Valencia Girls, Boys Repeat as Foothill League Champions Amid Flurry of Meet Records

Valencia High School girls and boys emerged from the Foothill League Championships on Thursday with the team titles for the second year in a row, in a fast meet that saw 11 records go down.

Girls’ Meet

The girls’ meet was very close, with Valencia and Hart running neck-to-neck for most of the meet. In the end, Valencia’s depth proved too much for Hart, but the difference was only 20 points. A big factor in the Valencia girls’ team’s efforts was Swimmer of the Meet, Nikol Popov, who won the 200 IM (2:00.45) and 100 breast (1:00.63) in record-breaking times. She also contributed to Valencia’s first-place 200 medley and 200 free relays, both of which set league records.

Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus capped off her high school career winning the 200 free (1:49.10) and 100 back (54.68), culminating in a total of eight individual league titles and five league meet records over the last four seasons.

Valencia kicked things off with a league meet record of 1:45.74 in the medley relay with Katie Blasing (27.78), Popov (28.07), Kaila Wong (25.95), and Julia Wolf (23.94). Hart’s Alyssa Schultz, Mik Ranslem, Tamara Santoyo, and Sarah Coblenz placed second with 1:46.83, while Saugus (Weitzeil, Cameron Helm, Allison Schepper, and Courtney Skelley) took third in 1:50.15.

In the 200 free, Weitzeil’s 1:49.10, while just off her prelims time of 1:48.77, got her to the wall a couple of body lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Hart’s Schultz was runner-up in 1:51.48; West Ranch freshman Sophie Morici took third in 1:52.22. Weitzeil was dominant in the 100 back as well, winning with a time of 54.68, nearly three seconds ahead of Hart’s Ranslem (57.36) and Valencia’s Blasing (59.38).

Popov won the 200 IM with an even larger margin; Alexa Skorus Neely of Canyon came in second at 2:04.51, ahead of Popov’s Valencia teammate Hailey Chua (2:11.59). In the 100 breast, Popov became the first Foothill League girl to swim a sub-1:01 when she won in 1:00.63. Teammate Wong went 1:04.85 for second; Skorus Neely placed third in 1:05.44.

Hart’s Santoyo earned a pair of titles in the sprint freestyle events. First she won a tight battle over Valencia’s Wolf in the 50 free, touching her out 23.93 to 24.09. Third place went to West Ranch’s Jennifer Wong (24.86). Next Santoyo took the 100 title with 52.11 over Valencia teammates Annalena Assaiante (53.72) and Wolf (54.72).

Ranslem of Hart won the 100 fly in 55.16, setting a new meet record in the process. Skelley of Saugus came in second with 57.77, while West Ranch’s Morici edged Valencia’s Wong, 58.16 to 58.24), for third.

Schultz of Hart took the crown in the 500 free going 5:00.41. Teammate Brooke Helgeson was runner-up with 5:06.96, while Valencia’s Tiffany Farfan (5:14.66) and Jennifer Yamauchi (5:14.90) came to the wall nearly together for third and fourth.

Valencia’s 200 free relay (Wolf-24.91, Popov-23.32, Assaiante-24.67, Wong-24.62) set a meet record with their winning 1:37.52. Hart (Melissa Santoyo, Madison Wolpert, Coblenz, and Dani Merlo) took second with 1:41.50; Canyon (Rachel Alfred, Mackenzie Krestul, Sasha Kumar, and Skorus Neely) placed third in 1:43.66.

It was the quartet from Hart that took the 400 free relay: Ranslem (52.96), Schultz (51.98), Helgeson (54.41), and Tamara Santoyo (52.55) combined for 3:31.90. Saugus (Weitzeil-49.02, Helm, Schepper, and Skelley) were second with 3:35.49. Valencia eked out third place over West Ranch, 3:38.50 to 3:38.56.

Boys’ Meet

The boys’ meet was much more one-sided, despite the efforts of Hart’s Cole Cogswell, who set three meet records and earned Swimmer of the Meet honors. Cogswell’s individual records came as he won the 100 free (44.80) and 100 back (49.50), and as part of Hart’s record-breaking 400 free relay.

Valencia opened the score with a league meet record of 1:34.81 in the 200 medley relay from Logan Propst (25.147), Kevin Dai (26.63), Johnny Ellery (22.09), and Tyler Tran (20.92). Hart (Austin Barreiro, Jency Loera, Cogswell, and Adam Osowski) finished second in 1:35.85. Saugus (Zachary Zenteno, Tanner Olson, Tim Lim, and Will Karren) came in third at 1:37.97.

Valencia’s Ellery won the first of his two individual events in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over West Ranch’s Ian Brower in the 200 free. Ellery touched out Brower 1:41.57 to 1:41.87 for the win. Hart’s Osowski placed third in 1:42.26. Ellery then went on to win the 100 fly in 49.71, with Hart’s Barreiro (51.53), Valencia’s Brian Buxton (51.79), and Saugus’ Karren (51.87) just behind.

Valencia’s Dai lowered his own league meet record in the 200 IM, touching in 1:51.04. Olson of Saugus placed second in 1:55.50, while Sak Holter of Valencia went 1:58.21 for third.

Barreiro of Hart (21.47) earned the 50 free crown with a very narrow victory over Valencia’s Tran (21.65), Karren of Saugus (21.69), and Buxton of Valencia (21.83).

Hart’s Cogswell erased a 1999 record set by Anthony Ervin in the 100 free (45.41) with his winning time of 44.80. Valencia’s Tran went 46.58 for second place; Ryan Brimer of Hart placed third in 48.10. Cogswell’s second league meet record came with a 49.50 victory in the 100 back. Zenteno of Saugus (53.97) and Propst of Valencia (54.85) came in second and third.

Brower of West Ranch won the 500 free in 4:39.33, just ahead of Hart’s Osowski (4:40.30). Brandon Hwang of Valencia rounded out the podium with 4:51.00.

Valencia crushed the field in the 200 free relay, winning in 1:24.85 with Dai (21.36), Ellery (21.22), Buxton (21.44), and Tran (20.83). Hart (Brimer, John Wagner, Alex Cardia, and Loera) came to the wall just .06 ahead of West Ranch (Eric Sonheim, Ian Werner, Luke Chandler, and Brower), in 1:32.53.

Olson of Saugus broke the final individual meet record of the day, turning in a 56.81 to win the 100 breast. Valencia teammates Dai (58.24) and Nelson Guzman (1:02.37) came in second and third.

The Hart quartet of Barreiro (46.37), Brimer (47.41), Osowski (46.69), and Cogswell (44.65) broke the meet record in the 400 free relay with a combined 3:05.12. They finished a half a pool length ahead of Saugus’ Olson, Zenteno, Karren, and Lim (3:12.10) and Valencia’s William Chung, Buxton, Shane Hanpanit, and Propst (3:17.93).

Final Standings

Girls Varsity

  1. Valencia 519
  2. Hart 495
  3. Saugus 306
  4. West Ranch 232
  5. Canyon 173

Boys Varsity

  1. Valencia 556
  2. Hart 405
  3. Saugus 281
  4. West Ranch 273
  5. Canyon 176
  6. Golden Valley 85



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James Jones
5 years ago


About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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