Damien nearly pulls off shocker at Division 2 swim finals, finishing second to Crescenta Valley

Photo Gallery at CIF-SS Division 2 swim finals

Video of the final race of the meet, the 400 meter relay. Damien, a heavy underdog, almost pulled it off to win the team title. Damien’s in the fourth lane and winner Crescenta Valley (above them in lane five), battle it out, especially over the final two legs and 200 meters.

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN

RIVERSIDE — Without any individual champions at Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2 swimming finals at the Riverside Aquatics Center at Riverside Community College, Damien coach Andrew Gates knew the stars had to align for the Spartans to win their first team title since 2001.

And they almost did.

Damien trailed huge favorite Crescenta Valley by two points heading into the final race, the boys’ 400-meter relay, and they nearly pulled off a shocker behind the incredible performance from Carson May, Michael Forbes, Austin Miller and anchor Jason Haney.

Damien momentarily took the lead on Miller’s speedy third leg and Haney regained the lead and led with 25 meters to go, but Crescenta Valley’s super junior Young Tae Seo, who already had won two races earlier, overtook Haney in the final moments in a record-setting performance for both teams.

Crescenta Valley broke La Canada’s 2009 meet record (3:06.39) by winning the 400 relay in 3:05.50, ahead of Damien’s 3:05.92, which also would have broke La Canada’s record and set a Damien school record.

Crescenta Valley won the team title with 301 points. Damien, which would have won the title with a victory in the final race, finished second with 293 points. Los Osos was third with 203.

“It’s no fun to lose, but we gave it all we got,” Miller said. “You can’t do much better than your best ever (in the 400 relay). I’m proud of our guys.”

Gates, whose voice was barely audible, almost choked up talking about the final race.

“I have never seen four kids show that much heart in Damien school history in any sport,” Gates said. “That was all guts and all heart. We just lost to an amazing Crescenta Valley team. It would be nice to win, but we lost to a great team and the way we competed with the meet on the line was incredible.”

It was only fitting that Damien’s lone win came in one of the three relays.

The Spartans’ 200 freestyle quartet of Forbes, Miller, Haney and Adam Nelson rallied over the final two legs to touch home first in 1:25.30, ahead of second-place Los Osos (1:25.49). The Spartans’ Nelson, May, Corey Maier and Chad Cooper finished fourth in the 200-medley relay in 1:38.26. (To continue click thread)

Los Osos sophomore Kyle Coan had a big day winning two events and finishing fourth in another.

Coan won the boys’ 200 freestyle in 1:38.13 with Diamond Bar senior Sean Kao second (1:40.92) and Damien’s May sixth (1:42.62).

Coan won the 100 free in 45.14 with Haney sixth (46.46) and Kao seventh (46.55). Coan was also fourth in the 50 free (21.13) with Damien’s Miller seventh in 21.63.

Haney finished fourth in the 100 backstroke in 50.82. Walnut’s Kao was third in the 100 breaststroke in 57.80 and Damien’s Cooper was sixth in 58.86

Upland freshman Sonia Wang won two events.

Wang jumped out a to a big lead and cruised to victory in the girls’ 200 medley, winning in 2:00.57 with Ayala junior Ashley Tse second at 2:01.68. She returned later and won easily in the 100 butterfly in 54.72, with Los Osos’ Rebecca Coan second at 56.47.

“It’s a great experience, and love to thank my team for supporting me,” Wang said. “It’s been my goal for a long time to come here and do my best. This is a big meet, it’s always nice to win at the big meets.”

Tse won an individual title to go with her second-place finish in the butterfly. Tse cruised to victory in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.47. Walnut’s Sarah Le was ninth in 1:09.24.

The Upland girls of Maddie Budds, Sonia Wang, Lauren Loya and Oriana Wang took third in the 200 medley relay in 1:51.60

Oriana Wang was fifth in the marathon 500 free in 5:01.62 with Ayala sophomore Cori Casper sixth (5:04.80) and Glendora’s Nicole Gautreau ninth (5:09.40).

Damien’s May was sixth (4:34.56) in the boys 500 free with Diamond Bar freshman Ken Takahashi seventh at 4:38.51. Takahashi also was sixth in the boys 200 medley (1:55.34) with Damien’s Forbes eighth in 1:56.71.

Claremont’s Dylan Tarazona took third in the 100 butterfly in 49.46 and South Hills senior Edward Sanchez rallied to finish fifth in 51.62.

Walnut’s Christina Vu was the lone area swimmer in the 100 freestyle, finishing sixth in 53.17.

In the boys’ diving competition, Chino Hills brothers Kendall and Colby Rummell finished fifth and seventh respectively.

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