Juneau-Douglas boys romp to Region V title, girls take second

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010

It was business as usual in the pool for the Crimson Bears swim team over the weekend in Petersburg.

The Juneau-Douglas boys' team placed first for the fourth consecutive year at the Region V swim meet with 98 points, 18 more than second-place Petersburg. But the Juneau-Douglas girls' team fell to rival Ketchikan by an 18-point margin, a team that has given JDHS trouble over the course of the season. Still, coach Kathrin Millhorn said both teams looked great in the water.

"Our boys' team is very well-rounded. We have a number of boys who are able to stay the course and perform well in their events," she said. "They looked good and strong in the water. I think the ones who go to state are only going to swim faster next weekend."

Millhorn said the 400-yard freestyle relay pushed the boys' team to the top in the evening's final event as it edged out Petersburg by less than a second with a time of 3:19.75. She also said the girls' team - which racked up 103 total points - swam well despite coming in second place.

"It was just the way the placement ended up coming in from the prelims to the finals," she said. "It just kind of went back and forth, and it ended up being close.

"But the girls did really well and I was pleased with some of their events."

One of the notable performances was from freshman Haley Mertz, who broke the Juneau-Douglas freshman school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.50. The previous school record for a freshman in the event was a time of 1:03.79, set in 2004 by Kristin Jones.

"She got really fast this weekend and fixed a lot of the little flaws she had coming into the meet," Millhorn said. "I think if she goes to state she's going to use that experience of getting over the nervousness here, and then I'm hoping she can carry it a little bit further.

"She just looked so smooth and fluid in the water today."

The Crimson Bears dive team also turned in a first- and second-place finish over the weekend. Samantha Sharp earned an automatic state bid with a score of 278.85 in the finals, finishing more than 20 points ahead of Kassandra Navales from Ketchikan (258.45). Peter Bellagh's 262.10 was good enough for second behind Petersburg's Asa Aulbach, who scored 339.25 points in the finals.

"Peter had trouble with two dives, so that did not fare well in the preliminaries," Bears dive coach Hans Marx said. "He dove strong today, so that brought him up from sixth or seventh place. (Aulbach) just had a really strong performance the whole time, so Peter did well."

Marx also said Sharp is in top form heading into the state meet.

"She did very well on a few of her harder dives, so that really helped secure her finish," he said.

The Thunder Mountain girls finished fifth with 16 points. The boys finished sixth with 15 points. Coach Jason Wilson could not be reached for comment.

The state qualifiers list was not available by press time.

Check Monday's sports section for more information and the names of state qualifiers.

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