Foothill League swimmers ready for state meet after CIF-SS finals

The Foothill League was well represented at the 2019 CIF-Southern Section Swimming & Diving Finals held at the Riverside Aquatics Complex on Saturday.

Hart boys and girls team came away the biggest winners out of the five Foothill League schools that participated as the girls finished the day in fourth place with 162 points and the boys ended the day with 174 points for a fifth-place finish.

“I’m extremely proud and every year the competition seems to increase,” said Hart head coach Steve Neale. “There’s so many well coached swimmers and there’s so many fast swimmers, to place that high it’s very satisfying to me as a coach.”

Maxine Catig was one of two Foothill League swimmers to walk away with a first-place finish, winning the girls 100-yard backstroke in 54.44 seconds while Ellie Horst placed fifth in the girls 500-yard freestyle (4:58.65).

Although both had impressive finishes at CIF-SS finals, the two will not attend the state meet due to school conflicts.

Hart boys swimmer Jacob Gragas placed 10th and 11th in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke, respectively. He will head to state as the 25th overall seed in both events.

Naval Academy signee Dawson Waage finished fourth in the boys 50-yard freestyle (20.87) and heads to state as the 16th overall seed.

Jonathan Quick, an American University signee, placed seventh in the boys 100-yard butterfly (49.37) and ninth in the boys 500-yard freestyle (4:33.16), qualifying for state in both events.

The pair will team up in two relay teams at state as the 200-yard medley (Ryan Sevidal, Kyle Brill, Quick, Waage) and the 400-yard freestyle (Quick, Gragas, Sevidal, Waage) placed fourth and fifth overall at CIF-SS finals.

“This is their final chance to really put in some lifetime best swims and make an impact nationwide for national rankings,” Neale said. “They are mostly seniors led by Dawson and Jon and so I’m looking forward for them to have one of the best performances. That will be a lot of fun to go and watch them take their senior bows.”

Valencia girls team finished seventh with 132 points at CIF-SS finals and sends two individual girls swimmers along with two relay teams to state.

Sophomores Ana Izabella Adame and Julia Unas will head to state as part of the second place CIF-SS girls 200-yard medley relay team along with Jin Young Yi and Allison Cho as the sixth seed.

“Honestly, we killed it out there,” Adame said of the 200-yard medley showing. “We were so hyped before our races. We were doing dances and getting each other hyped up. Hopefully, we have that same type of energy for state.”

The two also join together in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay team (Adame, Unas, Emma Hiett, Cho) as the 18th seed at state.

Adame qualified for state in the girls 100-yard butterfly (54.86) with a fourth-place finish at finals and Unas heads off to state in the 200-yard individual medley relay (2:06.49) in eighth.

Adame placed second and Unas 12th overall in the girls 100-yard breaststroke with each earning a spot at the state meet in the event.

The Vikings boys team finished just inside the top 10 in ninth with 128.50 points.

Dylan Parente qualified for the state meet as part of two relay teams and two individual events.

The Valencia boys 200-yard medley relay (Woo Young Yi, Joshua Lee, Jacob Aina, Parente) heads to state with the 28th overall seed and as part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team (Young Yi, Shrestha, Jacob Gibbs, Parente) after a second place finish at CIF-SS finals with a time of 1:25.24

He finished fifth overall in the boys 50-yard freestyle (21.05) and 11th in the 100-yard freestyle (46.22).

Gibbs was ninth in the boys 50-yard freestyle (21.09) and Lee was 11th in the boys 100-yard breaststroke (57.67). The two head off to state in each event and will join Aina and Shrestha in the boys 400-yard freestyle relay team at the state meet after placing 17th in Riverside.

“I’m super excited for state because I’ve never been before along with the other Valencia kids and I feel like it will be a great experience for us,” Adame said.

West Ranch boys team finished two spots behind the Vikings boys team in 11th place with a score 115 points.

The boys 200-yard medley relay team (Ted Hwang, Cade Brower, Charlie Morici, Michael Andrizzi) qualified in 10th with a time of 1:34.59 along with the boys 400-yard freestyle relay team (Morici, Brower, Michael Lee, Rijker Hutson) with an 11th-place finish in 3:08.09.

Brower finished 13th in the boys 200-yard individual medley (1:53.54) and 16th in the boys 500-yard freestyle (4:35.68) for the 33rd and 35th seed at state.

Morici heads off to state in the boys 100-yard butterfly with a time of 49.96 after finishing 13th overall at finals.

Lone Wildcats girls swimmer junior Reagan Nibarger qualified for the state meet for the third time, but will attend for the first time competing in the girls 50-yard freestyle and girls 100-yard freestyle as the 30th seed and the 14th seed, respectively.

“I’m just super excited for this year, but it’s also kind of nerve racking because it is the third week of racing and I have never gone there and it’s a completely new pool,” Nibarger said. “But it will be cool.”

Boys swimmer Justin Morsch will be the only representative from Saugus after a ninth-place finish in the boys 100-yard freestyle (45.97) and a 16th-place finish in the boys 200-yard freestyle (1:40.95).

Rounding out the state qualifiers is the Foothill League’s two-time boys swimmer of the year, Canyon’s Kevin Childs took home a first-place finish in the boys 100-yard backstroke (47.88) and fifth place in the boys 100-yard butterfly (48.75).

“I was pretty thrilled,” Childs said about his first-place finish. “It was a goal I was working for the entire year. Last year, I finished my race and saw third, hoping to see first, but I’m glad I got first this year.

“It should be a fun meet. I’m looking forward to seeing some new competition and representing Canyon High very well.”

The state meet gets underway at Clovis Olympic Swim Complex at Clovis High School on Friday and Saturday. Diving finals begin at 8:30 a.m. while swimming prelims get started at 2:30 p.m.

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