Juneau-Douglas girls pick up where they left off in Sitka

Defending state champs win twice while diver Teal leads the boys team with two firsts

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Juneau-Douglas High School girls swimming and diving team rolled to a pair of season-opening victories in Sitka over the weekend.

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The defending state champs topped Ketchikan, Sitka and Petersburg on Friday and Saturday, while the boys team, which sent just four athletes, finished fourth out of five teams each day.

"I think our team spirit did well," JDHS swim coach John Wray said. "The kids were very enthused and supported their teammates. I think all our teammates learned about how the meets are going to be run. We had some encouraging swims by a number of people."

The girls team brought a number of new faces with them, but the strong group of juniors made their mark in the relays.

Juniors Melissa Bogert, Sara Bogert, Kristin Jones and Lia Heifetz won the 200-yard medley on Friday in 1 minutes, 55.16 seconds. On Saturday, senior Julia DiCostanzo joined the Bogerts and Jones on the 400 freestyle relay team. They won in 3:48.33, nearly 30 seconds better than their closest opponent.

Juneau freshman Lindsay Clark took third in the 100 freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke on Friday. On Saturday, Clark placed third in the 500 freestyle with a personal record time of 5:47.19. She also placed second in the 200 freestyle.

Clark also combined with Jenna Rutecki, Shelby Oelklaus and Melissa Bogert to win the 200 freestyle relay on Saturday.

"I asked her after her swims to give me a one-word description of her swims yesterday (Friday) and she said, 'Negative,'" Wray said. "Today her word was energized."

While a number of up-and-coming athletes posted solid times, the core of last year's state championship squad controlled the event.

Jones won Saturday's 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, along with Friday's 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.

DiCostanzo, Sara Bogert, Melissa Bogert and Sarah Felix all won individual races over the weekend. Sophomore diver Alex Brown won her event on Saturday with a score of 156.35, nipping teammate Allison Sharp for first.

Katie Boyce, Rutecki, Allison Sharp, Kate Lukshin, Koko Urata, Linzie Norman, Katie Busch, Oelklaus, Heifetz and Alex Reishus all earned individual points over the weekend for the Crimson Bears.

For the boys, diver Nathan Teal led the way.

Teal won the diving competition in both meets to give the Crimson Bears their lone first-place finishes.

Freshman Nick Rutecki and Alex Barto both competed in the first high school meets, picking up a handful of points each in the process.

The defending state champion Wolves won each team meet.

"I just wanted them to go and race," Wray said of his freshmen. "I wanted them to understand that in the blocks they're barely 14 and the others are 17 and 18. They stuck their noses in there and raced."

On Friday, Rutecki placed third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle. He took fourth and sixth in those two events on Saturday.

Barto placed second in the 100 backstroke on Saturday and also posted third place finish in Friday's 500 freestyle. He also took fifth in the 50 freestyle on Friday.

Junior Josh Clark placed eighth in Saturday's 100 freestyle.

Juneau-Douglas next takes to the pool on Sept. 8-9 at Petersburg.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.

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