By William

LENEXA – In a very crowded field for Class 5-4-3-2-1A, the McPherson boys swim team with just eight swimmers were still able to finish eighth among 33 teams thanks to two third place finishes by the 200, and 400 Freestyle Relay quartets.

It was the final swim meet for five Bullpup seniors, and they finished their career at a highly impressive venue as state was held this season at the Shawnee Mission Aquatic Center.

Three seniors, Rhys Vanderhoof, Cody Achilles, and Matthew Powers combined with junior Wesley Wurm to earn two bronze medals as the foursome took third in the 200 Freestyle Relay with a swim of 1:30.56 before finishing out the meet with another third-place finish in the 400 Freestyle Relay with a swim of 3:19.49.

“The Bullpups were carried on the back of the two bronze medal swims in the 200 Freestyle relay and the 400 Freestyle relay,” pointed out Bullpup Head Coach Matt Cotton. “This meet proved to be an incredibly dynamic and fast meet, with at least two state records broken, and intense racing all around. Even though we were still dropping times, the Bullpups got off to a relatively slow start.”

Senior Cody Achilles kicked off the Bullpup individual swims in the 200 Freestyle with a great swim that proved to be enough to elevate him out of the second heat and onto the podium with a seventh-place finish, though it was at the expense of fellow Bullpup senior Matthew Powers who dropped to ninth.”

Senior Alex Houston closed out his Bullpup career with a hair slim finish of 16th in the 200 Individual Medley to earn a point for the team at the expense of Smoky Valley’s Tytus Reed who finished just .07 seconds behind him.

Facing some blistering fast competitors in the 50 Freestyle, Rhys Vanderhoof finished just off the podium in 9th place while Wesley Wurm just missed team points in 17th place.

After the divers were finished, the Bullpups put three swimmers in the 100 Freestyle and earned a 9th place finish from Rhys Vanderhoof for nine team points and an 11th place finish from Matthew Powers which was good for six team points while Wesley Wurm just missed points in 18th place.

“We took a bit of a gamble in the 100 Freestyle by swimming Rhys (Vanderhoof), Wesley (Wurm), and Matthew (Powers) even though Matthew spent much of the season as a long-distance swimmer,” added Coach Cotton as he continued his post-meet reflections. “Our thinking was to give Matthew a bit more rest going into the relays, but it meant putting him into a sprint where the margins are a lot tighter. Both Rhys and Matthew have podium finishers in the past, and to miss out this year by such narrow margins was definitely tough.”

The Bullpups got a big break over the three heats of the 500 Freestyle after Cody Achilles posted a solid drop-in time to finish 13th.”

After reaffirming what they needed yet to do, the team reset the button a bit getting ready for the two big relays and found a certain energy needed.

Coach Cotton noted, “From the outset of the 200 Freestyle relay, you could tell things were starting to click. We were in a close heat with a strong Blue Valley Southwest squad in our outside lane, and we were matching them stroke for stroke. In the end they were able to hold us off, but not by much with only .16 seconds separating the Bullpups from the silver medal, with both of us behind the new state record set by Maize South. They then took that same energy into the 400 relay and they did not take being out touched laying down, coming back again in a lane next to Blue Valley Southwest and this time coming out on top. They took third behind an incredible comeback charge from Wichita Independent in the outside lane and the same Andover Central team who we had just barely held off at League the week before, who came back and dropped an absolute haymaker of a swim to seize the mantle of state champs, a mantle which their team also carried overall.”

Overall, the Bullpups finished eighth as a team with 114 points, two points ahead of both Wichita Collegiate and Wichita Bishop Carroll. Andover Central won the team title with 234.5 points while Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel with 211 finished second while Maize South took third with 182 and Op-Blue Valley Southwest rounded out the top four with 169.

Coach Cotton did take a note of pride knowing that one of his co-op swimmers during the regular season, Tytus Reed, scored a team point for Smoky Valley in the 500 Freestyle to give the Vikings their first ever points in a state swim meet.

Finishing his post-meet and season reflections Coach Cotton said, “This season has been a wild ride, with COVID restrictions upending so much of what is normal and routine, and it is a testament to our guys and KSHSAA Swimming for seeing it through to the end. While we fell just shy of some of our big goals for the year, every single guy on that this state team has something to be proud of from the meet. They are an incredible group of swimmers, and these seniors have left such a mark on this program with their attitude and all the hard work they put in over the years. Their example to the younger guys is going to be something that sticks with them heading into the future.”

While the Bullpups will lose seniors Logan Ediger, Rhys Vanderhoof, Mathew Powers, Alex Houston, and Cody Achilles, they do return two who saw state meet competition in Christian Garcia and Tito Mendez, both of whom will have at least two years remaining to help rebuild the Bullpup program.



24. Bullpups swam 1:57.23 (Logan Ediger (Sr), Christian Garcia (Fr), Alex Houston (Sr), Tito Mendez (So))


7. 1:48.93 Cody Achilles (Sr) – 12 team points

9. 1:50.32 Matthew Powers (Sr) – 9 team points


16. 2:13.10 Alex Houston (Sr) – 1 team point

17. 2:13:17 Tytus Reed swimming for Smoky Valley

22. 2:16.44 Logan Ediger (Sr)


9. 22.58 Rhys Vanderhoof (Sr) – 9 team points

17. 23.35 Wesley Wurm (Jr)


20. 59.96 Alex Houston (Sr)


9. 49.76 Rhys Vanderhoof (Sr) – 9 team points

11. 50.07 Matthew Powers (Sr) – 6 team points

18. 51.97 Wesley Wurm (Jr)


13. 5:13.94 Cody Achilles (Sr) – 4 team points

16. 5:21.39 Tytus Reed (So) – 1 team point for Smoky Valley


3. 1:30.56 (Rhys Vanderhoof (Sr), Wesley Wurm (Jr), Cody Achilles (Sr), Matthew Powers (Sr)) – 32 team points


20. 1:01.04 Logan Ediger (Sr)


3. 3:19.49 (Rhys Vanderhoof (Sr), Wesley Wurm (Jr), Cody Achilles (Sr), Matthew Powers (Sr)) – 32 team points

{McPherson Bullpup Postings are SPONSORED by CrossDove Creations}



Remembering the deep freeze of February 2021 with this T-Shirt from CrossDove Creations

Have some fun and remember the cold superfreeze of the winter of 2021 with this cute t-shirt that shows a shivering thermometer while stating that you are ‘A Survivor of the Superfreeze’ of 2021…..Survivor of the Superfreeze T-Shirt | Etsy