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Juneau-Douglas girls, Dimond boys win state swim championships

Crimson Bears Kelly, Isaak, and the girls 200 free relay take titles

Posted: November 10, 2013 - 1:13am
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Juneau-Douglas High School's Ciera Kelly and Dakota Isaak embrace after the state championships on Saturday at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center.  KLAS STOLPE | JUNEAU EMPIRE
KLAS STOLPE | JUNEAU EMPIRE
Juneau-Douglas High School's Ciera Kelly and Dakota Isaak embrace after the state championships on Saturday at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center.

Three points.

That was the margin of victory in both the girls and boys team title clashes at the 2013 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State High School Swimming & Diving Championships at the Dimond Park Aquatic Park on Saturday.

“We are all speechless,” Juneau-Douglas’ Ciera Kelly said. “This is just a wonderful feeling. We have wanted this title. It was a goal this season.”

Heading into the 400 free relays the Crimson Bears girls led the Lynx by seven points, 80-73. If Dimond won the final swim JDHS would have to finish second to hold the title. If Dimond placed second JDHS would have to finish fourth or better.

Those scenarios appeared in play as the Lynx’ led the field early only to have Palmer and Kodiak surge ahead in the final leg and a half.

The Moose team of Naomi Graham, Sarah Hanson, Noelle Graham and Katie Stark won in 3:38.81 with the Bears’ Tahna Lindquist, Elinore Millstein, Brittany Horne and Ila Hughes finishing second in 3:39.50.

Dimond (Jenny Wilcox, Arianna Rohde, Madeleine Oakley and Kari Wray) were third in 3:41.19 for 12 team points.

JDHS (Gabi Kito, Sophia Kaelke, Rielly Walsh and Haley Mertz) were fifth in 3:43.62, scoring eight points. The points favored the Crimson Bears for the championship, their first team title since 2007.

The Crimson Bears girls were led by three event wins.

The JDHS 200 free relay team of Ciera Kelly, Mia Ruffin, Rielly Walsh and Dakota Isaak won in 1:39.02, just nipped Kodiak’s 1:39.20 and Palmer’s 1:39.32. Palmer’s surprising surge past Dimond hurt the Lynx’ scoring drive.

Ciera Kelly won the 100 back in 57.86 with a touch ahead of Chugiak’s Sammy Burke in 57.89 and Dimond’s Arianna Rohde in 58.56.

Dakota Isaak swam away from the 100-breaststroke field, winning in 1:05.27 in a field that held three Crimson Bears and three Lynx and tallied 20 points for JDHS while Dimond scored 14.

“I can’t believe it,” Isaak said of her win. “I am still in shock. This is just an amazing team and an amazing year.”

The meets first relays saw the Dimond girls (Rohde, Wray, Wilcox and Alyssa Hampton) win the 200 medley in 1:48.04 over JDHS (Mertz, Isaak, Kelly and Ruffin) with 1:49.79.

Kodiak’s Ila Hughes followed by winning the first of her two state titles, notching the 200 free in 1:51.57. Hughes would also defend her title in the 100 free with a 51.32.

“I feel good, I think,” Hughes said. “Pretty tired right now.”

Teammate Tahna Lindquist broke her own state record in the 200 individual medley with a 2:05.09 and defended her state championship in the 500 free with 4:57.29.

“It was really important,” Lindquist said. “Ila (Hughes) and I both needed to win our races in order for our team to be in contention. It wasn’t the goal time I wanted but I can’t complain. These races never feel like they are real until the finish and then it just hits you, this is state. So right now we are just having fun in the moment.”

Lindquist was also selected as the girls Outstanding State Swimmer for the second year in a row.

“It feels good to know that other coaches notice our accomplishments,” Lindquist said.

North Pole’s Martha Hood captured the 50 free in 24.16, edging Soldotna’s Alex Weeks (24.19) and Palmers Katie Stark (24.66).

Bartlett High School’s Alex Soto won the girls diving championship with 353.55 points, a 10 and 11 point cushion over Eagle River’s Jami Stone and South’s Sierra Panting, respectively.

“I just feel so blessed,” Soto said. “I am so excited it happened. Diving is a huge mental game. You can see we get pretty stressed out. The key is just to have confidence in your dives. We divers are all so close so it is competing against your friends. On any different day any diver could be the best.”

Soto scored her first perfect eight with a back dive in the competition.

“That was my goal the whole year,” Soto said. “This is just an amazing feeling.”

Dimond’s Jenny Wilcox defended her state 100 fly title, winning in 56.99, and tipping North Poles’ Martha Hood (57.82) and JDHS’ Kelly (58.24). Thunder Mountain’s Hannah Brockmann placed fifth (1:00.13), Dimond’s Hampton seventh (1:02.58) and JDHS’ Kito eighth (1:02.86).

“That was pretty big for me, I was really nervous before the race,” Wilcox said. “I was just glad I could defend my title. And I knew if I finished first our team would get farther ahead so I was just glad I could do this for our team. It was pretty special.”

The Dimond boys led Sitka by seven points, 68-61, Thunder Mountain by nine and Service by 18 with the 400 relay looming to end the state meet.

The Cougars (EZ Hogue-Corwin, Jackson Berlin, Thomas Krasnican and Nathanial Adams) surprised the field to edge Sitka (RJ Miller, Will Pate, Spencer Combs, Louis Belley) 3:13.44 to 3:13.53, earning Service 18 points and Sitka 14.

Petersburg (Vincent Kowalski, Skipper Erickson, Evan Marsh and Abel Aulbach) finished third in 3:14.99 and Dimond (Michael Summers, Jacob Hanni, Nathan Alfano and Jarod O’Brien) fourth in 3:15.06, just enough to win the title.

Sitka (Louis Belley, Justin Harang, RJ Miller and Spencer Combs) started the boy’s day off by defending their state title with a 200 medley relay win in 1:38.25 with TMHS finishing second.

Dimond’s Michael Summers won the 200 free in 1:42.97 and set a state record in the 500 free with 4:35.30, eclipsing a mark set by Service’s Ben Smith in 1990 (4:37.85).

Summers was also voted the Outstanding Male Swimmer at the state meet.

“It feels great knowing that other people appreciate what you do,” Summers said. “But helping the team win the title means so much more to me right now. This was just one of our best meets.”

Sitka’s Belley defended his 200 IM state title with a 1:55.28 win with TMHS’ Kenny Fox finishing second with 1:56.54. Belley also defended his state 100 back title with a 52.08.

“It was a pretty strong field,” Belley said. “We did everything we could to get the team title. This is one of the strongest years I remember.”

Service’s Nathanial Adams pulled a huge upset by winning the 50 free over defending state champ Abel Aulbach of Petersburg. Adams touched the wall in 21.80 and teammate EZ Hogue-Corwin was second with a 21.86. Aulbach finished third in 22.07.

“I think this was an upset,” Adams said. “He was the state champ and I was pretty nervous about going up against him since I don’t usually do the 50. I just knew exactly what I had to do for my stroke, my start and my turns. I just prayed that it was enough. I am just ecstatic that my teammate and I got one, two.”

Added Hogue-Corwin, “I feel great, getting one, two is such a pleasure. It was a great chance for us.”

Homer’s Kaec Brinster won his school’s first ever dive title with 389.85 points with Kenai’s Cole Gross in second and Dimond’s Austin Desatoff finishing third to score six valuable team points for the Lynx’ title chase. Brinster’s last three dives of a forward one somersault with two twists, reverse one-and-a-half in tuck position, and a forward two-and-a-half tuck, nailed his win.

“It feels good,” Brinster said. “I feel happy. It is a school record. In diving concentration is the key. I have been diving for four years so this is not to bad.”

Thunder Mountain’s Kenny Fox defended his state 100 fly championship, winning in a time of 51.00 with West Valley’s Luis Marquez (52.80) and Eagle River’s Blaise Fox-Icarro (53.30) finishing ahead of Dimond’s Nathan Alfano (53.76).

“I feel alright,” Fox said. “I was sort of hoping for a faster time but that is how it goes. This means everything though, my whole family is here, more friends than normal are here, everyone gets to see it.”

Fox swam the first half of the race in a sprint.

“The first 50 was just going out as fast as I could,” Fox said. “The second 50 was just hanging on, trying to keep as much momentum and speed as I could. At the finish I was just holding on.”

The Falcons had just four boys swimming in finals.

“We loaded up strong early,” TMHS coach Jason Wilson said. “I knew that last relay was going to be tough for our boys.”

The Falcons finished second in the 200 medley and 200 free relays and last in the 400 relay.

“It was amazing placing for us,” TMHS’ Calvin Walsh said of the 200, an event the Falcons were seeded as seventh. “We really needed it and pulled through. We talked about it and there was a lot of excitement to get it. Determination always wins.”

Petersburg’s Abel Aulbach defended his state title in the 100 free, winning with a 47.08, after losing his title defense in the 50 free earlier in the day.

“It was a really close one,” Aulbach said of his win. “Pretty much trying my hardest. It could have been anybody’s race. My first 50 was key, it was one of my fastest splits. I just tried to get that out of the way and sprint the rest of it. This year is unreal. Last year to this year the competition has gone so much more intense, it is really cool.”

West Valley’s Tommy O’Donoghue won the boys 100 yard breaststroke with 59.68, edging Dimond’s Jarod O’Brien (1:00.55), Kodiak’s Blake James (1:01.09) and Thunder Mountain’s Thane Reishus-O’Brien (1:01.22).

“I was about half a second slower from my regional time so I feel pretty good about winning,” O’Donoghue said. “It has been the first state champion in, like, four or five years. We are all stoked. I feel great.”

The Palmer girls and West Valley boys won the Sportsmanship trophies and the West Anchorage girls and Eagle River boys won the All-Academic Trophies.

Final team standings:

Girls – 1 JDHS 88 points; 2 Dimond 85; 3 Kodiak 64; 4 Eagle River 57; 5 Palmer 51; 6 Chugiak 45; 7 South 25; 8 Ketchikan 21; 8 West 21; 10 Seward 18; 10 Soldotna 18; 10 North Pole 18; 13 West Valley 13; 14 Bartlett 9; 15 Thunder Mountain 7; 15 Sitka 7; 17 Colony 4; 18 Homer 3; 19 Valdez 1.

Boys – 1 Dimond 78; 2 Sitka 75; 3 Service 68; 4 Thunder Mountain 61; 5 Petersburg 56; 6 West Valley 50; 7 Kodiak 45; 8 South 36; 9 Eagle River 23; 10 Homer 15; 10 Colony 15; 12 Ketchikan 8; 13 Kenai 7; 14 Chugiak 5; 14 Lathrop 5; 16 Palmer 4; 17 Soldotna 3.

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