The Crusaders show their strength with a 106-64 win over Sunset Tuesday
by: JAIME VALDEZ, WINNER – Jesuit’s Connor McDonald swims to victory in his meet on Tuesday afternoon, winning the 200-yard freestyle while his team took out Sunset.

CEDAR MILL - Though some of the major players from last year's state title team are gone, the cupboard is anything but bare for the Jesuit boys swim team.

The Crusaders proved as much Tuesday, winning nine of 11 events and beating Sunset 106-64 in the Metro League opener for both schools at the Sunset pool.

Juniors Sam Conchuratt and Connor McCarroll and freshman Connor McDonald each won two individual races for Jesuit, while McCarroll and McDonald also swam on a pair of victorious relay teams.

McDonald, Jacob Bieze, McCarroll and Mac McDonald teamed up to open the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 43.33 seconds. Connor McDonald followed by taking off midway through the 200 freestyle and winning by three body-lengths with a time of 1:52.05.

'We lost a lot of seniors, but there's no real pressure,' said Connor McDonald, who later won the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.39.

'You can never replace a team like that, but we try to make do with what we have' Conchuratt added. 'We still have a great team.'

And Conchuratt is a big part of it. He sprinted to first in the 50 freestyle (23.33) and the 100 freestyle (51.07) and combined with both McDonalds and McCarroll to win the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:26.26.

McCarroll picked up his first victory when he held off Sunset's Tristan Briggs and teammate Mac McDonald to win the 200 individual medley in 2:01.01. Conchuratt followed by winning the 50 free and Jacob Bieze added a victory in the 100 butterfly, holding off a charging Andrew Mittemeyer of Sunset and touching in at 56.06.

After Conchuratt and Mac McDonald went 1-2 in the 100 free to boost Jesuit's lead to 59-35, the Crusaders pulled away by sweeping the top-3 spots in the 500 freestyle. Connor McCarroll lapped the competition, finishing 75 yards ahead of teammates Alex Johnson (second in 5:47.15) and Chris Ontkean (third in 5:48.69) for the win with a time of 4:53.92.

'Connor McCarroll is our 'X' factor,' Conchuratt said. 'He can do distance, sprints, back, butterfly. Put him in anything, he'll give it to you.'

Sunset got a strong effort throughout but couldn't overcome the Crusaders' control of

the victories. The Apollos won their first race in the eighth event - the 200 freestyle relay - but not without a strong challenge by Jesuit.

Khoi Tran built Sunset a body-length lead after his opening 50-yard leg. Jake Vroman and Nick Beasley held off their Crusader counterparts. Briggs began his anchor lead with a two-stroke lead but Conchuratt charged hard, though Briggs held on for the Apollos' victory after he touched in at 1:35.45.

'I just tried to hold him off as best I can and finish strong,' Briggs said. 'I like going last. It usually makes you step up more.'

Briggs stepped up again shortly later, gaining Sunset's lone individual win in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.23. Again he had to fight off a strong challenge, this time from Bieze, who took second in 1:05.55.

'My times were pretty good,' Briggs said. 'Winning is the goal. Get out and race. That's when we do our best.'

Sunset did as much in the meet's final race with Tran closing a gap throughout the second leg of the 400 free relay and pulling even with Jesuit by the end of his 100-yard effort. But Conchuratt quickly changed that, opening up a three body-length lead for anchor McCarroll and the Crusaders won by more than half the pool.

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