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Simply the best

Sunset wins its third straight state crown in record-breaking fashion


by: MILES VANCE - HERE COME THE CHAMPS - The Sunset boys swim team won its third straight state title in record-breaking fashion on Saturday, including (from left) Jordan Hurwitz, Jonathan Zoucha, Cameron Stitt, Cole Hurwitz, Tristan Furnary (back), coach Adam Farber, Kasey Kwong, Josh Noll, Calder Dorn, Braden Esping and Jack Callahan. Not pictured, Blake Hulstrom.

GRESHAM — Sunset’s boys swimmers knew that they were the best team in 2013.

But the Apollos wanted to prove even more than that at this year’s Class 6A state swim meet, held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College — they wanted to prove that they were the best ever.

And after two days of punishing the rest of the state’s best with its incredible depth and a handful of record-breaking times, Sunset did just that, scoring a state meet-record total of 260 points, and winning the state meet by a record margin of 140 points. Southridge’s boys were second with 120 points and Jesuit third at 105 (for more on those teams’ state meet efforts, please see the story on A12).

“I think the thing that was nicest was that we managed to win one more time to go for our three-peat. It was just the most exciting thing,” said Sunset senior Cole Hurwitz, the Outstanding Swimmer in the meet. “We wanted to leave that last mark and we definitely did that today. We left it all in the pool. We just left behind what we could for the next generations.”

“It’s great. It’s unbelievable to finish on this note,” said Sunset senior Jordan Hurwitz, who notched top-three finishes in his two individual races and swam. “Definitely with that number of points, we made a statement.”

“Our team’s really, really good this year, and it’s really fun to do this with all of them,” said Sunset senior Cameron Stitt, who won his fourth straight 500-yard freestyle title, took second in the 200 free and also swam on two winning, state-meet record-breaking relays. “I’m just really happy I get to be part of this team because it’s really a great group of guys, not just as swimmers and athletes, but also just as people.”

The Apollos established their dominance right from the get-go in Saturday’s finals, speeding to a new meet record of 1 minute, 33.54 seconds in the day’s first event, with Tristan Furnary, Cole Hurwitz, Jonathan Zoucha and Stitt winning the 200 medley relay by almost three full seconds over Southridge. In the process, they broke the record of 1:35.61 that Zoucha, Stitt and both Hurwitzes set a year ago.

“We all went out there and swam really fast on our first relay,” said Stitt, who swam the anchor leg in the event.

The Apollos muscled up again in the day’s first individual event, the 200 freestyle, where for the second straight week, Zoucha outduelled Stitt — the 2012 Class 6A state champion — to win. This time, Zoucha rallied in the latter half of the race to win in 1:39.23, while Stitt was second at 1:39.41.by: MILES VANCE - TOPS IN 200 - Sunset junior Jonathan Zoucha splashes to victory in the 200-yard freestyle at the Class 6A state meet at Mt. Hood Community College on Saturday.

“I just wanted to go fast and see what I could do. Obviously, it worked out OK,” Zoucha said. “I just knew that once that last 100 started, I just needed to sprint. It was a good race.”

“Jon always likes to back-half it, so I was trying to take it out fast enough that he wouldn’t be able to get me at the end, but I was just short of that,” Stitt said. “It was a really close race.”

The Apollos were strong again in the 200 individual medley, with Cole Hurwitz finishing second to Barlow’s Nicholas Thorne for a second year in a row, and Sunset senior Kasey Kwong taking third. Thorne’s win came at 1:51.93, Hurwitz was second at 1:52.14 and Kwong third at 1:55.64.

“It was a best time for me so I can’t complain. I’m just glad I had someone so fast next to me to push me that hard,” Hurwitz said. “I needed a little more on the breaststroke since he’s got such a fast freestyle, but I think I put up a good fight, a lot better than last year anyway. It was definitely a great swim.”

The Apollos had two finalists in the day’s next race as well, with Jordan Hurwitz taking third in the 50 freestyle at 21.84 and senior teammate Braden Esping placing sixth with a 22.39.

Next up, Zoucha sped to second place in the 100 butterfly race, finishing at 50.86 there and trailing only two-time champion Max Yakubovich of Southridge, who clocked a 49.80. And in the next event, Furnary cranked out a 47.16 to take third in the 100 freestyle.

Stitt put the Apollos back in the winner’s circle in the 500 freestyle, an event where he broke the state-meet record by two seconds in his preliminary heat on Friday with a 4:25.21. The Michigan-bound senior wasn’t able to replicate that time on Saturday, but still won the event for the fourth straight year, this time posting a 4:33.89 to easily outdistance runner-up Jacob Weitzel of Westview (he finished in 4:43.73).by: MILES VANCE - RECORD SETTER - Sunset senior Cameron Stitt set a new meet record in the 500-yard freestyle at the Class 6A state meet, and also won his fourth straight championship in the 500 in the process.

“Not winning it this year would have been really disappointing after winning it for three years,” Stitt said. “I kind of decided three days before that I was going to go for (the state record) in prelims and give myself two shots because when you’re trying to beat a record like that that’s really fast, you can’t get it unless everything comes together. I wanted to make sure that if it didn’t do it the first day, I’d have another shot at it rather than just wait ‘til the last day. That’s what ended up happening and I’m totally fine with it.”

The Apollos, already owners of a huge lead in the team standings, just kept the hits coming too, with Kwong, Calder Dorn, Cole Hurwitz and Jordan Hurwitz notching a 1:27.48 to take second in the 200 freestyle relay, trailing the Lincoln champions by just .46.

Sunset closed out its record-breaking win with a flourish too, winning the day’s final three events, the 100 backstroke, the 100 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay. Furnary, a freshman who brought even more depth to the Sunset lineup this year, started that stretch when he took the backstroke at 50.58 to edge state record holder and reigning champ Curtis Klein of West Linn by .23.by: MILES VANCE - BACK IN ACTION - Sunset freshman Tristan Furnary (shown here in the 200-yard medley relay) swam to victory in the 100 backstroke at the Class 6A state meet on Saturday.

“It was just a really great experience to come in here my first season of high school swimming to do that,” Furnary said. “My coach always told me when you go to a meet with older kids, you have to race them and you have to expect yourself to win and be a competitor. You can’t put yourself out of a race just because of your age. I knew I could come out and do it.”

Cole Hurwitz broke through next in a Sunset-heavy 100 breaststroke finale, snapping a four-year-old state record with a winning time of 56.41 (the previous mark of 56.51 was held by South Eugene’s Sam Rowan). Further, teammates Jordan Hurwitz and Kwong both scored too, with Hurwitz taking second at 57.90 and Kwong sixth at 59.74.by: MILES VANCE - NEW RECORD - Sunset senior Cole Hurwitz makes waves in his record-setting victory in the 100-yard breaststroke at Saturday's Class 6A state swim meet.

That set the table for Sunset’s swan song, and the Apollos left nothing to be desired in the meet finale, with Zoucha, Jordan Hurwitz, Furnary and Stitt racing to a state-meet record victory in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:08.01. That mark beat the previous state record of 3:09.61 by Westview’s Stephen Ung, Stefan Kapelac, Carlos Nunez and Morgon Henderson-Kunz back in 2008.

Together, those efforts left the 2013 Apollos — led again by head coach Adam Farber — feeling good about the biggest win in state-meet history.

“I feel really good,” Kwong said. “Just the team, the energy and all the support.”

“The team was just fantastic,” Jordan Hurwitz said. “There was a huge amount of energy, and the depth we had with all the guys — they’ve definitely been behind us the whole time — without them, none of this would have happened.”

“They’re all really great guys,” Stitt said. They’re “great students, great in the community, all of that. And we’re all buddies. We’ve been swimming together for a really long time.”

“We definitely wanted to leave a lasting mark,” Cole Hurwitz said.

Mission accomplished.

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




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