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Foothill League swimming: Hart tradition

Indians boys, girls keep ownership of championships

Posted: May 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart High swimmer Mik Ranslem swims the butterfly stroke in the 200-yard individual medley in the Foothill League finals on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

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The Foothill League swim finals turned out to be quite the day for freshmen.

Saugus’ Abbey Weitzeil set two Foothill League and William S. Hart Union High School District records at the Foothill League finals, taking the title in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 48.23 seconds) and 500 free (4:53.24) to earn female Swimmer of the Meet honors on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

Weitzeil lowered her own record in the 200 free, set at Tuesday’s league prelims, and broke former Saugus High swimmer Heather Boylan’s district record of 4:54.87 set in 1998 in the 500 free.

“She’s just — nothing describes her but a freak of nature,” said Saugus head coach Vicky Donnelly. “She really just is amazing in and out of the water.”

But the freshman heroics didn’t end there.

Hart’s Mik Ranslem matched Weitzeil with two wins in the 200 individual medley (2:07.41) and 100 butterfly (57.10) to help push the Hart girls to the team Foothill League title 469-415 over second-place Saugus — the Indians 30th title in the last 31 seasons.

The Hart boys, on the other hand, ran away with their 17th consecutive title, outscoring second-place Valencia 592-395.5.

In all, Ranslem picked up three league championships on the day, adding a relay win in the 400-free relay with teammates Nicolette Barreiro, Megan Schultz and Emma Osowski.

“(I felt good coming into the day), but you can’t really feel secure until after the race,” she said. “You can’t count anyone out.”

So when did she finally feel comfortable?

“Maybe like the last half of the last 25 (yards),” Ranslem said.

The Indians also picked up an individual league title from a freshman on the boys side, when Cole Cogswell won the 50 free in 21.82 seconds.

“I’m tremendously proud of my team,” said Hart head coach Steve Neale, who saw his squad win 11 titles on the day. “They keep alive the tradition. They don’t make it a myth. They make it a reality. Some people think the tradition means they’re entitled to it, but they didn’t.”

Cogswell came as close as it comes to a second title, but was out-touched in the 100 free by .01 seconds to eventual boys Swimmer of the Meet Jonathan Morsch of Saugus.

Morsch gave Saugus the sweep of the two awards with his two individual titles in the 200 free (1:43.22) and 100 free (47.76).

“I could see him coming after,” Morsch said of Cogswell in the 100-free race. “Knowing him for so long, I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of winning. It’s bragging rights.”

West Ranch’s Philip Wong picked up a win in the 100 butterfly (52.32), barely beating Hart’s Mitch Johnson (52.36).

But outside of Wong and Morsch, the day belonged to the Indians.

Hart won eight of the 11 boys events.

Matt Johnson doubled with wins in the 200 individual medley (1:56.64) and 500 free (4:36.14).
The relay teams of Chris Cogswell, Quincy Liu, Mitch Johnson and Griffin Scott (1:39.48 in the 200-medley relay), Kevin Moore, Naphong Aneksirikul, Scott and Cole Cogswell (1:30.94 in the 200-free relay) and Mitch Johnson, Matt Johnson, Chris Cogswell, and Cole Cogswell (3:12.68 in the 400-free relay) all won to sweep the relays for Hart.  Kris Korth took the 100 breaststroke, coming from behind to defeat West Ranch's Josh Lin by .02 seconds, 1:00.15 to 1:00.17.

“We won all of our league meets, so we were pretty confident coming in,” said Cole Cogswell. “We had to be at our best, and we’d take it.”

As close as the girls meet was, Neale was expecting it to be even closer — saying Tuesday that he thought it would come down to a margin of less than 30 points.

But the Indians jumped out to an early lead, and secured the title before the final relay event.

Hart won four individual events in the girls meet, with Ranslem’s two wins, the victory in the 400-relay and Schultz, Nicole Antoniuk, Asia Antoniuk and Barreiro winning in the 200-medley relay (1:50.73).

Saugus also took four individual events, with Weitzeil’s two wins, Caitlin Baker’s 1:05.48 in the 100 breaststroke and the 200-free relay team of Katy Sonksen, Kristin Threw, Kaylyn Sawa and Weitzeil winning in 1:42.23.

“Overall we had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Donnelly said. “I don’t think anyone expected it to be that close. When I first started with the team in 2009, or 2008 I knew it was going to take a while. We’ve finally reached that point where the fruits of our labor (are being seen).”

West Ranch’s Taylor Poliseno won two titles, taking the 100 free in 53.04 and taking a co-championship in the closest race of the day.

In the 50 free, Poliseno and Valencia’s Sophie Fiscella both touched the wall at 23.99 for co-titles.

Now, with most of the winners having qualified for CIF-Southern Section Division I prelims, they’ll be right back in the water on May 10 at Riverside Community College — and as good as some of the league’s swimmers were on Thursday, they might just be getting better.

“It’s really exciting,” Weitzeil said. “Coming into high school, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had a good idea, but I didn’t expect this.”

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