Eagles soar past Wolf Pack in season opener

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Granite Hills’ teammates Riley Thompson, left, and Andrew Stinnett both swam to victories in their individual events. Thompson won the individual medley and butterfly while Stinnett came up a winner in the breaststroke.

The high school swim season seemingly picked up right from where it left off last March for the Granite Hills High School swim and dive team after sweeping visiting West Hills in a Grossmont Hills League dual meet last Friday.

The Eagles won the boys contest by a score of 134-49 and completed the sweep with a 118-62 victory on the girls side.

Granite Hills’ Kelly Henderson performs a somersault during the diving competition at last Friday’s dual meet against West Hills.

Final scores were not necessarily the focus, however.

“Being the first league meet of the season, our swimmers were happy to be competing,” GHHS girls varsity coach Cathy Elgas said. “We had some nice swims and are working hard to get better each week. We are hoping to break a few school records in the next couple weeks. The boys and girls have some quality freshman that add depth. It should be an exciting season as long as everyone stays healthy.”

The last sentence remains key to success amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Friday’s contest at the Georgette Torres Aquatic Center took place under new health and safety protocols issued by the California Department of Public Health and the San Diego Section. Despite all the new rules and regulations, the meet retained a tremendous amount of atmosphere on deck.

It looked and felt like a regular high school swim meet, part of the “new normal.”

“Sports are vital for kids,” West Hills head coach James Searls underscored. “Finally having them back made it feel like they’re back in the real world. Seeing the smiles on their faces, seeing the success, it’s about time.”

Top swimmers for Granite Hills included Aidan Keane, Riley Thompson, Cavan Cox, Braden Felio, Andrew Stinnett, Lucas Johnson and Teagan Pennings on the boys side and Erin Kluge, Rachel Sapper, Izzy Cox, Chloe Morgan, Delaney Fry, Brooke McCoy and Korinne McCarty on the girls side.

All either won individual events or were part of a winning relay team.

Kluge and Izzy Cox each won four events on the girls side of the meet while Keane, Thompson and Felio emerged from the water as four-event winners on the boys side.

Cavan Cox and Sapper both were three event winners.

Making a splash

Keane, who seems poised to break school records in his career, captured first-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle (4:55.83) and 100 backstroke (57.76) while Thompson doubled in winning the 200 individual medley (2:10.67) and 100 butterfly (1:00.11)

Felio, an impact freshman, tied for first place in the 50 freestyle (23.57) and later won the 100 freestyle (50.82).

Kluge recorded an individual double in the 200 IM (2:10.97) and 100 butterfly (58.77) while Izzy Cox doubled in winning the 50 freestyle (25.64) and 100 freestyle (56.00).

Sapper touched with the top time in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.61) and finished second in the 200 freestyle (2:06.61).

Morgan emerged victorious in the 500 freestyle (5:34.13) and placed third in the 200 IM (2:25.12).

Cavan Cox won the 200 freestyle in 1:56.26 and placed second in the 500 freestyle (5:17.48) while Stinnett won the 100 breaststroke (1:07.01).

In relay events, the foursome of McCoy, Sapper, Kluge and Izzy Cox combined to claim victory in the 200 (4×50) medley relay in 1:53.38 while Kluge, Fry, McCoy and Cox comprised the winning quartet in the 200 (4×50) freestyle relay in 1:45.08.

Morgan, McCarty, Fry and Sapper won the 400 (4×100) freestyle relay in 4:06.35.

Keane, Stinnett, Thompson and Felio stroked to victory in the medley relay in 1:46.04 while Cavan Cox, Stinnett, Johnson and Pennings combined to post the top time in the 4×50 freestyle relay in 1:38.32.

Thompson, Cox, Felio and Keane swam to victory in the 4×100 freestyle relay.

On the girls side, McCoy placed second in the 500 freestyle (5:41.82) and third in the backstroke (1:06.11) while Fry placed second in the 100 freestyle (58.77) and fourth in the backstroke (1:06.43).

Olivia Sapper was third in the butterfly (1:07.87) and fourth in the IM (2:28.77).

Additionally, Aidyn Gaeir finished third in the girls 100 freestyle (1:03.15) and fourth in the 50 freestyle (28.04) while Madison Dickman placed third in the 500 freestyle (6:08.21). McCarty finished third in the breaststroke (1:19.25) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:14.27).

Granite Hills also placed second in the girls 4×100 freestyle relay in 4:17.50 as Dickman, Kora Alvernaz, Gaeir and Olivia Sapper alternated legs.

On the boys side, Pennings finished second in the boys IM (2:17.92) and second in the breaststroke (1:08.82) while Johnson placed third in the boys 100 freestyle (56.68) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:07.93).

Also, Vaughan Clark finished second in the backstroke (1:03.16) and third in the butterfly (1:01.54) while Owen Boggeln placed second in the 100 butterfly (1:01.51) and third in the breaststroke (1:09.16).

Joseph Alvernaz placed third in the backstroke (1:06.17) while Branson Riggs finished third in the 200 IM (2:31.54) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (6:08.53).

Alvernaz, Boggeln, Clark and Johnson swam to a second-place finish in the boys medley relay while Alvernaz, Boggeln, Pennings and Clark touched second in the boys 4×100 freestyle relay.

“We have some pretty young talent, which is exciting to watch,” Eagles boys coach Rhett Gaeir said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the depth we have had in the past. But we feel we have the potential to win league. We’re just happy to be here.”

Hungry like a wolf

West Hills received notable performances from senior twin sisters Camryn and Jordyn Gonzales and senior Tony Obregon.

Camryn Gonzales won the girls 200 freestyle in 2:05.44 and finished second in the butterfly (1:01.02) while Jordyn Gonzales won the backstroke (1:03.02) and finished second in both the girls 200 IM (2:15.62).

Obregon tied for first place in the boys 50 freestyle (23.57) and placed runner-up in the 100 freestyle (51.82).

Both Gonzales sisters, who are actually part of a triplet delivery, have both committed to the next level. Camryn Gonzales will attend Grinnell College in Iowa while Jordyn Gonzales has selected the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Both sisters have been swimming since they were 6.

Camryn was excited to announce her commitment to swim and study at Grinnell College.

“I look forward to continuing my academic and athletic career in a welcoming environment with supportive coaches and rigorous courses,” she posted on social media. “I can’t wait to be a part of the team.”

Searls said it took Obregon about a year to get the hang of competitive swimming.

“Late in his sophomore year he started working on his turns, once he got those down, he just took off,” the West Hills coach said.

Of note on the girls side, Ryann Gideon finished runner-up in both the girls 50 freestyle (26.86) and backstroke (1:05.73) events while Lauren Rump was second in the girls breaststroke (1:18.66) and third in the 200 freestyle (2:13.26).

Morgan Krueger was third in the girls 50 freestyle (27.90) and fourth in the 100 freesyle (1:04.49).

Also for the Wolf Pack, Zach Perry finished second in the boys 200 freestyle (2:05.86) and third in the 50 freestyle (25.50) while Trent Souttere placed third in both the boys 200 freestyle (2:07.58) and 500 freestyle (5:42.94).

West Hills finished runner-up in the girls 4×50 medley relay (2:01.50) and 4×50 freestyle relay (1:49.13).

Gideon, Rump, Krueger and Bella Triado each swam legs on the medley relay while Gideon, Rump, Dakota Rozeboom and Jordyn Gonzales swam legs on the freestyle relay.

Perry, Souttere, Garret Witt and Obregon finished second as a unit in the boys 4×50 freestyle relay in 1:41.07.

Dive card

In the diving competition, 11 student-athletes competed, including nine from the host Eagles.

Granite Hills recorded the top two finishers in the girls dive card, with Isabella Kamahi placing first with 186 points ahead of Kelly Henderson with 177.10 points. West Hills’ Samantha Clifton was third with 128 points.

The Eagles swept the top three place-finishes on the boys dive card: Luke Knierim finished first with 173.90 points while Gage Mowrey finished second with 167.15 points. Joseph Alvernaz rounded out the field in third place.

Notepad

The Granite Hills pool was renamed last year after Torres, who was instrumental in getting the pool built, passed away from cancer.

CIF has asked Granite Hills to host the section championship meet, providing it takes place.