1:57.88). Initially, it appeared that Ellensburg swimmer Krista Wilson won that race, but her disqualification moved all swimmers up a spot.

Hohensinner, a junior, got her first-place medal later in the meet after winning the 500-yard freestyle (5:08.36).

In addition to her work in the relays and the 200 freestyle, Nelson also picked up a third-place medal in the 100 butterfly (59.35).

Hepp, a junior, won two individual medals as well, taking second in the 100 backstroke (59.69) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (54.57).

Hartford, a sophomore, placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (55.87) and seventh in the 50 freestyle (25.03).

Russell, a freshman making her state debut, took third in the 200 individual medley (2:11.84) and fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.73).

Liberty senior Christina Sargent placed fourth in the 1-meter diving competition with 327.25 points, while sophomore Belle Wong finished 13th with 239.85 points.

On the web

Relive Liberty’s historic win with our photo gallery here.

Finally, Liberty junior Sierra Lesnik won the consolation final in the 100 backstroke (1:04.52).

Daughters said she saw this special season coming a few years ago as she charted the swimmers that would be filtering in and out of the program.

But after coaching for almost two decades, the normally stoic Liberty coach was still in shock at the “dream” meet her program had.

“The combination of moving to 2A and having this unusually good team was just a feeling that you have, I think, once in a career,” she said.

 

Hazen

The Highlanders failed to medal at the 3A state meet, also at the King County Aquatic Center, but they did send several swimmers to the consolation finals.

Senior Kourtney Brunings finished third in the 100 butterfly consolation final (1:00.63) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke consolation final (1:09.32).

The 200 medley relay team featuring Kristen LeBar, Clarissa Mitchell, Emilie Nelson and Brunings took eighth in the consolation final (2:00.65). The same foursome also finished fifth in the consolation final of the 200 freestyle relay (1:46.25).

Hazen finished 25th overall in the team standings.

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