Hughey, Cahill Open Missouri Invite with a Bang
COLUMBIA, Mo.-Seniors Stevie Hughey and Jenn Cahill led Boise State women's swimming and diving on the first day of competition at the Missouri Invitational Thursday, in Columbia, Mo. The Broncos sit in third with 220 points, behind host Missouri (334) and Mountain West foe UNLV (239).

Hughey advanced to a pair of A Finals in individual events and guided both Bronco relay teams. She finished fifth in the 100-yard butterfly and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle. Hughey shaved more than two-and-a-half seconds off her season-best time in the butterfly during prelims, missing an NCAA provisional qualifying standard (B cut) by just one-tenth of a second. After sneaking into the championship final of the 50 freestyle with a 23.34, Hughey was even faster at night with a 23.25. The Bakersfield, Calif., native edged out a pair of UNLV swimmers in the final, including Rachel Dixon who finished in front of Hughey at last season's MW Championships.

Cahill made a statement in the first event of the day, earning the top time in prelims in the 500-yard freestyle with a 4:50.41, the third-fastest time in Boise State history. In finals she settled for a third-place finish in 4:52.46, No. 5 on the all-time list. Cahill also swam the 50 freestyle, clocking a career-best 24.55 in prelims and advancing to a bonus final.

Joining Cahill in the championship final of the 500 freestyle were Emri Moore (4:53.48 prelims) and Rachel Heaney (4:53.59 prelims) whose times are also among the top 10 in school history. Moore finished fifth and Heaney took seventh in the finals.

Blake and Brooke Balogh and Taylor Padington added to the impressive depth of the Broncos' effort in the distance event. The Balogh sisters qualified for the consolation final, Brooke's 4:57.92 in prelims was within a second of her career best while Blake improved on her prelim time with a lifetime-best 4:56.80 to take third in the B Final. Padington swam in the C Final, but her 4:56.16 at night makes her the sixth-fastest Bronco in the event.

Boise State's 200-yard freestyle relay clocked the most noteworthy time of the day. Jessica Bottelberghe, Sam Wicks, Devin Madsen and Hughey teamed up for a third-place finish in 1:32.56, fast enough for an NCAA 'B' cut. It is the first cut of the season for the Broncos and good for the seventh-fastest time in school history.

Wicks repeated her strong 50 freestyle effort in the finals of the individual event, where she clocked a lifetime-best 23.29. She finished second in the B Final and is now the fourth-fastest Bronco in the event. The freshman also set lifetime bests in the prelims of the 100 butterfly with a 56.35 and in the finals of the 200-yard individual medley, posting a 2:04.51.

Sydney Johansen had Boise State's fastest time of the day in the 200-yard individual medley, a 2:02.49 to win the B Final. The time is the seventh-fastest in school history, edging out Bottelberghe's 2:02.93 from prelims. Johansen swam a 2:03.65 in the same event at last season's Missouri Invitational before going on to win the conference championship in the 200 individual medley.

On the diving board, the women competed three-meter Thursday, where two Broncos advanced to the finals. Ciera Cortney finished fifth and Erin Kohlbeck took sixth. Cortney's prelim score of 270.20 is the fifth-best mark at a championship-style meet. She went on to score 266.30 in the final, No. 7 on the same list. Kohlbeck set a career best in prelims with a 265.30, eighth-best at a championship-style meet. Lexi Pfeiffer just missed finals, finishing ninth in prelims with a career-best 254.75.

At the end of the day, Boise State set 11 top-10 times and 13 lifetime bests. The Broncos will look to add to that total as the Missouri Invitational continues Friday, with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. (CT) from the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

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