It came down to the last event for the Newton High School girls’ swimming team Saturday in the finals of the Class 5-4-3-2-1A state championships at the Capital Federal Natatorium in Topeka.

It came down to the last event for the Newton High School girls’ swimming team Saturday in the finals of the Class 5-4-3-2-1A state championships at the Capital Federal Natatorium in Topeka.
If the Railers didn’t finish in third in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Railers were not going to get on the podium in the team standings. The team of Christina Entz, Katrina Gerbrand, Martha Scheffler and Shelby Gronau finished third in 3:53.80 to put the Railers in third in the team standings.
“I think we did pretty well,” Scheffler said. “I just wanted to finish strong my senior year. I was hoping for a state medal and walked away with four. I’m happy with that. That 400 relay was make it or break it. If we didn’t get third, we were going to lose it. I’m so proud of the team. It was my last race ever, and I wanted to give it my all. There are no regrets.”
Scheffler, and freshman Katrina Gerbrand, were both named second-team all-state in Class 5A.
“I was really excited,” said Gerbrand, who claimed a pair of fifth-place finishes. “I cut a lot of time. I tried my best. It was a good taper I guess. Coming in, I was super nervous. I didn’t have the best high school season but this really put it away.”
Gerbrand said the finish will give her motivation for the next three years.
“I really want to break a school record,” she said. “I’d like to get it in the 200 (individual medley). I was really close in the 100 back today.”
St. Thomas Aquinas won the meet with 329.5 points, followed by Wichita Independent with 252 and the Railers with 192. Newton edged Topeka Hayden by two points for the final state plaque. Emporia was fourth with 171.
“Topeka Hayden was the big surprise today,” Newton coach Vicki Scheuermann said. “The way we counted our points last night after prelims, we were third. The way the meet was going, I would have been happy with anything. It was very, very tight. It was very competitive. I am so proud of my girls. In that last relay, we were seeded third and we had to finish third.”
It was the first time the meet was held for the Class 5A through 1A schools separate from the 6A schools. It also was the first top-three finish for the Railers at state.
Newton finished with six individual medals and three relay medals. The Railers scored in 10 of 12 events and all but three entries failed to score.
“I told the girls we had to fight for every point,” Scheuermann said. “We told the girls every single point today mattered.”
The Railers posted their first-ever state runner-up when sophomore Entz finished second in the 100-yard freestyle in 56.53. Scheffler medaled in seventh in 59.12. Exchange student Ronja Boolzen finished 14th in 1:00.36.
“I just went out and tried my best,” Entz said. “The time was pretty good. I did better here than I did last year. Last year, I didn’t place.”
The hardware collection for the Railers started early. In the first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay team of Gronau, Hana Robinson, Sara Slifer and Entz finished fifth in 2:00.78.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Gerbrand, Boolzen, Slifer and Scheffler finished seventh in 1:49.92.
Gerbrand took fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:18.56. Robinson was 18th in 2:37.02, followed by Lynnie Tran in 20th in 2:41.59.
Gerbrand took fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.57, followed by Gronau in eighth at 1:06.59.
Scheffler finished seventh in the 50-yard freestyle in 26.79. Boolzen was seeded 16th after the prelims, but moved up four spots in the consolation finals to finish 12th in 27.23.
In the 200-yard freestyle, the Railers put three in the consolation finals. Slifer was 11th in 2:13.55, followed by Entz in 12th at 2:14.55 and Gronau in 16th in 2:19.80.
Slifer was 11th in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:54.29. Tran was 23rd in 6:33.64.
Robinson was 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:19.88.
The Railers lose eight seniors, four off the state team.
“I think we have a good group of juniors, sophomores and freshmen,” Scheuermann said. “We lose some good seniors, but we have a good starting point for next year. I like the new (format). We as coaches voted to keep the consideration (qualifying) open for the next three years. That gives more girls a chance to swim at state, which creates more excitement for the girls and gives them more motivation to stick with it.”
Newton non-finalists
200-yd. individual medley — 18. Hana Robinson 2:37.03, 20. Lynnie Tran 2:41.59.
500-yd. freestyle — 23. Lynnie Tran 6:33.64.