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THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM

Sierra girls claim third straight VOL championship

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THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM

Sierra High head coach Dave Breitenbucher pumps a fist after Zac DeGroot got the touch to help his 400-meter freestyle relay team beat East Union by two seconds Friday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED April 25, 2009 2:53 a.m.
Sierra High head coach Dave Breitenbucher gathered the troops near rival East Union’s pool to make one last announcement.

“Something has happened for the first time in a while,” he said.

His boys team outscored the girls.

By a point.

The ladies graciously applauded. They’ll gladly “settle” for the consolation prize.
Sierra’s girls team clinched its second straight outright championship in the Valley Oak League (third straight overall after sharing with Sonora in 2007) after cruising past a solid East Union contingent, 106-64.

The Timberwolves’ boys won 105-51 to wrap up the regular season with a 5-2 record, a more-than-respectable mark considering they have just 10 on the team.

“It never gets old,” Breitenbucher said of his girls three-peating. “Never.”

The dual meet ended with nearly every spectator standing poolside howling in excitement, as Sierra’s Zac DeGroot anchored the winning 400-meter freestyle relay team’s victory in 4 minutes, 15.34 seconds. The back-and-forth race finished with East Union’s quartet trailing by a mere 2.02 seconds.

The Timberwolves had winners in all 11 events, including the three relays. The individual standouts were: Zach Holmstrom (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke), Josh Revives (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke), Serge Veretinnokov (50 free, 100 free) Cody Gleason (200 free) and John Osborn (500 free).

Jeff Clare (200 IM, 100 fly) and Matt French (50 free, 100 free) were East Union’s high-point earners with second-place finishes. The Lancers ended the season at 3-4.

East Union coach Chris Johnson had hoped for a better showing from his girls team, which has developed enough depth to compete at a high level all season and finish 4-3.

Natalie Heihn (100 free, 200 free) and Alicia Alfter (100 fly, 100 back) are undefeated in their specialty events going into the VOL Championships.

Johnson said that a stronger effort in the relays would have made the score closer. Sierra’s 200 free relay (1:49.78) team narrowly outtouched the Lancers’ by 0.59.

“We thought we could compete with Sierra, but we didn’t do too well in the relays,” Johnson said. “We got outtouched a lot, and we didn’t win a single relay event for the first time this season. But I give Sierra a lot of credit, they swam very well today.”

Kara Hall was Sierra’s lone individual multi-event winner with victories in the 200 IM and 100 breast. Christina Ngo (50 free) and Chelsea Fitzgerald (500 free) also contributed first-place points.

“The first year we won (the first of the three titles) we had to do it in Sonora,” Breitenbucher said. “I would have rather us do it at home, but getting it here at East Union is great. Anytime you can clinch a championship against a tough team, it makes it that much more rewarding because you had to earn it.

“Everybody did an outstanding job today.”

The VOL Championships will be at Sierra High on May 2.

Central Valley 64, Weston Ranch 46 (B)
Central Valley 82, Weston Ranch 56 (G)
At Ceres High, brothers Richard and Max Martinez highlighted the Cougars’ final regular-season meet of the season. Richard, a senior, won the 50 free and 100 fly, while his sophomore sibling claimed the 200 free. They also joined Luis Rodriguez and Mark Adonis to win the 200 medley and freestyle relays.

The girls were paced by freshman Tabitha Halford and Vanessa Lemus, who won the 50 free and 100 back, respectively. Vivian Tran, Nicole Bowen, Emily Medeiros and Halford won the 400 free relay.
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