MONTEREY PARK, Calif. - In the first 39 years of the CCCAA State Swimming and Diving Championships, four colleges monopolized the state women's team crowns with one, Riverside City College, sneaking in a title in 1998. On Saturday, Sierra College became only the sixth school to win a women's championship with 470 points for the 2017 crown.
The Wolverines also are the fifth different team to win a state title in the past five years.
It was a sweet victory for Scott Decker, who has been head coach of the Sierra program for 22 seasons.
"It's very cool to see us become the first-ever Sierra state champion in women's swimming," Decker said. "Last year we took second and Orange Coast just smoked everyone. But we told our girls that just stay eligible, do the things you have to do return to the team, and work hard in the pool. We knew we had the makings of a really good team. This was just a great team effort. Winning the 400 medley relay was huge for us and gave us a big leg up on that first day of the meet."
Claudia Guillory, Abigail Brouwer, Lauren Ostrander, Corinne Linke, and Kirsten DePauw came together to win two Sierra relays titles, including the meet-opening 200 freestyle relay. Sierra won without an individual title.
San Diego Mesa was runner-up with 322 points and Santa Rosa scored third in 310.
With 533 points, Golden West College won its fourth state men's team title in the last five years and 16th state crown in its history (the first in 1985). Defending state champ Sierra placed second 101 points behind the Rustlers while Riverside City was third with 379.
The Rustlers won three relays titles all with the Chadd Maurer anchoring and then Maurer picked up the team's only individual title, a win in the 100 freestyle. Garrett Wasserman, Blake Williamson, Jacob Thompson, Aidan Lund, Miles Dunn, and Sonny Ford all were members contributing to the relay victories.
First-year GWC head coach Tracy Maurer, Chadd's father, won state in his first year directing the program.
"Golden West's program is one that is about tradition," Maurer said. "The swimmers know what kind of success was set before them and they were determined here to get the job done. It's special to see my son Chadd win that 100 and great for us to finish the last relay as the winning team. But it's hard to be the coach's son. We had a rule in that locker room from day 1 that there was nothing he could say there to his teammates because this was a team first."
The East Los Angeles College Swim Stadium continues to produce state meet records with five at the '17 event (all on the women's side) to increase the record count to 52 in the seven years the Monterey Park campus hosted the state meet.
San Mateo's Erica Vong was named Women's Swimmer of the Year as she recorded three event wins and broke the state meet records in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Santa Rosa's Drew Sipple and Riverside's Farouk Zaoui were Co-Men's Swimmers of the Year with two event wins each.
Finally, Cuesta women's swimmer Lauren Davis pulled a double state meet record as she broke the 200-yard breaststroke mark in the Saturday morning prelim and broke it again to win the state title in the finals. (See the event recaps later in release).
WOMEN STANDINGS: 1. Sierra 470, 2. San Diego Mesa 322, 3. Santa Rosa 310, 4. Santa Barbara CC 269, 5. Las Positas 268, 6. Palomar 263, 7. Orange Coast 214, 8. Cuesta 196, 9. Riverside CC 178, 10. San Mateo 173
MEN STANDINGS: 1. Golden West 573, 2. Sierra 466, 3. Riverside CC 411, 4. Las Positas 276, 5. Santa Rosa 268, 6. San Diego Mesa 196, T7. Diablo Valley, Orange Coast 191, 9. Pasadena CC 148, 10. San Joaquin Delta 127.
Event 29: Women's 1,650 Freestyle: 1. Melissa Cienega, Pasadena City, 17:46.85
They may have to call her "The Closer" because that's what Pasadena City College freshman Melissa Cienega has turned into with her second state title crown won on another rally near the finish. After beating Orange Coast's Sierra Cox with a strong final 25 yards in the 500 free on Friday, she did it again to another OCC swimmer Katya Burjakowsky (17:47.66) in the mile swim. Burjakowsky led from the start and actually built a 6-second lead by the 600-yard mark. But Cienega picked up steam and chipped away until snatching the lead with 50 yards to go. The two swimmers stayed neck-and-neck in the last 25 but Cienega won by .81. Amaya Batiza (Las Positas) scored third at 17:56.02.
Event 30: Men's 1,650 Freestyle: 1. Drew Sipple, Santa Rosa, 15:39 flat
Last year, Sipple settled for silver in the mile swim after being beaten for gold in the last 25 yards. He was not going to let that happen this time as he captured the state crown in a 31-plus second rout over the rest of the field. Sipple made it look easy with a steady stroke and consistent intervals. Pasadena City's Sydney Odent placed second at 16:10.37 while Golden West's Connor Wallace was third in 16:17.81. Sipple is a double champ with his win the 500 freestyle on Thursday.
Event 31: Women's 200 Backstroke: 1. Erica Vong, San Mateo, 2:01.75
*new state meet record
The three fastest times in state meet history in the 200-yard backstroke all occurred in the past three seasons, including the two set by Golden West's Madison Varisco in 2015 and 2016. But Saturday belonged to San Mateo's Vong, who sets her second state record of the meet, beating Varisco's '15 mark by .44 of a second. Vong dominated the field as she beat second-place Claudia Guillory (Sierra) by 5.77 seconds. Hailey Vance (Santa Rosa) was third in 2:07.10. For Vong, it was her third event win of the meet.
Event 32: Men's 200 Backstroke: 1. Samuel Jo, Pasadena City, 1:49.79
Jo is a double state meet champ (100 backstroke) as he blasted away his own PCC school record mark by three seconds. The freshman was in third after the first 50, but took the lead by the midway mark. His final 27.53 was a burst of speed that pulled him away from second-place Aidan Lund (Golden West, 1:52.53) and Las Positas' Emil Graversen in third at 1:53.06.
Event 33: Women's 100 Freestyle: 1. Anna Stahlak, San Diego Mesa, 51.84
Yet another double champ comes from this event as Stahlak's second 50 of 26.78 was too much for early leader Samm Crocker of Golden West (52.89), who took the silver. Santa Barbara's Reed Ellestead grabbed the bronze in 53.22
Event 34: Men's 100 Freestyle: 1. Chadd Maurer, Golden West, 44.93
After winning the 200 free state title last year, Maurer powered his way to beat out a bevy of solid freestylers in Santa Monica's Zhen Teo (45.38, second), Orange Coast's Donny Hadden (45.53, third), Santa Rosa's R.J. Williams (45.87, fourth), and Riverside's Maxence Bouvier (45.88) for the state 100 title. Maurer was the silver medalist last year when he swam a 44.62.
Event 35: Women's 200 Breaststroke: 1. Lauren Davis, Cuesta, 2:18.88
*new state meet record in prelims, *breaks state meet record in finals
In the morning prelims, Davis smashed Foothill's Layna Auchard's 2015 state meet record of 2:24.24 with a time of 2:21.39 while West Valley's Dominique Yoder also beat that old mark at 2:23.96. But in the finals, Davis raised her game even more and wiped out her am record by 2.5 seconds in picking up the gold medal. Yoder picked the wrong year for her fast swims as she grabbed silver in a swift 2:22.95. Santa Rosa's Taylor Sargis scored a bronze in 2:25.13.
Event 36: Men's 200 Breaststroke: 1. Darren Chan Chin Wah, De Anza, 2:01.99
It was an old-fashioned photo finish between three swimmers at the wall as everyone had to look at the scoreboard to see state champ Wah's numbers come up just .08 ahead of second-place Golden West's Santiago Rivera (2:02.07) and .24 in front of third-place Bang Kai Chao (2:02.23). Santa Rosa's Bradley-John Erickson, not to be outdone in the race of multiple names, was a fast fourth in 2:02.51.
Event 37: Women's 200 Butterfly: 1. Emma Thomas, Palomar, 2:04.87
Thomas and West Valley's Mary Faridnia battled for 150 yards together before Thomas swam 33.34 over the final 50 to give her distance and capture the state title. Faridnia was second in 2:08.51 and Santa Rosa's Jasmine Alger placed third in 2:11.46. Orange Coast's Sierra Cox closed fast for fourth at 2:11.67.
Event 38: Men's 200 Butterfly: 1. Farouk Zaoui, Riverside City, 1:52.67
The last individual event was an Orange Empire Conference war to the wall with Zaoui getting his hand to the wall .17 ahead of Golden West's Sonny Ford (1:52.84) for the longer fly title. Zaoui was among many who were double champions at the '17 state meet. Santa Rosa's Sipple, another double champ, took third here in 1:54.06.
Event 39: Women's 400 Freestyle Relay: 1. San Diego Mesa, 3:32.49
(Samantha Schmidt, Andreanna Mill, Victoriana Gonzalez, Anna Stahlak)
The Olympians, led by double sprint freestyle champ and anchor Stahlak, had an early battle with second-place Sierra (3:35.34) and third-place Palomar (3:37.55) before Stahlak distanced her team some more over the final 100 for a 2.85 second victory.
Event 40: Men's 400 Freestyle Relay: 1. Golden West, 3:04.85
(Garrett Wasserman, Blake Williamson, Jacob Thompson, Chadd Maurer)
This event is always super-charged with pre-race music firing up the troops and it was fitting that the state team champion Rustlers looked to anchor Maurer to close down a relay crown just .61 of a second faster than silver-medalist Sierra (3:05.24) and third place Riverside (3:05.86). The first five teams in the relay were in the exact order of finish for the first five teams in the final men's standings.
Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA, CCCAA Meet SID