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The Juneau-Douglas High School boys swimming and diving team claimed an upset victory over two of the top teams in the state, edging the defending state champion Dimond Lynx and the host Service Cougars in a tri-meet Friday at Anchorage's Service High School.
The Crimson Bears scored 37 points to win the boys half of the meet, while Dimond took second with 33 points and Service was third with 32 points. The Juneau boys finished eighth at last year's state meet and Service was fourth.
In Friday's girls meet, the defending state champion Cougars won handily with 60 points, followed by Dimond with 24 points and Juneau with 18. Friday's meet was scored so only the top-three finishers earned team points.
In Saturday's tri-meet at Service, using the traditional scoring system that scores through six finishers in each event, the Juneau boys were edged by Service 115-107, with the Homer Mariners taking third place with 84 points. In the girls meet, Service beat runner-up Juneau 157-98 with Homer again taking third place with 65 points.
"We're real happy with the results," Juneau coach John Wray said. "We're real happy for the kids. They did great."
In Friday's meet, Juneau's boys took the early lead when Forrest Preston and Jake Kreuzenstein posted a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Paul Hughes, a freshman, won the 100 free for Juneau, Kreuzenstein and Guy Barnes went 1-2 in the 500 free, and Hughes narrowly missed a second victory in the 100 breaststroke as Dimond's Gilbert Raposa touched him out by a split-second. Juneau also picked up a pair of second-place finishes from Kirk Fishel in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.
"I thought it was because we were there with no expectations," Hughes said of the victory. "We were just there to swim. I was expecting to go faster. Coach (Wray) told me to go out really hard at the start, and I just got touched out in the 100 breast. I've been competing against this guy (Raposa) for awhile in U.S.S. (U.S. Swimming). I know most of these people."
Raposa was the only boys individual multi-event winner on Friday, as he added the 100 butterfly title to his victory in the 100 breast.
In Saturday's boys meet, Hughes won the 200 IM and the 500 free to lead the Crimson Bears. Fishel won the 100 back, Olin Robus won the 100 breast and Juneau's 200 medley relay team also won.
"If we'd had a couple of more swimmers on the trip, we'd have had a couple of B relays today and we might have picked up a few extra points," Wray said. "But that's what high school swimming's all about, you do the best with what you've got."
The victory over Dimond and Service on Friday, and the close loss to Service on Saturday and victory over Homer (sixth at state last year) came in Juneau's first two meets outside the Southeast region. Hughes said the meets will be a good confidence boost for the Crimson Bears as they prepare to host their own invitational meet this coming weekend, but the weekend's results won't mean much when Juneau heads to state.
"By the end of the season we'll be better, but they will be better, too," Hughes said. "I think we tried really hard to do well against these other teams."
In Friday's girls meet, Service's Rachelle Kula and Julia Chang won two events each to lead the Cougars to the team title.
Juneau didn't win any events Friday, but Lisse Focht took second place in the 200 free and the 500 free, Christina DiCostanzo was second in the 200 IM and Martha Kaiser was second in the 100 back.
"It was good," Focht said of her swims. "The first day was really hard. We got up early (to catch the morning plane to Anchorage) and it was a long day. It was good, though. We were scared at first, but then we got motivated and swam as best we could."
On Saturday, Service picked up double-event victories from Chang and Brette Winegarner en route to winning the team title.
Weather Potdevin was Juneau's only event winner, claiming the title in the 500 free. Liz Brooks took second place in the diving and Kaiser was second in the 100 free for the Crimson Bears.
Juneau hosts its only home meet of the season this weekend. The Juneau Invitational starts at 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Augustus G. Brown Swim Pool. After that, Juneau heads to the Region V meet Nov. 2-3 in Sitka and then returns to Anchorage for the state meet on Nov. 9-10 at Bartlett High School.