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Ross backs way to school record

Michael Traum

Sarah Ross broke the pool record and collected a personal-best time in the 100-meter backstroke to lead the South Tahoe High girls swim team to its fourth win against no defeats at the South Tahoe Recreation Center on Friday.

The sophomore, who has more energy than a nuclear power plant, posted a time of 1:01.13. A smooth, aggressive style put Ross well ahead coming out of the first turn. By the time she stretched for the wall, no other competitor was within a half-pool length. She also won the 50 free.

“It was weird because no one was near me. I want to qualify for state since I missed it by only one one-hundreth (of a second) last year,” said Ross, who had more fans rooting for her than the Chicago Cubs. “My mom couldn’t be here. That was a bummer. But with all my friends out here supporting me, it’s really cool.”

The Lady Vikings collected two wins in the three-way meet – 86-84 over Truckee and 120-45 over Hug. Truckee would’ve won league with a win. The Viking boys squad also scored double, taking Hug, 75-63, and Truckee, 87-12. The boys remained unbeaten as well.

“It was a great team effort for both teams, as kids swam events they had never tried before to gain enough points for (us) to come out victorious,” said Tahoe coach Stacy Romagnolo.

Kristi Collins came up big for the Vikes, taking both the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. The freshman, who remains undefeated in league, said a rededication to practice is paying off.

“In the beginning of the year, I wasn’t improving and kinda got sick of swimming. But I started to pick it up in practice and my times are all getting better,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to beat me. (In the IM) the girl was right next to me and it was like, ‘Oh, no.’ I just put my head down, tried to kick harder, turn over quicker and (hoped) to not run out of breath.”

Necessity forced Denise Bogard into the 100 free for the first time this season. The freshman, who won the 100 breast, promptly posted a second-place result.

“It was really surprising. The girl in front of me was ahead and she was the reason I kept going, trying to swim faster,” said the admittedly competitive Bogard. “Competition for me is one of the best things. I do better under pressure.”

Jamie Hansen, known as a highly ranked junior skier, had to switch from track to swimming this season because of a completely blown left knee suffered last November. With the continuing rehabilitation comes a newfound appreciation for aquatic sports.

“It thought skiing was hard. Swimming is no comparison. I’m getting in great shape and I feel like I’m back to 100 percent,” said Hansen, who expects to be back on skis sometime in May. “(In swimming) the people are really friendly and it’s all about finishing. You just want to get points for the team.”

Nicole Fruitman posted firsts in the 200 free and 500 free, while Lisa Borges was third in 200 free; Kelly Reiner, fourth, 200 free; Amelia Owens, second, 200 IM; Hansen, fourth, 200 IM; Chantel Touryan, fourth, 50 free and 100 free; Chantelle Young, third, 50 free; Fernanda Attie, fourth in 100 fly and second 100 breast; Kim Hunt, third in 100 free and 100 back; Shaina Willen, second in 500 free and 100 back; Lisa Goethals, third, 500 free; and Andrea Allen, third, 100 breast. The relay team of Ross, Collins, Bogard and Nicole Buelle was first in the 200 medley and 200 free events.

On the boys side, Russell Grant picked up a pair of personal bests while winning the 100 free and 200 free. The sophomore posted a 54.34 in the 100 and 2:01 in the 200. An extended effort level helped to sweep the events in his favorite stroke.

“I just went all out for the whole thing, as hard as I could. It’s the only stroke I’m really good,” said Grant, who continued a two-year undefeated streak in the Sierra League. “I need to concentrate on my foot turns because they’re not really fast enough. A 52 to 53 (seconds) can make it to state. I think I can do it.”

Senior Nick Romagnolo continued his four-year undefeated streak in the Sierra League by winning the 200 IM and 100 breast. Dustin Rath was second in the 200 IM and 10 free, with Forest Armstrong was third in the 200 free and second in 500 free; Tommy Luerken, fifth in the 200 free and third 100 back; and Scott Miller, first in 100 fly and second in 100 back. The boys relay team of Romagnolo, Grant, Rath and miller was first in the 200 medley and 200 free events.


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