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At full strength, Sunsets boys are just too much

Sunset wins an early showdown against Southridge and moves to 2-0 in Metro action
by: Miles Vance OUT IN FRONT — Sunset sophomore Jonathan Zoucha rolls to victory in the 500-yard freestyle against Southridge at Sunset Swim Center on Dec. 15.

CEDAR MILL - Sunset's boys swim team isn't going to leave anything on the table this year.

The Apollos, who knocked off Beaverton in week one of the 2011-12 Metro League season despite being severely shorthanded, came back at full strength in week two. Sunset, with all its regulars back from the Junior National and Paul Bergen Jr. Junior International meets, powered past previously unbeaten Southridge 107-63 on Dec. 15 at Sunset Swim Center and used that result to move into first place in the league standings.

Sunset, the reigning Metro and Class 6A state champs, won nine of 11 events against the Skyhawks and used that frontline strength to improve to 2-0. Southridge, meanwhile, lost for the first time and dropped to 2-1.

'We're doing OK. We'll take it,' said Sunset sophomore Jonathan Zoucha, who won the 500-yard freestyle, took second in the 100 butterfly and also swam on two winning Apollo relays. 'We knew that, as long as we swam relatively well and tried for first, it would work out OK.'

While the Skyhawks were disappointed with the loss, they knew that they'd performed well against the state's top team.

'This meet's all about the points and depth, and I knew if I didn't win my events, we wouldn't have a chance,' said Southridge junior Max Yakubovich, winner of the butterfly and 100 backstroke. 'But Sunset has, like, seven or eight really fast club swimmers.'

The Apollos proved that throughout the meet, sweeping all three relays and getting two wins each from juniors Cameron Stitt and Cole Hurwitz, and one each from Zoucha and junior Jordan Hurwitz.

Stitt took top honors in the 200 freestyle at 1:44.76 (where he led a 1-2-3 Sunset sweep with teammates Josh Noll and Curtis Crawford) and the 100 free at 48.83 (with Jordan Hurwitz close behind in second at 49.84).

Cole Hurwitz did his damage in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, taking the IM at 2:00.37 (with teammate Kasey Kwong second) and the breaststroke at 1:00.25 (with Southridge's Kyle Dalrymple a close second at 1:00.41).

Zoucha opened his day with a runner-up finish to Yakubovich in the fly, posting a 53.33 there, then came back later to cruise to victory in the 500 free at 4:57.43 (with Noll second at 5:07.46).

'It could have been better, but it's almost a best time, so for a high school meet, that's pretty good,' Zoucha said of his butterfly, adding that his 500 'probably could have been faster but I'm happy with it. I was just trying to go fast. I was hoping to keep it smooth like I did and to go relatively fast.'

Sunset's other individual win came from Jordan Hurwitz in the 50 free at 22.98 (with Southridge's Kyle Blandin second at 23.84).

In the 200 medley relay, Zoucha, Jordan Hurwitz, Cole Hurwitz and Stitt swam to victory at 1:40:18, then came back together in the 400 freestyle relay to win in 3:21.09. The Apollos also got a win in the 200 free relay, with Braden Esping, Kwong, Calder Dorn and Noll notching a 1:35.45.

Yakubovich was Southridge's lone winner against the Apollos, but he made the most of his chances, winning the butterfly at 52.25, then coming back to top the field in the backstroke at 59.51.

In the butterfly '52.2 is solid for in-season for me,' he said. 'I'm just back from Junior Nationals and coming off a taper so it was hard to swim fast … but I did what it took.'

Blandin and Dalrymple provided Southridge's lone runner-up finishes among the day's eight individual events, while the Skyhawks' top teams were also second in all three relays.

Both teams will now be away from high school competition until Jan. 5, when Sunset swim at Aloha and Southridge goes at Canby in a non-league meet.

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