Crescenta Valley, Damien Take Calif. High School Southern Section Div. II Crowns

BELMONT SHORES, CA., May 12. THEY won nary a single individual race, nor any relays either, but when the splashing stopped here at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool this afternoon, Crescenta Valley's Falcon Ladies were atop the podium in the Southern Section CIF Division II Championships.

It was the Falcon girls' first swimming title and they used their superior depth to score a 198-173 win over Peninsula with Alemany (154) third.

On the boys' side, Crescenta Valley had won the last three championships but finished third today. Damien, with 239, was the victor while Riverside Poly (183) was next and the Falcons (181) a close third.

Crescenta Valley's girls had finished runner-up in DII last season to Santa Margarita, but the latter moved into Division I this year. CV's highest finisher was senior Alexis Sheridan, who scored fourth places in the 200-500 frees and anchored a pair of relays (200-400 free) which finished thrid in both.

On the girls' side there were a pair of double winners, University senior Jessica Hayes in the 100-200 frees and Alemany senior Maureen Farrell in the 50 free-100 back.

Hayes clocked 50.65 to win the 100 and 1:48.23 for the double-century. The latter is the nation's fastest time this year.

The DII record in the 100 belongs to current University of Texas women's coach Jill Sterkel (49.77) when she was swimming for Hacienda Heights Wilson in (dare we say it?) 1979. The 200 record, which Hayes missed by just a couple of tenths (1:48.01), was set 19 yers ago by former Gahr star Stacy Shupe, who went on to become an All-America and NCAA champ at Stanford.

Farrell won the 50 in 23.72. Sterkel holds this record too (22.91) also from '79. In the 100 back, Farrell clocked 55.46 to win, breaking the old divisional standard of 55.56 by Beverly Hills' Meredith Booker from 1992. However, in the prelims, Farrell went a nifty pr and divison-record 55.06.
Booker matriculated to Northwestern and became an All-America there.

St. Lucy senior Lauren Medina won the 200 IM (2:05.03) and was runner-up in the 100 free; Lugo junior Kristen
Littrell was first in the 1-meter diving (DII record 553.11 points) followed by the Falcons' Cassidy Farwell (487.90); Glendora freshman Courtney Rada raced home first in the 100 fly (56.22), followed by Walnut freshman Carlyn Lee (56.59); Troy soph Jane Imagane took the 500 free in 4:54.64; and Ayala senior Erin Calder ended her prep career on a winning note — racing to a 1:04.67-1:05.29 100 breast triumph over Flintridge's Melissa Siracuse. Calder set the meet record of 1:04.31 at last season's championship.

The relays were divided among Northwood (200 medley, 1:50.06); Sunny Hills the 200 free (1:40.39) and Alemany the 400 free (3:36.07-3:36.60 over Peninsula).
Farrell anchored the winning foursome in a quick 50.27.

Damien's boys got their title quest off to a flying start with a DII record in the 200 medley relay (1:35.56). The old record was 1:35.96 by Santa Monica's Vikings from 1996.

That was the only race the champs won. Their highest individual finishers were runners-up John Carter (200 free), Alfred Dual (200 IM) and Nick Lima (100 breast). Damien also scored a second in the 400 free relay and a fourth in the 200 sprint.

Although Crescenta Valley's Falcons "slumped" to third, they got an outstanding performance from senior sprinter James Jenkins, who won the 50-100 frees in near-record times of 20.47-44.65, and anchored a pair of third-place relays (200-400 free). In the former he split 20.15.

The DII 50 free record of 20.27 belongs to former University of Michigan and Turkish Olympian Derya Buyukuncu when he was swimming for Irvine Woodbridge as a senior seven years ago. The state record is 20.17 by current Unversity of Texas All-America Leffie Crawford from 1998, and the national record (19.91) is held by former Texas prep sensation Anthony Robinson.

Robinson, a senior at Stanford this past season, just happened to win NCAAs a couple of months ago in College Station with his school-record 19.15. And whom did Mr. Robinson beat for the title? Why, none other than the Sydney co-Olympic 50 free gold medalist Anthony Ervin of Cal — who was runner-up in 19.23 after a blazing 19.11 school and Pac-10 record three weeks earlier in this same Belmont Plaza Pool!

In the century, Jenkins' 44.65 is a few ticks off Ervin's DII record 44.28 from his senior season at Newhall's Hart High two years ago. Buyukuncu also holds the state record here (43.85) while the national belongs to Cincinnati St. Xavier's Joe Hudepohl (43.43) from 1992.

Hudepohl, too, swam for Stanford, won several NCAA team titles during his career and was a member of the U.S.A.'s 800 free relay squad at the Atlanta Olympics.

Other winners included Riverside Poly soph Jason Lyons in the 200 free (1:42.99); Rowland senior Joey Clements in the 200 IM (1:53.73) and 100 breast (58.15); University's Louis Gagnet in the 1-meter diving (meet record 641.95 points); Arcadia junior Larry Chong in the 100 fly (50.91); Troy frosh Louis Vayo in the 500 free(4:36.92); and University's Jason Berlin in the 100 back (52.36).

The two relays not won by Damien went to Riverside Poly (200 free, 1:26.99) and 400 free (3:11.38). Damien was runner-up in 3:13.74.

— Bill Bell

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