The boys are going for their fourth straight BVAL victory while the girls are taking aim on a three-peat. The Patriots field several talented athletes who are expected to excel not only against league foes, but in the North Coast Section meet as well.
Heritage faced some of the top competition from around the state at a recent meet in Mission Viejo, near Irvine. The girls placed fifth overall and the boys ninth.
Haley Rose Love earned first place in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races, setting school records in both events. Erica Knudsen, another talented swimmer, placed seventh in the 50-yard freestyle. Madison Applegate, who will attend UCLA next year, finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 100-yard butterfly.
The girls 400-yard freestyle relay team of Love, Applegate, Knudsen and Emilee Troy claimed first at the Mission Viejo meet.
Sophomore Walker Thaning set a school record in the 100-yard backstroke, completing it in 54.65 seconds. Head coach Craig Carson said Brandon James, as well as Carter Haines, Jake Mattheiessen and Spencer Wichmann, are expected to excel this season.
“We’re looking stronger than last year by quite a bit,” Carson said. “Hopefully we’re going to do well at North Coast. We’re headed in that direction.”
The Wolverines also look strong so far this season. Head coach Kiel Olff said he was impressed with his team’s performance at last month’s Mt. SAC Invitational in Southern California, where both the girls and boys placed 11th among 17 teams from around the state.
Some of the more notable performances included the girls 200-yard freestyle relay team, which placed fifth, junior Corey Maier’s fourth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, freshman Stanley Wu’s eighth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and the boys 200-yard medley relay team, which finished eighth. The Talens twins – Vicky and Tricia – also turned in several strong finishes.
So far, Deer Valley has defeated Clayton Valley, College Park, Antioch and Pittsburg.
Olff will count on some of the aforementioned athletes for NCS success, as well as Andrew Wayne, Solomon Abuda and Matthew Satyadi, who will attend UCLA next year. Diver Isabella Navarro has a great chance to make her fourth straight trip to the section meet this season.
The Lions appear to be in good shape to send several swimmers to NCS this season. Senior JT Sarmento, who has accepted a water polo scholarship to Pacific, will be a force in many events, namely the 200-yard or 500-yard individual medley. Logan Trudell, who competes in the freestyle events and the 100-yard backstroke, has also been a solid contributor. Twins Jeremy and Jacob Fio have been forces in the shorter freestyler races.
Head coach Cindi Coats said the team seems more united this year than in seasons past.
The Lions also field some talented girls with a shot at NCS, such as Rosie Doria, who competes in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. Morgan Stremsel has shown promise in the butterfly. Diver Traleena Martinez, a senior, should do well this year. The Liberty girls swim team is young: the roster features only two seniors, three juniors – and 27 freshmen.
First-year head coach John Edwards is hoping to build a program that can compete with Heritage and Deer Valley. So far, the Falcons are off to a good start. Freedom defeated Antioch in its first league meet, and boasts several promising athletes who could go on to NCS.
“I’m very impressed,” Edwards said. “We have a very versatile team. There’s a lot of hard workers and we’ve had some impressive swims.”
Sophomore Emily To’o has been strong in several events and junior Emily Harris has done well in the 200-yard freestyle. Both are part of a talented relay team that includes senior Emily Pels and junior Sierra McIntyre.
Edwards noted that seniors Zach Irwin and Stephen Rodriguez would be key performers for the boys team. The Falcons appear set for the future as well, due to talented sophomores Chris Warren, Christian Henry, Cameron Ott-Bales and Dustin Strain.
According to coach Krista Plumlee, two of Freedom’s promising divers – Genevieve Pascale and Sabrina Castor – have improved by leaps and bounds.
The Panthers’ swimming roster has more than doubled in size over last year’s, from 17 to 38. Head coach Tiffany Ramirez, also a teacher at the school, has been encouraging swimmers to come out for the team and tell friends. The word-of-mouth approach could lead to more success.
Antioch’s boys team is led by junior freestyle swimmer Nate Huizar. Other talented male athletes include sophomore Juan Medina (butterfly, freestyle), junior Dillan Roby (freestyle, breaststroke), sophomore Eric Nooteboome (freestyle) and senior Tanner Fuhrman (breaststroke, backstroke).
Amanda Loomis, a senior, has been named the girls’ team captain. Ramirez identified several girls who show potential for success, including senior Christine Quecan (backstroke, freestyle), junior Shannon McMillan (breaststroke, backstroke) and junior Rachel Harrison (butterfly, freestyle).
Head coach Suzy Farmer believes that what the Pirates lack in experience they make up for in enthusiasm.
Pittsburg’s roster includes several first-year swimmers, and Farmer appreciates their eagerness to learn and improve. The coach has been impressed by sophomore Sam Whipple, junior Marissa Mota (freestyle, breaststroke), junior siblings Cameron and Caitlyn Mosely (freestyle, breaststroke) and senior Don Lopez, who started swimming this season but has improved noticeably.
Sophomore Rashon Rogers as well as seniors Lucia Arias and Nicollette Velasco have also made progress. “There’s been a lot of good swims,” Farmer said. “and lots of learning of techniques. They have a good attitude, though.”