The Juneau-Douglas High School swimming and diving team used a balance of youth and experience to claim a pair of swim meet sweeps this weekend in Fairbanks.
On Friday, it was the youngsters leading the way for the Crimson Bears as freshmen Kacey Klein, Amanda Jones and Kyle O'Brien won events to lead the Juneau girls to a 99-72 victory over North Pole and the Juneau boys to a 102-52 decision at North Pole High School.
On Saturday, seniors Natalie Hale, Lisse Focht and Robyn Grayson led a trio of 1-2 Juneau finishes late in the meet as the Crimson Bear girls pulled away from West Valley for a 94-84 victory. The Juneau boys beat the Wolfpack 107-73 in the meet at Lathrop High School.
"The girls meet was tight until the middle, then we pulled away after the diving," Juneau coach John Wray said of Saturday's meet. "Marnita (Coenraad, a junior) dove well, she broke 200. West Valley had a lot of divers. All the Lathrop divers were here (they were exhibition divers), so there were 16 divers besides our five. Patrick Hoke dove real well for us, and our other divers dove admirably."
After Coenraad won the girls diving event, Hale and Giselle Stone finished 1-2 in the 100-yard butterfly event. Focht and Jones followed an event later with a 1-2 finish in the 500 freestyle, Juneau won the 200 free relay, then, another event later, Grayson and Stone went 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke. The only other events the Juneau girls won were by senior Heather Harris in the 200 free and by Juneau's 200 medley relay B team.
While the girls meet was close, the Juneau boys didn't have much trouble winning its half of the night.
"Our boys powered away," Wray said. "The main thing today was our placings, we had to get the team points. West Valley has a huge team and we were outnumbered."
Senior Olin Robus and junior Tyler Hennon led the Crimson Bear boys on Saturday, posting two event victories apiece. Robus won the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast, while Hennon won the 200 free and 100 backstroke. Also winning events for the Crimson Bears were O'Brien in the 50 free, junior Q Smyth in the 100 free, Hoke in the diving and junior Abe Levy in the 100 butterfly. The Juneau boys won the 200 medley and 200 free relays.
In Friday's meet, junior Kelsey Potdevin won a pair of events to lead the Juneau girls, while Klein, Jones, Harris and Coenraad each won single events. Potdevin won the 50 free and 100 backstroke, while Klein won the 200 free, Jones won the 200 individual medley, Harris won the 100 free and Coenraad won the diving. The Juneau girls also won the 400 free relay.
In the boys half of the meet, Smyth won the 50 free and 100 breaststroke to lead Juneau, while O'Brien won the 200 IM, Hennon won the 500 free and Hoke won the diving event. The Crimson Bear boys swept to victories in all three relays - the 200 medley, the 200 free and the 400 free.
Wray said Friday's meet was unusual for the Crimson Bears because it was their first dual meet of the season. Most meets in Southeast feature six or seven teams, so there are multiple heats in almost every event. With only two teams Friday, there was only one heat per event and the meet took just about two hours to complete.
"Yesterday at North Pole, for a lot of kids it was their first meet that goes by fast," Wray said. "It's not a good meet for personal bests, because as soon as you finish one event you're getting ready for the next one. But it was a good meet for being concerned about the team and placings."
The Crimson Bears will be in Sitka this coming weekend for the Sitka Invitational meets on Friday and Saturday, but Wray said he may have a partial squad.
Results from the two Fairbanks meets will run later this week.