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Sierra swimmers sink Buffaloes in VOL opener
Manteca High freshman Julia Saling swims the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay against visiting Sierra Friday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Sierra’s swim team visited crosstown rival Manteca to open the Valley Oak League season Friday and left with wins for both the boys and girls squads.

The girls won every event en route to a 101-68 win, while the boys did just enough to swim past the Buffaloes, 85-80.

Despite the loss, Manteca coach Elyce Ruble saw promising signs from her team.

“We have 76 swimmers this year, which is the biggest team we’ve ever had,” she said. “Today was the first time many of these kids had every competed in a swim meet. All of our kids got to swim today and everyone had a really great day.”

Manteca’s boys contingent closed strong to with an exciting finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Standout Trevor Gardner swam the anchor leg and was a full pool length behind Sierra’s final competitor when he dove into the pool. He led the Buffalo quartet to the win in 4 minutes, 3.22 seconds — over 4 seconds faster than the Sierra team.

Gardner also won the 50 freestyle (23.73) and 100 freestyle (52.70). Brandon Craighead won the 100 butterfly in 1:07.11 and was with Gardner on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Sierra’s top male swimmer, Zac De Groot dominated in victories in the 200 individual medley (2:34.59) and 100 back stroke (1:08.79). He also led the 200 medley relay to a first-place finish along with Carlos Castellanos, who claimed the 100 breaststroke (1:22.12) Brandon Castro added first-place points in the 200 free (2:08.24), as did Matthew Elliot in the 500 freestyle (6:13.34)

Sophia Ferriera, Marissa Machado and Ashley McKinney were each a part wins in four events for Sierra’s girls.

Ferriera took first in the 200 free (2:22.58) and 500 free (6:36.66) and also on the winning 200 and 400 free relays. Machado captured top honors in the 100 free (1:02.58) and 100 breaststroke (1:18.11) while joining Ferriera on the 200 relay team. McKinney contributed to the 200 medley and 400 relays and won the 100 free (1:02.58) and 100 back (1:10.85).

Taylor Pereza (50 free, 29.18) and Rachel Holmstrom (100 fly, 1:10.39) each won an event and were on two of the winning relays.

Freshman Julia Saling had a strong debut for Manteca. She was narrowly defeated by Machado in the 100 breast (1:18.89) and helped the 200 medley relay — also consisting of fellow freshman Amy Windschitl, sophomore Kaile Hunt and junior Amanda Christensen — qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Trials with a time of 2:09.43.

Kimball 127, Weston Ranch 28 (G)

Taylor Holiday won the backstroke in 1:19.11 for the Cougars. She was also the runner-up in the 200 IM, clocking in at 2:55.1.

Kimball 124, Weston Ranch 23 (B)

Jacob Malalwan claimed the 100 breaststroke in 1:19.13.