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Young Ripon sinks Sierra for share of first VOL girls title
Ripon High standout Erika Brown gets ready to hit the wall first in the 200 individual medley at Sierra Friday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Ripon High’s girls swim team emphatically claimed a share of its Valley Oak League title in Friday’s regular-season finale at Sierra, winning 102-68.

And it appears to just be the beginning of something special for the Lady Indians.

“What’s great about the girls, and even the boys, is that we’re very young,” Ripon coach Erik Zador said. “I only have one girl graduating. Our top swimmers are frosh-soph, and we have good eighth graders coming in.

“We’re looking tough for a while on the girls side. With the boys we have some good swimmers we’re just not very deep.”

Sierra won the boys competition 92-76 to finish 5-3 and in fourth place. Both of the girls teams entered the meet with one loss each. Oakdale, also with one loss, beat rival Sonora on Friday to capture the other half of the championship.

Sierra was in line to earn its fourth title and first since 2009 before suffering its first loss of the season last week in Sonora.

“The girls put themselves in a position to win league,” Sierra coach Dave Breitenbucher said. “Everybody swam their top race against us, and in Sonora the difference was less than a second combined in two races.

“Ripon just has some great swimmers, and we thought we had a shot at them.”

Ripon had winners in every event.

Freshman phenom Erika Brown spearheaded the Indians with wins in the 200-yard freestyle, 100 back stroke, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.

Simone Gagnon (200 IM, 100 fly, 200 free relay, 400 free relay) and Hannah Sweet (500 free, 100 breast, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay) were also in on four wins. Kaylie Sheafler won the 50 free, while Emma Lewis took first in the 100 free. They were also contributors on the winning relays.

Vanessa Flores of Sierra qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Trials in the 100 butterfly, turning in a third-place time of 1 minute, 9.62 seconds. Natalie Randolph came up about 3 tenths of a second shy of punching her ticket to sections in the 500 free, finishing in 6:10.38 for second place.

Sierra’s boys had the depth to overcome Ripon’s talent, but they have standouts of their own. Scott Tolman (50 free, 100 breast) and Brandon Castro (200 free, 500 free) were double winners, and together their conquered the 200 free relay along with Zack Thomas and Jeremy Coronado.

Corey Winter, a section champ at the frosh-soph level a year ago, dominated the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly for Ripon. He also helped the 200 medley relay pick up first-place points. Zach Scudder (100 free) and Justin Park (100 backstroke) won their individual events.

Swimmers have one last chance to clock section-qualifying times in the VOL Championships next Saturday, April 27 at Oakdale High.


East Union 113, Lathrop 38

East Union 113, Weston Ranch 17

East Union picked up a pair of VOL victories on Friday by knocking off Lathrop and Weston Ranch in a double dual.

EU’s Scott Fisher (50 free) and Elijah Salas (100 fly) took first in their events. Colin Scholl won the 100 and 200 free for the Lancers, while Matthew Duran won the 500 free. Steven Jessup, Scholl, Fisher and Salas won the 200 free relay. Salas took first in the 100 breast as well. Kyle Merkle won the 200 IM.


East Union 114, Weston Ranch 51

East Union 114, Lathrop 4

Like the boys swim team, EU’s girls also killed two birds with one stone as it knocked off Weston Ranch and Lathrop in a double dual as well.

EU’s Kimmy LaMar, Lauren Ferguson, Hayley Boyd and Alex Scott won the 200 IM relay. Scorr also took first in the 200 free and Boyd won the 200 IM and 100 breast. LaMar took first in the 50 free and the 100 free while Hannah Estrella won the 100 fly. Janelle Macedo won the 500 free and the 100 back.

Bulletin reporter John-Joel Griffiths contributed to this report.