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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Kate Krolikowski, left, and Isis Choi helped Woodbridge edge Irvine, 86-84, on Wednesday.

Woodbridge girls deliver strong effort to knock off Irvine

STAFF WRITER

IRVINE - There could be a few darkhorses in the girls team race next month at the CIF-SS Division 1 swim meet.

Woodbridge showed Wednesday that the top contenders better pay attention to the Warriors.

Princeton-bound Isis Choi delivered a late victory in the 100-yard breaststroke and Kate Krolikowski won twice to lead Woodbridge past defending champion Irvine, 86-84, in the Pacific Coast League.

Choi outdueled Irvine’s Kate Lee in the back half of the breaststroke, touching first in 1 minute, 5.20 seconds to help the Warriors open an 82-74 lead going into the meet-closing 400 free relay.

Lee trailed by only six one-hundredth of a second at the 50 and finished in 1:06.16, joining Choi under the automatic Division 1 qualifying standard.

Sophomore Julia Wright split a sizzling 52.71 anchor to rally Irvine to the victory in the 400 free (3:36.91), but Woodbridge placed a comfortable second (3:38.24) to seal the victory.
Krolikowski led off in a swift 51.95.

“Too close for comfort,” Woodbridge coach Pat Bangs said of the meet victory. “I knew it would be close, but I had no idea it would be that close.”

Woodbridge flashed its top-end speed by finishing first in six of the eight individual events despite racing without CIF-point scorer Whitney Chang. The Warriors hope Chang, who had been taking online classes, will be eligible soon.

Molly McCance (butterfly) and Sydney Okubo (back) added key victories. McCance touched in 59.14 while Okubo clocked a 58.70.

“It was really close but it’s a great win,” said Krolikowski, who captured the 200 (1:51.06) and 100 (52.40) freestyles. “It’s really promising for league finals.”

Freshman Juliana Witting chipped in with a runner-up finish for the Warriors in the 100 free (53.54).

“A lot of girls stepped up,” said Choi, who led a first-second finish with Okubo in the 200 individual medley.

Woodbridge is seeking its first league title since 1990.

Bangs still views Irvine as the team to beat at the league meet, which crowns the champion.

The Vaqueros swept the freestyle relays and pushed their B teams to third-place finishes in both races for a pair of 10-4 margins. Woodbridge’s B touched third for a critical two points in the medley relay.

“We’re encouraged,” Irvine coach Scott Hinman said. “We did real well in the sprint-freestyles. Much better than expected.”

The Vaqueros went 3-2 in league duals last spring before storming to victory at league finals to claim the title.

“Now it’s going to come down to depth,” Hinman said.

Irvine won the boys meet, 95-76.


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