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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Sonora's B 400-yard relay, from left, of Lavona Harper, Jackie Chang, Johanna Solaas and Anika Ausness placed third to help the Raiders defeat 10-time defending Freeway League champion Troy on Wednesday.

'B' relay propels Sonora girls past Troy

STAFF WRITER

Some of the best-known swimmers in the Freeway League were in the pool Wednesday as the Sonora-Troy girls meet came down to the 400-yard freestyle relay. But those weren’t the ones who received the loudest cheers or the most attention.

The fate of the showdown at Troy rested in the arms, legs and hearts of the so-called “B” relays or depth swimmers.

With just four points separating the schools, Sonora’s A built a comfortable lead on Troy’s second-place A, leaving the B relays to secure the deciding points.

“It was all on us,” Sonora leadoff Lavona Harper said.

Sonora’s B relay joined the A list, holding off a late surge by the Troy B to touch third and secure a 94-92 victory for the Raiders girls.

Troy’s boys used their depth, especially in the 200 free relay, to claim a 100-86 triumph.

The Raiders’ all-freshmen-sophomore team of Harper, Jackie Chang, Johanna Solaas and anchor Anika Ausness clocked a time of 4 minutes, 1.34 seconds to hold off Troy and anchor Ashley Beck by half-a-body-length (4:01.94).

“We were all stressing out, but then it worked out,” Ausness said.

Sonora’s top 400 relay won in 3:44.71.

The Raiders took a major step toward their first league title since 1984 with the meet victory. Sonora (4-0, 2-0) beat the 10-time defending champion from a league that weighs the dual-meet results the same as league finals.

“Huge victory for our girls,” Sonora coach Todd Jacobsen said.

Sonora’s girls won eight of the 11 events behind doubles from Taylor Ault (100, 500 freestyles) and April Martinez (200 free, 100 butterfly). Ault blasted her final lap in the 100 to out-duel Meredith Lillie of Troy for the victory in 53.17. After a one-race break, Ault captured the 500 in 5:05.12.

The Raiders also gained valuable points by sweeping the top-three places in the 100 backstroke behind Jillian Jacobsen (1:05.51).

“Both teams swam hard,” said Coach Jason Wilson of Troy (1-3, 1-1). “I was pleased we didn’t back down.”

Troy’s boys (4-0, 2-0), the six-time defending league champion, touched first-second in the 200 free relay behind the winning team (1:34.42) of Andrew Cai, Austin Lee, Elliot Cha and Tanner Henkhaus. Troy’s Kevin Smithmatungol also led a sweep in the 100 breaststroke by clocking a 1:03.52. Simon Lamar, Alex DeWeese and Ben Blevins-Boor each won twice for Sonora (3-1, 1-1).

SALLY RILEY PASSES

Sally Riley, 50, the wife of Edison coach Diggy Riley and the inspiration for an outpouring of support at a meet last week, died of cancer Wednesday, Diggy Riley said in an e-mail.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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