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GRESHAM, Oregon, July 15. LAUREN Abruzzo won the women's 800 free and Peter Kotson won the men's 800 free to kick off the first night of racing at the Speedo Champions Series Western Sectional meet tonight at the Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center.

Abruzzo, who recently finished her freshman year at Northwestern and represents the DU Hilltoppers, touched first in the women's 800 free in 8:53.71, about eight seconds off her personal best. Adriana Palomino of Arizona Gold Swimming finished three seconds later in 8:56.68, while Scottsdale Aquatic Club's Taylor Ruck also broke 9:00 with an 8:59.68 for third.

The men's 800 featured an exciting battle between top seed Brandon Shreeve of Corvallis Aquatic Team and fifth seed Peter Kotson of Helena Lions Swim Team. Shreeve led by about a second at the halfway point before Kotson made his move. At the finish, Kotson barely got the best of Shreeve, 8:21.15 to 8:21.31. Steven Sholdra of Bellevue Club rounded out the top three in 8:25.81.


Timed finals of the women's and men's 800 freestyle relay were also held this evening. Tualatin Hills' Celia Keany, Keaton Blovad, Sara Metzsch and Grace Carlson posted the fastest time of the night in the women's event at 8:23.17. Bridgette McNally, Clara Jenck, Lauren Abruzzo and Grace Sommerville led the DU Hilltoppers to a second place showing in 8:24.00. Boulder Swimming's foursome of Julia Box, Brittney Beetcher, Addee Weller and Amanda Richey came in third in 8:29.77.

Aces Swim Club captured the men's 800 free relay title in 7:39.81 behind strong swims from Jake Markham, John Bushman, Connor Croan and Andrew Hartbarger. The DU Hilltoppers took second in the men's race as well with Carter Griffin, Darian Brunetti, Michael McCormick and Konnor De Venecia combining to post a 7:44.62.

After day one, the DU Hilltoppers lead the team standings with 33 points, one point ahead of Scottsdale Aquatic Club (32) and Arizona Gold Swimming (30).

Results can be found on the Meet Mobile app.