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CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Cerritos swimmers dominate Division IV finals as girls win third straight title

swim pool


By Loren Kopff

The Cerritos High girls swimmers didn’t just win their third straight California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division IV championship. They routed the competition in a historic way last Friday night at the Riverside Aquatics Complex.

The Lady Dons racked up a Southern Section record 455 points and was nowhere in sight of second place Alta Loma, which finished with 173 points. The 282 points that Cerritos won by is also the widest margin of victory in Southern Section history. Last season, the girls easily defeated Orcutt Academy 449-322 and in 2013, the Lady Dons barely won the title by three points over Orcutt Academy (415-412)

“We were just having a conversation with all of the kids, talking to them about how CIF championships don’t come easy, that it’s really a testament to their hard work and everything that they put in,” said Cerritos head coach Paul Park. “For our senior girls, this is three in a row. For our senior boys, this is two in a row. It’s a good footprint that they’re leaving for the school as they graduate.”

The girls wasted no time in its dominant performance as the 200-yard medley relay team of seniors Kiri Harvey, Alexa Ocampo, Roxanna Yu and sophomore Maya Valdoria set a division record with a time of 1:50.09. Sophomore Arina Yu then won the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.61) while Ocampo finished in sixth (2:04.07). Through the first two events, Cerritos had already racked up 91 points on its way to the rout while no other school had more than 38 points. In fact, Cerritos would go wire to wire throughout the meet.

Later in the meet, Harvey would win the 100-yard butterfly (58.71) while Valdoria was right behind her at 58.97. The girls would also set a division record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with senior Julia Reyes, junior Megan Ma, freshman Breanna Rigor and Arina Yu setting the mark at 1:39.74. The Lady Dons wrapped up their championship by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:41.37) with Harvey, Rigor, Arina Yu and Roxanna Yu.

Roxanna Yu also finished in third place in the 100-yard freestyle (54.52) and in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.73) while Harvey came in third place in the 100-yard backstroke (59.49). Fourth place finishers included Rigor in the 200-yard IM (2:14.56) and Ma in the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.72).

“We don’t think of [winning] as in points,” Park said. “We just go out there and swim. We just tell the kids to swim, do your best, get your best times and go out and win your races.”

For the second time in school history, the boys went back to back. After picking up the title last year over Citrus Valley (299-217), the boys got by Malibu, picking up 279 points and winning by 24 points. The boys also won the 2001 and 2002 titles.

“I know we had a couple of years where we were runners-up and I think it takes that sometimes to get to that next step,” Park said.

The big winner of the meet was senior Angel Alcala, who set division records in the 100-yard butterfly (49.47) and in the 100-yard backstroke (49.58). In addition, Alcala has qualified for the Inaugural CIF State High School Swimming and Diving Championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex today and tomorrow.

“I think it’s a big deal,” Park said of going to the state championships. “We want to represent our school; our area really well. We’re sending four girls up there and also four guys. Angel Alcala is ranked in the top 10 two events. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Alcala was part of the 200-yard medley relay team that won with a time of 1:38.00. Senior Dominick Nevarez, junior Joseph Gomez and sophomore Alex Alcala were also on that relay team. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of the senior Jeffrey Park, Alex and Angel Alcala and Gomez came in second with a time of 3:17.07 while Nevarez placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.02.

In other swimming and diving news, Valley Christian senior and University of Nevada, Reno-bound Rebekah Dominik won the girls diving finals with 527 points. She was nearly 30 points better than Michelle Lee of Fairmont Prep. Whitney freshmen Adriane Tam (422.90 points) and Alyson Tam (410.45) finished in ninth and 10th places respectively in the diving finals.