Burchfield, Van Horne are Swimmers of the Year

The Prescott High varsity boys' swimming squad's foursome of Mason Burchfield, Charles Miller, Daniel Schleicher and Grant Temple established new school records in the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400 free relay during the 2011 season, setting the bar even higher for future Badgers swimmers.

However, it is for their overall efforts in guiding a sterling PHS team this fall that the Daily Courier has honored each of the boys as first-team selections on its 2011 All-Courier swimming team.

At the Division I state meet Nov. 4 and 5, the four of them finished 13th in the 200 medley relay (1 minute, 44.24 seconds) and 12th in the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.64).

Burchfield, a senior co-captain, was named this area's boys' swimmer of the year for his hard work, talent and leadership in the pool.

This season, Burchfield snapped his own PHS record in the 200 free in 1:48.8 and broke his older brother Dayton Burchfield's previous school record in the 500 free in 5:00.47. In the state meet's preliminary round, he posted a 1:49.95 time in the 200 free and a 5:01.34 in the 500 free.

"Mason improved so much this year and worked that hard for it," Badgers swimming coach Brigid Bunch said. "He came to my morning classes over at Yavapai College and he always worked out twice a day to beat his brother's record."

Meanwhile, Temple notched new school records in the 100-yard freestyle (49.86) - after breaking his own previous-best mark - and in the 100 butterfly. At the state meet, he took third place in the 100 fly with a new PHS record time of 51.10 seconds and snagged 14th in the 100 backstroke (55.81).

"Those four boys stuck together and set a goal back in their freshman year to be better than their 'big brother,' so to speak, and they did it," Bunch said of Burchfield, Miller, Schleicher and Temple.

A few swimmers on the Division II Bradshaw Mountain H.S. squad got spots on the All-Courier first team as well, including senior Mike Ritch, junior Robert Folmer and sophomore Cameron Blinston.

This fall, five BMHS boys qualified for the D-II state meet Nov. 4 and 5, marking the most athletes that the Bears team has taken to the postseason since 2007.

At the D-II meet, Ritch won the consolation round of the 50 free and he had the fifth fastest overall time for the event in the division. He also competed in the 100 free, 400 free relay and 200 free relay. Folmer finished 13th in the 100 backstroke.

GIRLS

Bradshaw Mountain junior Kirsten Van Horne and freshman Katie Buckwalter garnered first-team accolades for their season-long efforts.

Van Horne earned the Courier's girls' swimmer of the year honors for breaking two BMHS records in the 50 free and 100 free this fall. At state, she finished eighth in the 50 free in a time of 25.73 and 11th in the 100 free (56.75).

"It was a really good year, and we had a lot of new swimmers who improved so much," Bears swim coach Patti Eller said of her girls.

Over at Prescott High, Toko Miller, Stephanie Riviere and twin sisters Meghan and McKenzie Lain snared first-team selections. This fall, they broke every one of the three Badgers swim program's relay records - in the 200 medley (2:01.15), the 200 free (1:47.49) and the 400 free (3:59.64).

In addition, at a meet in Cottonwood this season, McKenzie Lain swam the 50 free in 25.84 seconds, setting a new school record in that event. The 50 free record had been the longest-held individual mark in the PHS books, dating back to 2002, Bunch said.

"That was pretty impressive," the coach said of McKenzie's time.