Cheney Free Press -


Blackhawks give good account at state swimming


November 16, 2017

A season that began with a little uncertainty ended with a lot of promise for the future for the Cheney High School girls swimming team.

The Blackhawks began 2017 absent several prominent swimmers from 2016 due to graduation, but ended by sending a good contingent to the 2A state meet last Saturday at the Federal Way Aquatics Center. Cheney sent one individual swimmer and one relay team to the consolation finals Saturday evening.

Courtney Hanson advanced to the B Final in the 100-yard freestyle. The junior posted a 57.52 second swim in the preliminaries, and finished 12th out of 16 in the finals, fourth in the consolation race in 57.54.

Head coach Jennifer Hochwalt said Hanson was seeded 17th heading into prelims, and bettered her second-place district time of 58.52 in both state heats.

Cheney’s other individual event swimmer, Isabell Williams, missed the finals in the 100 backstroke but also shaved time off her second-place district finish of 1:07.84, ending up 21st at Federal Way in 1:07.03.

In the relays, the 200 freestyle team of Hanson, Echo Mecklenburg, Abby Wood and Elizabeth Potter bettered their 15th seed by one spot in the consolation final, finishing 14th in 1:51.38 — 1.59 seconds better than their third-place time at districts.

Finally, the 400-freestyle team of Evarosa Perry, Hope Zarragoza, Zarah Meyers and Juliet Richards finished 24th with a time of 4:21.04. Hochwalt said all four set new personal records — one season-best and three all-time bests.

“They just swam a fantastic relay, really good times,” she added.

Cheney finished with 11 points, good for 26th out of 31 teams and ahead of Central Washington Athletic Association/Great Northern League district champion Pullman, who finished 27th with nine points. District second-place Ellensburg was seventh at Federal Way, with Liberty (Renton) winning the 2A state title.

The Blackhawks entered the season minus two state champions and with over half of the 36 who turned out being new to pool competition.

Hochwalt was pleased with how they finished, with many returners beginning 2017 where they ended 2016 and improving on that, with many new swimmers finishing this season much further down the road than where they began.

“I was really happy with the representation at state,” she said. “They did an amazing job.”

John McCallum can be reached at


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