Ethan Kinney

Kearney High’s Ethan Kinney is back this year after placing seventh in the 100-yard backstroke at the state swimming meet last year.

KEARNEY – Michael Huebner recorded the highest-ever finish for a Kearney High School diver last season.

He posted an 11-dive score of 468.80 points to finish second in the Nebraska High School Swimming Championships at Lincoln. After a highly successful four-year career with the Bearcats, Huebner joined the Iowa swimming and diving team this fall as a freshman.

Although Huebner is a big loss for the Bearcats, coach Jane Bartee believes the boys diving team can have another strong season this year.

Richard Harbols finished 12th at state and is the Bearcats’ top returning diver.

“Diving will be a strong event for us, with returning state qualifier Richard Harbols, newcomer Ben Knoell and Brandon Posvar is continuing to work hard to qualify for state,” Bartee said.

Besides the divers, the boys team returns numerous swimmers who have state experience.

Ethan Kinney is back for his sophomore season. He placed seventh in the 100-yard backstroke and swam on the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays that placed eighth and 12th, respectively.

Michael Machard and Jacob Nieveen also qualified as an individuals and members of relay teams for the state meet last season.

The KHS boys team placed 11th at the Class A state meet last year.

“I am really excited to see what the rest of the team can do,” Bartee said. “With so many kids graduating, it is has left a lot of open places for the team. I’m excited to see who is going to step up and fill their shoes.”

In girls diving, Makayla Gordon and Hannah Hepner placed 19th and 20th, respectively, at state last year. Lauren Dillon was the Bearcats’ lone girls swimmer to qualify for an individual state championship race. She qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke and then was a part of the 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.

Katie Philpot, Elle Stofer, Kay Lynn Trenkle, Addie Pierzina and Gracie Pierzina all qualified for the state meet last season as members of relay teams.

“We had some dramatic time drops at the end of the year for the girls, so I’m hoping to see those times appear in season,” Bartee said. “Then who knows for state what happens. The girls don’t want to wait until conference this year to get their relays qualified. We have a lot of freshmen so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can do.”