ANCHORAGE - The Juneau-Douglas High School girls' swimming and diving team crushed its competition to win its third consecutive state title on Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.
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The Crimson Bears tallied up 131 points at the 2007 Alaska School Activities Association State Swimming and Diving Championships. The girls scored 67 points more than their closest opponent, second-place Dimond.
Led by seniors Kristin Jones and Sara Bogert, the JDHS girls accounted for six first-place finishes. Jones and Bogert won two individual events apiece.
Jones won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 11.78 seconds and the 500 freestyle in 5:09.93.
Bogert won the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.08 as well as the 100 freestyle in 52.85. Bogert shaved more than a second off Friday's preliminary time of 53.98.
The team opened the championships with a vengeance by winning the first event, the 200 medley relay.
The JDHS girls broke the state record by nearly a second with a winning time of 1:47.86. The quartet shattered the previous record of 1:48.93, set by last year's Crimson Bears' squad.
"We did awesome," Jones said. "That was a great way to start off the meet."
Many of the JDHS girls raved about Lia Heifetz for her close second place finish in the 100 breaststroke. Heifetz posted a time of 1:07.74, just .42 seconds behind first-place Laura Griffing of Kodiak.
Juneau-Douglas' girls culminated three seasons of excellence by winning the 400 freestyle relay to end the meet.
"It feels really good because we did better than we thought we would," senior Amber Kelly said. "Our coach believed in us and this is the last year we're all going to swim together."
Saturday marked the final swim for the team's remarkable senior class of the Bogert twins, Kelly, Jenna Rutecki, Jones, Heifetz, Sarah Felix, Koko Urata and Mackenzie Allison.
"It's big. It's really sad," Kelly said of the senior's final swim. "All of us have been swimming together for a really long time."
Junior diver Allison Sharp added to the girls' success with a fifth-place finish. Sharp scored 331.95 points in the competition.
"For the girls ... I'm very happy," a proud JDHS coach John Wray said. "I'm very happy. A third-straight championship is indicative of the talent level and the depth we have. Across the board, the team did very well."
JDHS became just the third program in Alaska girls' swimming and diving history to win three or more straight state titles. Dimond was the last to win three in a row, capturing the championships in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Ketchikan won four straight girls titles in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.
The boys team also enjoyed a strong performance by finishing third overall.
East ran away with the boys title with 103 points while Dimond took second place with 70. JDHS tied with Kodiak for third place, followed by Sitka in fifth with 45 points.
Sophomore Cody Brunette won his first state championship by capturing the 100 backstroke in 54.22. He said the individual title was completely unexpected, although the team's goal was to win the overall title.
The JDHS boys didn't quite reach their goal, but there's reason to believe that they're a team that should be considered a contender next season. JDHS is likely to return sophomores Brunette, Seth Cayce, Nick Rutecki and Alex Barto, along with freshmen Josh Anderson and Tyler Mickelson. Junior diver Nathan Teal, a three-year veteran of the team, should also come back a year stronger.
Brunette spoke humbly as he praised the girls that have led him the last two years.
"They're great," Brunette said of the girls. "The Bogert sisters swim so hard at practice .... even back in eighth grade, when we watched them win state the first time, we all said, 'We have to pick it up.' "
Brunette also had a strong performance in the 100 butterfly. He finished second to Service's Wyatt Adams by just .12 seconds. Brunette posted a time of 51.70.
The JDHS boys' 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams each took third overall at Anchorage.
Contact the Empire sports department at 523-2228 or email@example.com.
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