A short-handed Newton-Hesston boys’ swim team placed fifth out of nine teams Thursday at the Newton Invitational II Thursday at the NHS pool.

Maize won the meet with 336 points, followed by Derby at 259, Maize South at 200, Andover Central at 168 and Newton at 126.

“We had a lot of sickness,” Newton assistant coach Sarah Vogt said. “We were down four of five swimmers, including some A (relay) team members. Even some of the kids who swam today weren’t swimming all four events. We were not at full strength, but we were fully focused. We had a lot of energy. They were all cheering on their teammates. It was a great atmosphere. There were so many (time cuts). Both our 200 A relays cut. The 200 free relay was a half second away from state consideration. That’s without some of our stronger swimmer. Other guys stepped up in events they weren’t used to and just killed it. They are saying that’s something they’d like to continue to do in the future.”

Newton head coach Shawna Cole was unable to attend due to a family wedding.

The Railers opened the meet with a 2-3-4 finish in diving. Creed Ekerberg finished second in 156.40, followed by Max Musser in third in 155.65 and Luke Hirsh in fourth at 140.60. Musser and Hirsh both had season-best scores.

“Creed and Max went head-to-head in diving,” Vogt said. “Creed beat Max by less than a point. Diving really helps us. We rely on our divers in every meet. I’ve seen a lot of improvement with our divers, especially our freshmen.”

Tryston Mitchel took fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:34.83, a time cut of 1.06 seconds.

The 200-medley relay team of Mitchel, Noah Massanari, James Tyrell and Ekerberg took sixth in 2:00.75, a season-best time by .22 seconds.

The team of Henry Claassen, Massanari, Tyrell and Seth Bontrager took sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:44.64, a time cut of 4.27 seconds and .5 seconds shy of the state consideration time.

“The guys worked hard over the break,” Vogt said. “We were worried how they would do over the break, but they were awesome. Everyone did a time cut. We started Monday and Wednesday was a half-practice, but they worked out on their own during the break.”

Newton competes at 4 p.m. Thursday at Emporia with Topeka Hayden, Campus, Topeka Seaman, Topeka High and Wichita Trinity Academy.