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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Santa Margarita's Samantha Shelton soars into the 200-yard medley relay against visiting University. The Eagles won the boys and girls meets.

'Progressing' Santa Margarita downs University

STAFF WRITER

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – Santa Margarita’s No. 2-ranked boys swim team exuded an unmistakable vibe Thursday as its raced visiting No. 3 University in a nonleague meet.

From the cheering to their youthful speed, the Eagles showed a focus on progress and an excitement for the process in a 92-78 victory between a pair of CIF-SS Division 1 contenders.

Santa Margarita’s No. 2 girls beat University, 116-54, behind a pair of impressive victories by Samantha Shelton in the 200 (1 minute, 50.44 seconds) and 500 (4:54.48) freestyles.

University freshman Riley Lexvold outdueled Santa Margarita’s Isa Odgers in the 200 individual medley with a winning touch of 2:05.79.

Grant Shoults of Santa Margarita, the 2015 Register swimmer of the year, led a vocal backing for sophomore Jacob Wright, who broke 50 seconds in the 100 freestyle for the first time.

The Stanford-bound senior also cheered freshmen Noah Brune and Kevin Tu as they placed first-second in the 500 free, a privotal moment for a meet that wasn’t decided until the 400 free relay.

And after a narrow loss to rival Mater Dei at the Capistrano Valley Relays on Saturday, Santa Margarita (2-0) defeated the two-time defending CIF-SS Division 1 champion Trojans. University beat the Eagles, 108-61, last season.

“It shows how we’re progressing as a team,” Shoults said of the triumph. “It’s looking pretty good for (us) when it comes to the end the season, the Trinity (League) and CIF.”

Wright touched third in a 100 free (49.65) race captured by teammate Marc Morizono (47.56).

Morizono and Shoults were both double winners. Shoults won the 50 free (21.32) and outdueled University’s Andrew Knoell in the butterfly with a 50.29. Knoell (51.30) led by just over three-tenths of a second at the 50 before Shoults’ strength under water kicked in.

Brune (4:41.89) and Tu (4:44.39) finished 1-2 in a 500 that didn’t feature University standout George Horvath. The Trojans bounced back with their own first-second sweep in the backstroke with Knoell (51.81) and Sean Messer (53.67).

“We did pretty well,” said University coach Ryan Vande Wydeven, whose squad dueled powerhouse Loyola of Los Angeles on Saturday. “(These meets) are helping to challenge us.”

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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