Liberty coach Marc Urmston knew he had talented senior Audrey Willoughby to build his girls swimming team around this season.
But it was a group of new faces that pushed the Patriots beyond other Kern County programs.
"We had seven freshman girls come in, which was a surprise," Urmston said. "There are some great coaches out there, and when you've been around long enough, you know who has what.
"But I don't think anybody expected these freshmen to come in and help like this."
Urmston led the Patriots to a sixth-place finish in the Central Section Division I Championships, behind four Clovis-area schools and Sanger. Urmstron is the BVarsity Girls Swimming Coach of the Year.
Willoughby set individual school records in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle and in the 100 butterfly. She was also on the two freestyle relay teams that set Liberty school records this season.
Urmston said the goal was to surpass Centennial, the dominant girls program in the county in recent years.
Traveling to and winning dual meets at Visalia-Redwood, Porterville-Monache and Clovis North, plus success at the Dick Graves and Tulare Western Invitationals set the tone.
"This year I had the girls," Urmston said. "Being Coach of the Year is humbling. But the girls did all the work."
-- Jeff Evans