By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Jenks concluded a banner year as its swim teams swept the Class 6A state championships on Feb. 22 at their home pool in the Jenks Trojan Aquatic Center.
It was the girls’ first title in a decade, while the boys were champions for the second straight year and third in four seasons.
Not only did the teams win, they dominated their meets.
Junior Laney Fenton won two solo events and was involved with two first-place relay teams. Freshman Janci Pangburn was part of one of those relay teams and won a solo event as well. Those wins catapulted the Trojan girls to 382 points in their first place finish.
Senior Austin Bick highlighted the boys with a solo title and was part of a relay championship, contributing to the Trojans’ 394 points.
“It was pretty exciting. It was really fun to finish this season on a really high note,” Bick said.
Once they received their awards, the Lady Trojans jumped into the water for a celebration.
“I felt pretty proud of my team and all we went through this season,” Fenton said. “ It’s just a really great feeling and we couldn’t stop crying at the end because we were so happy for each other.”
The girls were runner-up last year.
“It was surreal,” Pangburn said. “It all happened because we’ve been training as a team all season. We trained so hard and that’s all we’ve been talking about – ‘We were going to win state! – and we went to state, we won it and it was an amazing feeling getting up on the podium with the girls I love around me. It was the best feeling.”
Fenton won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.71, edging Bria Boreham of Norman North by one second (1:06.61), and the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 5:05.74, nearly two seconds better than Sylvia Admire of Claremore (5:07.15).
“The day before I was stressing myself out,” Fenton said. “My coach finally told me to just go have fun. So I started dancing, working out, having fun, it went with the flow of things and I kind of winged it. That’s what my coach and I said, ‘we’re going to wing it,’ and I did and I was so happy I won.”
Fenton also anchored the final leg in the first-place 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. Sophomores Jenna Vann, Kaya Smith and junior Jasmine Rau joined her, helping the quartet to a winning time of 1:48.25. Pangburn, Rau and junior Gabby Vargus won the 400 freestyle relay with Fenton, timed at 3:37.02.
Pangburn, who was the third leg in the 400 freestyle, won the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.51, stunning Bixby senior Kendall Stueben (54.15).
“There was a lot that went into that race,” Pangburn said. “I’m going to be honest, I had a real negative mentality. It just all got to me a little bit and then I finally got on the blocks when they blew the whistle, and I was like ‘You know what? I think I can do this,’ and all the positive thoughts went through my head during the race. I started off behind on the first 75 (yards) and on that last turn, I was with her. I wasn’t thinking about anything else and I finally touched the wall and I looked up and I couldn’t believe it. I was screaming and was so happy. It was one of the best feelings.”
Bicks won the 200 Individual Medley on the boys’ side, clocking in at 1:51.78 and finishing less than one second ahead of junior teammate Grant Stuckey.
“That meant a lot to me because I’ve been training for that since my sophomore year. Looking at my times, I’d been consistently improving and believed I could go faster,” said Bicks, who will swim collegiately at Washington University, a Division-III program in St. Louis. “I just didn’t know if I could do it and then I just jumped in the water with so much adrenaline.”
Along with Stuckey, senior Morne Wolmarans and junior Jazz Widney, Bicks was part of the 200 medley relay team, winning with a time of 1:33.33.
Trojan Quick Hits
The Jenks’ boys basketball (21-5) qualitied for the 6A state tournament after beating 11th-ranked Broken Arrow 56-46 in overtime in the area consolation final March 7 in Owasso. It was Jenks’ first trip to the state tourney since 2015.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourney was postponed on March 12, the day it was supposed to start. The OSSAA then canceled it permanently two weeks later.