By William

TOPEKA – With all the obstacles along the way and splitting the team in half for the state swim meet, the McPherson girls swim team still managed to score enough points to finish in the top-ten out of 36 teams while Danica Brunk took second twice and the Smoky Valley girls scored points and had at least one top-15 finish.

Without a home pool to compete in and taking just a handful of swimmers to represent each of the two schools that co-op during the season, the girls still did a solid job of competing as McPherson’s Danica Brunk took second in both the 50 freestyle and 100 Backstroke to lead the Lady Bullpups and senior Karik Elliott closed out her Lady Viking career with a 12th place finish in the 50 freestyle.

“Despite the change in format, restrictions put in place, and limited spectators, our girls had an amazing day at the State Swim Meet,” said Lady Bullpup/Lady Viking head coach Abby Bradstreet. They have fought through so many obstacles this season and did not even have a chance to swim a season last year, so the fact that we swam today at the State Swim Meet was an accomplishment in itself.”

Brunk not only finished second in the two events, she broke the McPherson school records in both as well. Marissa Pearcy earned two top-ten finishes with 10th place finishes in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, while Kierstan Trost finished 12th in the 100 butterfly and 16th in the 100 backstroke.

Both the Lady Bullpup 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams took third while breaking McPherson school records in the process. Earning a bronze for the 200 relay was Alexis Smith, Kierstan Trost, Marissa Pearcy, and Danica Brunk while Trost, Pearcy and Brunk were joined by Zoey Whorton in the 400 relay.

Speaking of the meet results, Coach Bradstreet added, “It was so much fun to be back at this meet with this particular group of girls. They all truly love the sport of swimming and two even missed their graduation (Zoey Whorton of McPherson, Karik Elliott of Smoky Valley) to be at this meet today. We were able to drop time in almost every single event that we swam while also breaking four McPherson High School records. We had high hopes of earning a gold medal today but that did not work out in our favor and that is okay. Coaches and swimmers are all so proud of everything we did today, and we left the meet not regretting anything.”

For the Smoky Valley contingent, Karik Elliott closed out her Lady Viking career with a solid 12th place finish in the 50 freestyle, a 29th place finish in the 100 freestyle and swimming the final leg on the Lady Vikings 200 freestyle relay team that finished 18th. Helping Elliott on the relay swim was Avery Van Der Wege, Adrien Lochard, and Olivia Mader. Van Der Wege also earned a 22nd place finish in the 50 freestyle as the Lady Vikings as a team finished tied for 31st.

Concluding her post-meet reflections, Bradstreet noted, “The Lady Bullpups ended up placing 9th as a team with only five swimmers. This blows my mind, and I cannot wait to see what we do in the future as well. We are a very young State team and will only lose one McPherson senior and one Smoky Valley senior so the fact that we get to head into next year with essentially the same group of girls is exciting and encouraging. I know we will be back next year and be even better, plus we will be ready to break more records and earn more medals at the 2022 State Meet.”



Team Totals = Finished Tied for 31st with 5 team points.


50 Freestyle = 12. Karik Elliott 25.81; 22. Avery Van Der Wege 26.95.

100 Freestyle = 29. Karik Elliott 59.43.

200 Freestyle Relay = 18. Lady Vikings (Avery Van Der Wege, Adrien Lochard, Olivia Mader, Karik Elliott) 1:51.64.


Team Totals = Finished 9th with 118 points. Top Six Teams were 1. Wichita Bishop Carroll (282); 2. Wichita Kapaun/Mt. Carmel (237); 3. Lenexa/St. James Academy (162); 4. Shawnee/Mill Valley (147); 5. Topeka Seamon (141); 6. Andover (135).


50 Freestyle = 2. Danica Brunk 24.00; 10. Marissa Pearcy 25.64.

100 Butterfly = 12. Kierstan Trost 1:06.18.

100 Freestyle = 10. Marissa Pearcy 55.92.

200 Freestyle Relay = 3. Lady Bullpups (Alexis Smith, Kierstan Trost, Marissa Pearcy, Danica Brunk) 1:43.09.

100 Backstroke = 2. Danica Brunk 58.77; 16. Kierstan Trost 1:06.00; 22. Alexis Smith 1:06.66; 27. Zoey Whorton 1:08.48.

400 Freestyle Relay = 3. Lady Bullpups (Zoey Whorton, Kierstan Trost, Marissa Pearcy, Danica Brunk) 3:48.70.


  • 50 Freestyle – Danica Brunk
  • 100 Backstroke – Danica Brunk
  • 200 Freestyle Relay
  • 400 Freestyle Relay