Cape Central boys swimmer Brogan Davis accepts his 2016 state championship ring from Central principal Chris Kase at halftime of Central's football game on Friday at Cape Central High School. (Andrew J. Whitaker)
Cape Central High School honored its first-ever MSHSAA boys swimming and diving state championship team at halftime of Friday's football season opener.
Tigers coach Dayna Powell and the eight swimmers that competed in the 2016 state championship received their rings in an on-field ceremony. Those eight swimmers were Brogan Davis, Reagan Ragsdale, Sam Hahs, Jacob Bening, Truman Vines, Miles Frazier, Hyrum Dickson, Daniel Seabaugh.
Davis, Ragsdale and Hahs were all team captains.
"Every sport works hard in their own way, but they definitely felt some pain through last year and I just hope that when they get the ring, they can just have a fond memory of that moment," Powell said before receiving the rings. "I mean we won by 17 points, so it was close to the end, and hopefully they’ll have a lot of good memories about how that felt."
Powell started the program 29 years ago, according to the coach. They are looking to add to the hardware this season.
Central has lost Ragsdale to graduation. He won state titles in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and was part of two gold medal relay teams. But the other seven swimmers that competed at state return. That includes Davis, who has won five state gold medals and was the meet MVP in 2016. Hahs finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke, and Bening was third in the 100 freestyle.
Over the offseason, boys swimming and diving was split into two classifications for the first time. Central was placed in the smaller classification, Class 1. The fourth-placed team last year, Kearney, is also in Class 1.
So the Tigers will have competition as they open the season Tuesday looking for that back-to-back state title. The Tigers open the 2017 season by hosting the Mega Meet on Tuesday.
"(Athletic director) Mr. (Lance) Tollison, I really appreciate his efforts in doing that because honestly Reagan said, ‘Are we going to get rings,’ and I said, ‘Nah, Reagan, we don’t get rings. I think that’s for football or something,’" Powell said. "And then that same day, Mr. Tollison said, ‘Well, I’ve called Jostens,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said ‘To get your rings.’ I was like, ‘We get rings?'
"So we’ve anticipated it, and now I’m kind of glad we’ve waited to get them now because this is really going to be a motivator keeping our season off on Tuesday, getting our rings on Friday. It’s like, hey, we’re going to want another one of these, if at all possible."