Irvine Girls, Mission Viejo Boys Crush Competition in California High School Southern Div 1 Champs

By Josh Jeffrey

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 25. THE ladies of Irvine High, led by junior superstars Diana MacManus and Courtney Cashion, put a hurtin' on rivals Newport Harbor with one national high school record several CIF Div 1 records, and fast times aplenty, to repeat as Div 1 Southern Section champions. Mission Viejo wasa equally dominant in the boys' competition.

Girls' Championship
The party started with the 200 yard medley relay, where Irvine's team of MacManus, Jane Hwang, Elliko Heimbach, and Cashion came within three-tenths of a second of resetting their own national mark (1:43.71) from last year's meet, touching for the win at 1:44.01. Second place went to the ladies of Villa Park High School, with their clocking of 1:48.82, more than four seconds behind Irvine. Surprisingly, the strong Newport team led by Nicole Mackey and Hayley Peirsol were only able to manage fourth (1:50.03).

Peirsol exacted revenge in the women's 200 freestyle by seizing the win (1:49.82) over San Marcos dynamo Adrienne Binder (1:50.09) . The race was shoulder to shoulder until the final 50, where Peirsol motored home in 27.15 to Binder's 27.52.

Hayley and Adrienne would again go head to head in the 500 freestyle, where it would seem that Binder should have the advantage given her amazing performances just a few months ago while unrested at the Speedo California-Nevada USS Championships, but just as in the 200 free, Peirsol got the better of her again, this time, surprisingly with a much larger margin of victory. At the finish, Hayley touched at 4:45.57, followed by Adrienne almost three seconds back at 4:48.55. After years of interstate rivalry, the two will join forces to add firepower to the Auburn University distance squad this fall.

Newport senior Nicole Mackey followed her teammates' lead in pulling a convincing win over Irvine's Diana MacManus in the 200 individual medley. Mackey, a fearless racer had always been known to take races out fast and hang on for dear life, and this would be no exception. By the final 50, she had built a four second lead over the Senior National champion backstroke ace. Despite an obviously fatigued final 50 of 29.79 to MacManus' 27.84, the earlier pace kept Mackey in good stead, touching at 2:01.59 to MacManus' 2:03.66 for the win, and team pride.

Mackey was denied a double by another fearless racer in the 100 butterfly. Senior Ashley Depaul of Villa Park took the first 50 out in a swift 25.60, followed by Mackey more than a second back at 26.70. Mackey's final 50 was actually the fastest of the field at 29.08, but it wasn't enough to overtake the gutsy Depaul, who touched at 55.29 to Mackey's 55.78.

Aside from Depaul, Mission Viejo junior Nicolette Teo was the only other swimmer to prevent Newport and Irvine from sweeping all the swimming titles. Her time of 1:02.17 in the 100 breaststroke was enough to hold off L.B. Wilson sophomore Jessica Hardy (1:02.47) for the win.

Diana MacManus, after finishing second in the 200 IM was able to take a win of her own later in the meet, in her signature event, the 100 backstroke. Her time of 54.19 reset her own CIF Div 1 record of 54.42 from last year's meet. Second place went to Canyons senior Lauren Mathewson, who dropped nearly two seconds from her seed time to go 56.10.

Irvine junior Courtney Cashion notched a double, taking both the 50 and 100 freestyles, just as she did last year. In the 50, she won by more than half a second, touching at 23.13 to Santa Margarita senior Erika Figge's 23.69. In the 100 freestyle, she finished more than a second clear of Santa Barbara senior Lisa Falzone, hitting the pads at 50.03 to Falzone's 51.30. Cashion holds the CIF Div 1 record at 49.45 from last year's meet.

Surprisingly, Cashion swam the anchor leg of the winning 200 medley relay (where she split 22.80) instead of the 200 freestyle relay, but as it turns out, she didn't need to. Irvine quartet Miho Umezawa, Jane Hwang, Lisa Sciarani, and Tanya Nielsen took the win in 1:38.10, over a fast-closing team from Santa Barbara High (1:38.24).

Cashion did, however, team with Heimbach, MacManus and Nielsen to obliterate the national public high school and CIF Div 1 records in the 400 freestyle relay. By the first 100, with Cashion splitting a stellar 50.24, her nearest pursuer was more than 2.5 seconds behind, and the margin only continued to grow throughout the race. At the wall, the foursome touched at 3:24.64, demolishing their own former CIF Div 1 record of 3:28.14 from 2001, and the competition, as Newport Harbor (3:33.00) were nearly ten seconds back, a margin rarely seen in this division of CIF meets.

In addition to breaking the CIF record, they also smashed the national public high school mark of 3:25.91 set just last November by Pioneer (Michigan) High School. They also gave the overall national high school mark of 3:24.08 set in 1996 by Jacksonville, Florida's famed Bolles program a good scare. Bolles retains the national independent school record.

Boys' Championship
Though Mission Viejo won the men's meet, the real story was the plucky team from Dos Pueblos, which, led by junior Danny Beal, used team spirit and determination to cause a number of upsets.

In the men's 200 medley relay, everything seemed to be going for San Clemente High. Kenny Yamamoto put them out front by 2.5 seconds in backstroke, and though their lead was being chipped away by Dos Pueblos on breaststroke, everything seemed to be fine–until Danny Beal dove in to begin his butterfly leg. Gaining with each stroke, Beal mowed down the competition with a scorching 21.98 split, putting Dos Pueblos in front by nearly a second, a lead which they wouldn't relinquish at the finish. The foursome of Mike Bowen, Egan Gans, Beal, and Kevin Kuga took the win in 1:36.71, with San Clemente (1:37.43) just edging Mission Viejo by .05 for second.

The 400 freestyle relay went much the same way; Servite High had built itself a nice lead going into the final 100– but, as it turmned out, it wasn't enough — as Beal uncorked a red-hot 44.37 anchor leg to propel the same Dos Pueblos foursome to the win, with a time of 3:09.36 to Servite's 3:10.23.

In addition to taking the title in the 100 fly (49.04) to Esparanza senior Brandon Gladys' 49.63, Beal caused an individual upset of his own in winning the 200 freestyle over great US distance hope Larsen Jensen of Mission Viejo. It was never even close. Beal remained in front of Jensen for the entire race, and showed that he saved something for the final 50, knowing that Jensen, a distance ace, would try to pick up the pace.

It was a case of too little too late for Jensen, who split 25.21 to Beal's 23.85. At the wall, Beal's margin of victory was nearly two seconds, as he hit the pads at 1:39.15 to Jensen's 1:41.11.

Jensen, determined not to let this happen again, pulled out the stops in the 500 freestyle, where he split consistent 26s for all but the first and last 50s, to touch at 4:24.32, more than six seconds clear of Dana Hills sophomore Peter Baer (4:30.82).

Servite junior Adam Hewko took two events, winning both the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. In the 200 IM, propelled by a breaststroke leg nearly a second faster than anyone else in the field, he seized a win over the aforementioned Baer, touching at 1:50.95 to Baer's 1:52.00. The 100 breaststroke was a much closer race, as Irvine junior Evan Hsiao led through the first 50, but was outsplit by nearly a half second on the way back to the wall. Hewko took the win in 56.93 to Hsiao's 57.19.

Santa Barbara junior Tyler Wilson took the narrowest win of the meet, when he clipped Fountain Valley senior Kevin McCoy at the wall in the 100 freestyle by three-hundredths, 46.00 to 46.03. McCoy turned the tables in the splash and dash 50 free, winning at 21.90 over Santa Barbara senior Curtis Williamson (21.08).

Newport Harbor senior Andrew Cole showed that it's not just Newport's ladies who are winners, when he took the title in the men's 100 backstroke in an upset over San Clemente's speedy senior Kenny Yamamoto 51.50 to 51.83.

Servite would once again be denied a relay title, when they were nipped at the finish by Los Alamitos in the 200 freestyle relay, 1:25.87 to 1:26.00.

Irvine took the girls' team title with 295 points, more than 100 ahead of second place Newport Harbor (190). Santa Margarita (175) edged Villa Park (173) by two points to grab third.

Mission Viejo (247), whose best relay placing was third, seized the boys' team title handily over San Clemente (195). Third went to Servite (168), which finally got one over on fourth-place Dos Pueblos (153).

Complete results at:

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