Juneau's girls are golden

JDHS girls claim first state title since 1983; Kyle O'Brien wins two individual state championships

Posted: Sunday, November 06, 2005

Al Grillo / The Associated Press

  Queen of the pool: Juneau-Douglas' Melissa Bogert swims in the girls 100-yard butterfly race on Saturday during the State Swimming and Diving Championships in Anchorage. Bogert finished third in the race as the Crimson Bears' captured their first title since 1983.

The Juneau-Douglas High School girls' swimming and diving team captured its first swimming and diving state championship since 1983 on Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.

The Crimson Bears won with 101.5 points. South finished second (70), while Service and East tied for third (69) at the State Swimming and Diving Championships.

JDHS sophomore Kristen Jones claimed the Crimson Bears' lone individual title. Jones won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 13.61 seconds, nipping West Valley's Stephanie Hampton at the wall. Juneau teammate Amanda Jones took fifth in the race.

Despite the one first-place finish, Juneau-Douglas used its depth to rack up points in a number of different events. The Crimson Bears finished in the top-six in 11 of the 12 events on Saturday.

For the boys, Sitka won the its first swimming and diving championships. The Wolves finished with 85 points, while East took second with 55. Juneau-Douglas tied Lathrop for third with 52 points.

Crimson Bears junior Kyle O'Brien earned the male outstanding competitor award as he won two events on Saturday. O'Brien captured the 200 freestyle in 1:42.83 and won the 100 freestyle in 47.72 seconds.

Sitka's state title was the second in school history. Its baseball team won state last spring.

Sitka won thanks to its only first-place finishes - the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.

Tolga Tolkman, the Wolves' only senior, was leadoff in the 400 freestyle relay. He jump started teammates Ben Campen, Gavin McGown and Ben Adams, and they finished for a season-best 3:21.36.

In the 200 medley relay, McGown, Campen, Alex Dailey and Adams posted another season-best (1:41.26).

"They've been swimming together since they were young," Sitka head coach Robby Jarvill said. "The timing was right and everything came together perfectly."

Especially for Tolkman, who grew up in Turkey and moved to Oregon two years ago.

Everything was different, he said. Then he moved to Sitka for his senior year.

"It's a small town where you have to find things to do," he said. "I found swimming."

Al Grillo / The Associated Press

  Freestyle champ: Juneau-Douglas' Kyle O'Brien celebrates his first-place finish in the boys 100-yard freestyle race Saturday during the State Swimming and Diving Championship at Bartlett High School in Anchorage. O'Brien captured first in 47.72 seconds. He also won the 200 freestyle in 1:42.83.

Other swimmers who pulled off impressive victories were East's Meghan Cavanaugh, Service's Genny Konicke and Lathrop's Caleb Severns.

Cavanaugh won the 100 butterfly (56.49) and 200 freestyle (1:52.17), while Konicke won the 50 freestyle (23.94).

Konicke became just the third swimmer in state-meet history to break the 24-minute barrier.

"I'm really happy about my finish," Konicke said. "It's pure sprinting at its best."

As for Sitka's boys, it was the best love-for-swimming performance it had ever seen. Especially for a school needing a lift after its football team forfeited its season earlier this fall.

"We had 18 (boys) swimmers this season," Jarvill said. "And eight made it to state. This is huge for our school and swimming community.

"It just shows that hard work really does pay off."

• Editor's note: Look in Monday's edition for more from the State Swimming and Diving Championships

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