Girls swim team makes mark at Husky Invitational

Claremont High School girls swimming had a surprise in store for Marina High last Saturday, narrowly edging out the top-rated team in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Competing in the finals of the Husky Invitational at Chino Hills High School, Claremont took the top spot at 1:40:88 and broke a school record in the process. The group was led by junior Katrina Strash (25.0), followed by freshman Mary Margrave (26.81), senior Samantha Duran (25.1) and freshman Sophie Jackson (23.95). Their time was a full nine seconds faster than the record set in 2011.

The foursome also swam the 400-yard freestyle relay in the finals, placing second behind Marina HS with a time of 3:41.89. The team is headed for CIF in both relays next month in Riverside. 

Up against as many as 110 varsity swimmers in each event, Strash won the 50-yard freestyle finals at 24.97, and took second in the 100-yard freestyle finals at 54.46. She currently holds CHS school records in both events set in 2014 as a freshman: 24.24 and 53.03, respectively.

Jackson won the 100-yard butterfly finals with a time of 56.47, as well as winning the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.71. Duran placed third in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:20.46, as well as fourth in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:02.67. At the invitational meet, they used yards instead of meters, which is the standard in league meets.

On the boys side, freshman Toby Jackson, twin brother of Sophie, took third in the 100-yard butterfly at 55.63. Junior Carlos Franco placed sixth in the 200 IM at 2:11.99.

On Wednesday, the Pack was back in the pool for a dual meet at home against South Hills. Claremont had a pretty easy time, with all four teams getting decisive wins. Girls varsity won 132-37, boys varsity led 118-55, girls JV won 111-47 and boys JV cinched a 118-55 win.

The meet offered an opportunity to see last week’s champions in action, albeit in different races. Jackson, Margrave, Strash and Duran won the 200 medley relay with a 1:59:52 finish and also the 400-meter freestyle relay at 3:54:13.

Boys standout freestyler Ben Eagleton won the 50-meter event at 23:06 and the 100-meter at 54:33, as well as anchoring the 400-meter freestyle relay when the boys won at 3:37:78.

With the lopsided overall victories, the Pack posted first-place finishes all day. One new face, freshman Jelissa Lin, posted a time of 1:15:01 in the 100-meter breaststroke, several seconds ahead of the competition.

“We had a great weekend last week, two automatic CIF cuts in the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. The 200 was a school record for us as well, which was a pretty big because the previous record had some big names on it,” said Coach Courtney Eads. “It wasn’t an easy record to breaks for sure.”

Eagleton made the consideration cut for CIF in the 50-meter freestyle, which means he is in the running but short of the automatic time cut. In CIF, everyone who reaches the automatic cut is in and they fill the rest of the field from the consideration group.

“Hopefully, his time will be fast enough to make the meet, ” Coach Eads said.

Competing swimmers include Sophie Jackson, who got her cut in the 100 fly;  Strash, who is pretty well locked in at the 50 and 100 freestyle and Duran, who is looking at the 200 IM and 100 backstroke.

“Our league is a very fast. Glendora’s girls won CIF last year. They are all competitive schools,” said Coach Eads. “This season has been great, I’ve been really excited. We have a young, goofy team but they are coming together and having a great time. That is nice to see. This year has just been a lot of fun.”

League prelims are Tuesday, finals are Thursday and the CIF tournament starts the following week.


Golf ends league play on high note

Claremont High School golf squeaked by South Hills last Thursday for a positive send-off to what has otherwise been a mixed season.

With the 225-227 victory at Marshall Canyon Golf Course in La Verne, the Pack claims a fourth-place finish in the Palomares League and a berth in the upcoming league tournament.

“The strength of our team is our youth,” said Coach Terrance Lynch. “We have a very solid freshman class with three kids who could easily play varsity at any time, and we have a very strong sophomore class that played very hard last year.”

The regular season wrapped up this week with Claremont and Ayala tied for fourth, each team winning once for their two meetings. Diamond Bar leads the league followed by Bonita and Glendora.

Top-seeded players and co-captains Kyle Cohen and Matthew Stanford were the first to tee off on Thursday, paired with South Hills’ James Johnson and Eric Celaya. Stanford got the momentum going with a birdie on the first hole. Not to be outdone, Cohen birdied the second. After four holes, they were solidly ahead of Johnson and Celaya.

Asked what he likes about golf, Cohen said, “It gives each individual a chance to shine. I don’t hit the ball as hard, but if my short game is on then I can stay with someone who hits the ball 300 yards.”

The rest of the Pack’s varsity lineup includes Tyler Yang, Wyatt Iles, Matt Lach and Elijah Song. Plus, Claremont has six JV players who are right on their heels and could play varsity at any time.

Coach Lynch is looking forward to the finals and is optimistic that his team will do well.

“Right now if we play our number-one varsity and number-one JV they are within five to 10 strokes every match; usually it is a 40-stroke difference,” said Coach Lynch.

League prelims will be at Western Hills County Club in Chino Hills on May 3, followed the next day with league finals at Los Serranos Golf Course, also in Chino Hills. The top eight in the league move on to CIF. Claremont hosts the JV league finals at Marshall Canyon on May 5.

“I’m really excited about next year and years to come with our youth,” said Coach Lynch. “We do have strong juniors, Tyler Yang and Elijah Song, and next year they will give us great senior leadership.”

—Steven Felschundneff


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