TOPEKA — The Newton High School girls' swimming team needed a surge in the final three meets of the Class 5-4-3-2-1A State Swimming and Diving Championships to stay in the top 10.?Newton, aided by a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay, Newton moved into eighth place.?Blue Valley Southwest won the team title with 326 points, followed by St. Thomas Aquinas at 234 and Wichita Trinity Academy at 183. Newton scored 105 points.?The Railers were fourth among public schools and fourth among non-northeast Kansas schools.?"The girls swam great," Newton coach Philip Schmidt said. "They cut some considerable time the past two days. Hana (Robinson) had to swim breaststroke and turn around for the 400 relay. That was tough for her. She was disappointed in her breaststroke time, but hit the cool down pool, swam a couple laps and put it out of her head."?Senior Katrina Gerbrand claimed four medals for the Railers, two individual and two relay. Gerbrand was named second-team all-state by the coaches association, based on state finish.?"I was hoping for four, so there you go," Gerbrand said. "My whole family came here to support me, so I was happy for that. I was all-state all but my junior year. I didn't do so hot my junior year. I came back with a vengeance. I wanted to do better than I had. It paid off."?Gerbrand finishes her prep career with 16 state medals. She will be a walk-on at Youngstown State in the fall, making her Newton's second NCAA Division I swimmer in recent years.?"They have a good exercise science-physical therapy program," Gerbrand said. "I'm really excited to go. I got a really great, full-ride academic scholarship there. I'm really excited to be a Penguin."?Newton's best finish came in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Emily O'Meara, Emilie Holler, Hana Robinson and Gerbrand finished fourth in 3:59.16. Newton moved up several spots in the last two legs of the relay.?"Our team knew what we had to do," Gerbrand said. "We had to swim fast. State pumps you up. Hana had a great leg. She and I were both under a minute. That's how you do well in relays. You have to go fast."?Gerbrand took fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:18.63. Erin Bergen finished 15th in 2:35.62.?Gerbrand took eighth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:03.11. Holler was 13th in 1:06.84.?The team of Gerbrand, Robinson, Emily O'Meara and Emilie Holler finished seventh in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:01.82. Newton moved up a spot in the standings when the apparent winner, Blue Valley Southwest, was disqualified.?Robinson won the consolation finals of the 500-yard freestyle in 5:42.77, taking ninth overall. Holler was 12th in 5:46.66. Robinson was 12th in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:16.80.?Jessi Stucky finished 16th in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:13.51.?Newton loses three state qualifying seniors in Gerbrand, Robinson and Bergen. The rest of the state team consists of a junior, a sophomore and six freshmen.?"We were a very young team this year," Schmidt said."The girls did a really good job all season long, keeping the work ethic going. I'm looking forward to the years to come. We just have to make sure they are pushing themselves just a little bit harder. That's easy with sports like basketball, where everybody practices together. Here, the kids have to self-motivate."?Schmidt expects another strong freshman class next year.?"We'll have at least one coming up who is really good," Schmidt said. "Then we have a number of girls who will deepen the ranks. That's what we were good at now. I think we'll have another strong team."
Newton non-finalists?200-yd. freestyle — 21. Courtney Spreier 2:14.11, 24. (tie) Rebecca Schrag 2:15.60, 31. Lauren Couchman 2:19.11.?200-yd. individual medley — 17. Sophia Miller 2:35.05, 18. Emily O'Meara 2:35.26.?100-yd. breaststroke — 19. Emily O'Meara 1:07.86, 35. Sophia Miller 1:13.65.?100-yd. freestyle — 21. Rebecaa Schrag 1:02.69.?500-yd. freestyle — 18. Olivia Sailor 5:58.29, 33. Lauren Couchman 6:16.78.?200-yd. freestyle relay — 18. Newton (Schrag, Miller, Spreier, Stucky) 1:53.28.?100-yd. backstroke — 21. Erin Bergen 1:11.34.?100-yd. breaststroke — 20. Jessi Stucky 1:19.33.