Fossil Ridge has strong showing during prelims

(Danielle Ennis/

THORNTON — Fossil Ridge showed a promising performance at the Class 5A boys swimming and diving state preliminaries, placing first in all three relays, qualifying for finals in every event, and capturing a top three seed in six races.

Though the SaberCats only returned one individual champion this year in Danny Kovac, strong swims by junior Richard Dauksher, senior Sam Ybarra and junior Matt Geraghty give potential for a third consecutive state title. Their head coach Mark Morehouse, named NHSCA coach of the year last season, doesn’t hurt their chances, either.

Senior Kovac looks to repeat top in the 100-yard backstroke, a race he has won two years in a row. The Fossil Ridge senior also earned the second seed in the 100-yard fly tonight and will look to land on the podium on Saturday in his second discipline.

Last year’s runner-up and 21-time state champion, Regis Jesuit, is right on Fossil’s tail, placing second in the 200-yard medley relay, second in the 400-yard freestyle relay, and fifth in the 200-yard free relay. Their most recent championship came in 2014.

Despite these two teams gaining most of the attention heading into finals, two seniors from other schools made headlines tonight and look to claim top spots tomorrow.

Senior Michael Zarian of Fairview won the 200-yard IM and 500-yard freestyle last year (he is two-time champion in the latter). This year, Zarian swapped the 500-free free for the 100-yard butterfly.

“Honestly, I just think it’s a more fun race. This is also my senior year so I wanted to switch it up,” he said.

On Friday, Zarian placed first in both races, and competed in the final two relays (200-yard free, 400-yard free) in which his team placed second and fourth, respectively.

“I am excited and fired up to swim in the finals tomorrow. Everybody is,” said Zarian, who will swim for Harvard next year. “The goal here is to swim the fastest, of course, and have fun. And that’s what’s happening….

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