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Crean Lutheran girls win fourth straight section title
RIVERSIDE – The competition was so close that it generated a new name. There also were fresh, temporary tattoos and an updated number to flash in the celebration.
Crean Lutheran’s girls won all over again Saturday at the CIF-SS Division 2 swimming finals but with a renewed style and team approach at Riverside City College.
The Saints captured their so-called “dual meet” with Glendora, outscoring their CIF rival, 308-295, to defend their Division 2 title and claim a fourth consecutive section title overall.
Crean Lutheran hoisted four fingers in the celebration.
“It was really awesome to see all the girls step up and do their part,” said senior Emily Eastin, her black “Saints” tattoo on her right cheek. “We all came together and put together a great score. That’s almost more exciting. It was just so close.”
Crean Lutheran trailed Glendora by 51/2 points entering the finals based on a scoring of prelims. But the Saints quickly jolted the projections by moving from the No. 5 seed in the 200-yard medley relay to capture the race in 1 minute, 44.63 seconds.
Veteran Crean Lutheran coach Craig Brown inserted Rachel Taylor as the new breaststroker and the junior combined with Eastin, Tianna Jorgenson and Katia Young for the victory.
“That set the tone,” Brown said of the 12-point swing.
Crean Lutheran and Glendora were tied, 123-123, after the 50 free and were close throughout. The Saints produced individual champions in Elise Garcia (50 free, lifetime-best 22.99), Brittany Kampfer (500 free, 4:49.89) and Eastin (100 back, 54.34).
Crean Lutheran took the lead for good on Eastin’s backstroke victory and sealed the title with a safe-starts, sixth-place finish in the 400 free relay.
Sunny Hills junior Courtney Tseng impressed in Lane 8 in the 500 free with a runner-up touch in a lifetime-best 4:51.27.
The county crowned four champions on the boys side and nearly produced the runner-up to champion Damien (258). Mission Viejo placed third with 137 points, four points away from runner-up Los Osos.
Junior Min Zhi Chua led the Diablos with victories in the 200 individual medley (1:50.76) and breaststroke (56.76) with lifetime-best times. Sonora’s Ben Blevins-Boor touched first in the 100 free with a lifetime-best 45.60. El Toro captured the boys 200 free relay as Jack Leighton, Chad Nelson, Aaron Leighton and Connor Wilde combined for a 1:25.79.
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