Cats make history at state finals

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Clovis High swim coach Vince de Maio said that the last day of the New Mexico Swimming & Diving State Championships on Saturday was the first day of the 2007-08 season. If that’s true, then the Wildcats are off to a decent start.

On a team dominated by underclassmen, one — junior Miles Ware — became the second Clovis entry to win a race at the state swimming competition. Ware came from behind to take first in the consolation final of the 100-yard backstroke, edging Eldorado’s Trevor Bennett and finishing with a time of 58.64.

The day before, Ware had the ninth-fastest time in preliminary competition and just missed out on the eight-member finals.

“I had a few scrub turns and I felt my arm-speed going down a little bit, but I just made up my mind to really push the last part of that race and do what I was capable of doing,” Ware said.

Ware was also in the consolation final of the 100-yard freestyle, where he finished fifth with a time of 50.42 — just off his personal best of 50.38 which he achieved on Friday.

In the consolation final of the girls 100-yard butterfly, Clovis junior Amber Espinoza finished third. Like Ware, her time on Saturday (1:05.11) was just over her best-ever mark (1:04.38) set in the prelims.

Besides Ware’s victory in the 100-back consolation race, the only other win in CHS swimming history at state is when Alyssa Pyeatt won the 100-breaststroke consolation final two years ago. Last year, Pyeatt followed that up with an appearance in the 100-breast finals — the only time that’s happened for Clovis.

“We’re super happy with his finish in the 100-back. I look at Miles’ and Amber’s swims today and, certainly, I feel like we’re in that position again,” de Maio said. “We’re really excited about next year – and next year starts today. I think Miles’ win in the consolation final certainly puts us on that path.”