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Spring notes: Top contenders prepare for postsesason
Orange County’s two leading Division 1 contenders used the Foothill Swim Games this past Saturday to strengthen their fleets for the CIF-SS prelims.
Santa Margarita’s girls and University’s boys, both looking to defend their swimming and diving titles, picked up new automatic qualifiers for the Division 1 prelims May 14 in Riverside.
Emily Boggess made a strong season debut after a hip injury. The junior earned automatic Division 1 qualifying times in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 52.94 seconds) and the 500 free with a runner-up finish in 4:56.91.
“She’s our secret weapon,” Santa Margarita co-coach Rich Blanc said.
Santa Margarita senior Andrea Laliena, a recent Cal Baptist commitment, also collected an automatic Division 1 qualifying time in the backstroke (58.65).
University’s boys bolstered their CIF lineup. Alejandro Ortiz clocked an automatic Division 1 qualifying time in the 200 free with a runner-up 1:41.36, while Matt Wong grabbed his automatic cut in the 100 breaststroke with a fourth-place 58.61.
Mater Dei juniors Aislinn Light and Brittany Kampfer each won titles at the Foothill Swim Games. Light captured the 100 free in a school-record 50.94 seconds while Kampfer challenged her school-record in the 500 free by clocking a 4:52.98. …
Santa Margarita’s Katie McLaughlin said her recent improvement in the 200-meter free will be an advantage at future U.S. qualifying meets. “It puts less pressure on my 200 butterfly and 100 butterfly,” she said. ...
Ella Eastin of Crean Lutheran donned an old tech-suit to put herself in the mindset to swim fast. The senior said wearing even a worn tech-suit helps. …
Foothill assistant coach Tom DeLong, the Knights’ former coach and pool namesake, said he will return next spring for his 30th season. “I’ve been reborn,” the 77-year-old said.
The final week of the dual-meet season is offering several intriguing matchups. On Tuesday, Edison’s fourth-ranked girls race at No. 10 Los Alamitos. On Wednesday, the No. 3 Northwood boys will be host to No. 2 Corona del Mar. And on Thursday, Santa Margarita’s No. 1 girls play host to JSerra, which is expected to be close to full strength.
Saddleback Valley Christian, a freelance school, is playing host to the Freelance Swimming Finals on Saturday at Capistrano Valley at 10 a.m. Connelly and Fairmont Prep will be among the 11 teams racing.
- DAN ALBANO
TRACK & FIELD
The long jump at the Orange County Championships on Saturday produced several standout efforts, including Orange Lutheran’s Jeremiah Harris leaping 22 feet, 11½ inches to win on the boys side. Valencia’s Lily Ebanks jumped 18-6½ to take the event on the girls side.
Blair Robinson of Kennedy dominated the triple jump, posting a 45-5½ to win by more than 2 feet.
In other notable efforts Saturday at the O.C. Championships:
Connor Meech, who attends San Juan Hills, won the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. ... Cypress’ Hilary Ojinnaka won the 100 and finished third in the 200. Los Alamitos’ Sara Limp and Ashley Willingham placed first and second in the 200. ... Willingham’s winning time in the 400 was the second fastest in meet history.
Mission Viejo’s Taylor Arco returned home Monday after a week-long stint in the hospital. Arco was dealing with an infection. She is a regular in the 800 and on the 1,600 relay for the Diablos, who are one of the top teams in the county. Mission Viejo placed second behind Los Alamitos at the O.C. Championships. ...
Marina’s Jett Gordon is ranked fourth in the state in the boys pole vault with a season-best mark of 16-0. He didn’t participate Saturday because of a shoulder injury. He hopes to return for the Sunset League finals on May 7.
- ANDREW TURNER, Contributing writer
A 29 is a score that is rarely seen in boys golf, but Beckman’s Brett Robinson, Servite’s Matt Wilson and University’s Ari Gulugian each flirted with the number last week.
On Wednesday, Robinson holed five birdies, one eagle and a bogey on the front nine at Tustin Ranch Golf Club to post a 30 and help the Patriots beat Foothill, 176-199. He had a 15-foot putt on the par-5 ninth for a 29 but missed it.
The 6-under-par round was the best for a Beckman golfer, surpassing the school’s previous low round by two strokes. His scoring average is 35.7 and he has medaled in six of the Patriots’ 12 matches.
On Thursday, Wilson and Gulugian posted their low rounds. Wilson shot a 4-under-par 31 on the front nine at Western Hills Country Club to equal the school record. The round capped a 10-under week which saw him win the Trinity League championship for the second year in a row.
Gulugian had five birdies and no bogeys to finish 5-under on the par-35 front nine at Newport Beach Country Club during the Trojans’ 12-stroke victory against Corona del Mar. …
Woodbridge senior Hide Yoshihara finished tied for 14th with a 7-over-par 223 in the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, SC.
- DAMIAN DOTTORE
There are several boys volleyball matches on the schedule this week that will influence league titles.
Seventh-ranked Servite, which leads Santa Margarita and No. 10 Mater Dei by two games in the Trinity League, visits Santa Margarita on Tuesday night. The Friars won the teams’ first match in five games.
Also Tuesday night, No. 3 Dana Hills visits No. 4 San Clemente in a South Coast League match. The Dolphins won the teams’ first match in straight sets.
In the Empire League, where there is a logjam near the top, of the Empire League, Kennedy visits Tustin on Tuesday night. Tustin (5-1) leads Pacifica (4-2) and Kennedy (4-2). ...
The team to watch in the Trinity League is Mater Dei. The Monarchs have won four of their last five matches.
- DAMIAN CALHOUN
This is the final week of the regular season for boys and girls lacrosse. The playoff pairings will be released Saturday evening.
On the boys side, there will be 16 teams in the playoffs, made up of seven automatic qualifiers and nine at-large teams. The teams will be seeded highest to lowest, with the top seed facing the 16th seed in the opening round.
The girls will also have a 16-team tournament playoff.
The first round is May 5.
- DAMIAN CALHOUN
JSerra junior left tackle Luke Wattenberg (6-5, 275) committed to Washington, Lions assistant football coach John Baggerly confirmed. Wattenberg is the first player from the Lions’ class of 2016 to commit.