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Sunset still soaring


The Apollo boys win big, go to 3-0 and look formidable yet again

by: MILES VANCE - CHURNING - Sunset senior Cameron Stitt makes waves en route to winning the 500-yard freestyle against Westview last week.

CEDAR MILL — An influenza epidemic.

An big rash of academic suspensions.

A bus crash.

Beyond those sorts of hinderances, it’s hard to imagine anything else stopping or even slowing the Sunset boys swim team.

The two-time defending Class 6A state champions showed last week that they haven’t lost a step — or a millisecond — in 2013, racing to their third straight win in Metro League competition when they sped past Westview 115-55 at Sunset Swim Center on Jan. 10. The win lifted Sunset’s Metro record to 3-0 and kept it in a first-place tie with Jesuit.

For a team with sky-high expectations, last week’s win was just what the team needed to spice up a month filled with daily-double workouts and tired muscles.

“I think we’re all excited, especially the seniors, to go out there and set some records because we know our team is really good for the state of Oregon,” said Sunset senior Cameron Stitt, who won the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle, and also swam on two of the Apollos’ three winning relay teams.

Westview’s boys were well aware of what they were up against.

“They’re even faster than last year,” said Westview senior Jacob Weitzel, winner of the 100 freestyle. “They’ve got all their state returners and then they got a new freshman who will make state this year.”

Sunset was its usual dominant self against the Wildcats, winning 10 of the day’s 11 events, finishing second seven times and third another six times.

Stitt, who will swim next year on scholarship at the University of Michigan, got it done in the 200 IM with a winning time of 1 minute, 56.89 seconds — more than 11 seconds faster than Weitzel, the second-place finisher. He then came back four races later to take the 500 free with a mark of 4:38.63; freshman teammate Tristan Furnary was second there with a finishing time of 5:02.67.

“I’ve been working on (the 200 IM),” Stitt said. “It’s in contention if I’m going to do that or the 200 free at state. I’m decent at all four strokes so I can put it together pretty well. I’m just trying to decide.”

As for his 500 — Stitt is the two-time defending state champion in the event — Stitt said he expects to pick up a lot more speed in the three weeks leading up to district and then to the Class 6A state meet.

“I felt like I was just really cruising, especially at the beginning, and I was just slower than my fastest time in a dual meet last year so that was good,” he said.

There was more success for Sunset too, and a lot of it.

Other Apollo winners included:

Furnary in the 200 freestyle at 1:53.34; Cole Hurwitz in the 50 freestyle at 23.03, and again in the 100 breaststroke at 1:00.00; Jonathan Zoucha in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.90, and again in the 100 backstroke with a mark of 57.31.

In the relays, Sunset’s Furnary, Kasey Kwong, Jordan Hurwitz and Zoucha who set the pace in the 200 medley relay at 1:39.39. In the 200 free relay, Jordan Hurwitz, Cole Hurwitz, Kwong and Stitt went 1:31.14 to win. And in the 400 free relay, Josh Noll, Zoucha, Furnary and Stitt posted the day’s top time of 3:24.95.

Other top individual finishes for Sunset included: Kwong, second in the 50 freestyle at 23.14; Jordan Hurwitz, second in the 100 fly at 53.67, and second again in the 100 breaststroke at 1:01.32; Noll, second in the 100 free at 53.81; and Blake Hulstrom, second in the 100 back at 59.81.

The cupboard wasn’t completely bare for the Wildcats, though. Westview, which fell to 1-2 in league and fifth place, got its lone win from Weitzel and took second place in another four races.

Weitzel came through for his win in the 100 freestyle, swimming 52.73 to beat Noll by almost a second.

“I won it so that was good for the team, but it wasn’t anywhere near my best,” Weitzel said. “We’re training pretty hard, but we’ll taper for district and state so I should be going faster there.”

Weitzel, who also took second in the 200 IM behind Stitt, said he’s still weighing his options for which events he’ll swim at district. He was second in the 500 free and fourth in the butterfly a year ago but has yet to decide which events he’ll swim in 2013.

“I’ve really stopped doing so much distance free work to work on the IM,” he said, adding that the 100 free was a likely choice because “I think Carson Brindle from Lincoln will be in it, but I don’t really know anyone else who will focus on the 100.”

While Westview didn’t win again, it did finish second in four races, with Weitzel second in the IM, Reuben White second in the 200 free at 1:56.33, the team of Andres La Rosa Chavez, Andrew Yoon, Weitzel and Tal Lind second in the 200 medley relay at 1:43.43, and the team of La Rosa, Lind, Yoon and Weitzel second in the 200 free relay at 1:35.96.

In upcoming meets, Westview meets Lincoln at Sunset Swim Center at 4 p.m. today (Thursday), while Sunset faces Southridge at Conestoga Swim Center at 3 p.m. today.

To see a complete photo gallery from this event, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.