Rigo Mejia-Hernandez wins twice to lift his team past the Warriors

by: MILES VANCE - BACK IN ACTION - Beaverton's James Gayaldo races to victory during his team's Metro League meet against Aloha on Jan. 24.

BEAVERTON — The Metro League regular season is nearing its end, and the Beaverton and Aloha boys swim teams showed they’re ready for the big battles to come.

With the Metro district meet looming just eight days away, the Beavers and Warriors went after each other once more last week, with Beaverton pulling away to notch a 107-63 win at Beaverton Swim Center on Jan. 24. The victory gave the Beavers their first league win of the year and lifted their Metro record to 1-4, while the Warriors fell to 0-5 in league.

“Our teams always enjoy competing against each other due to the fact that we are fairly balanced talent-wise and we have established a friendly rivalry over the years,” said Beaverton coach Judy Rusaw. “All the boys swam well, and several swam events they haven’t swam before. It was definitely a team effort.”

“The meet with Beaverton is always a great meet for both teams,” added Aloha coach Lisa Leslie. “I think we both look forward to this meet every year.”by: MILES VANCE - WARRIOR WAVES - Aloha's John Vinkemulder swims the breaststroke during his team's Metro League meet against Beaverton on Jan. 24.

The Beavers hit the jackpot in their win over the Warriors, taking first in seven events, finishing second in seven more and third in yet another seven to pull away for victory.

Beaverton saw four different swimmers win individual events against the Warriors, and also won two of the day’s three relays. Rigo Mejia-Hernandez was his team’s lone double winner; he got things started when he took the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 51.72 seconds (with Aloha’s Teerit Somanand second at 2:04.41), and came back later in the meet to top the 500 freestyle at 5:10.07 (with Somanand second again at 5:54.83).

Beaverton’s James Gayaldo stepped up to take the 200 individual medley at 2:19.11 (this time with Aloha’s John Vinkemulder second at 2:25.10), while teammate Ben Newton set the pace in the 100 butterfly at 1:00.92 (with teammate Klayton Fink second at 1:17.12) and Cortlandt Nelsen topped the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:06.27 (Fink was second there at 1:19.20).

In the relays, Beaverton’s Mejia-Hernandez, Nelsen, Newton and Gayaldo won the 200 medley relay at 1:51.29, while in the 400 freestyle relay, Mejia-Hernandez, Jefferey Soles, Newton and Nelsen won in 3:33.57.

“Nelsen and ... Mejia-Hernandez have given us more depth and versatility,” Rusaw said. “Along with (Gayaldo and Newton), our relays have added strength. Relays are so important and we are fortunate to have strong ones this season.”

While the Warriors fell short in the team scoring, they made their marks and had their fair share of highlights in the meet. Foremost among Aloha’s successes was the pair of victories posted by senior team captain Calvin Mai.

Mai got his day started by winning the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.95 (Beaverton’s Thomas Mai was second at 25.36), then came back to win again just two races later, taking the 100 freestyle at 50.15 (this time with Beaverton’s Nelsen second at 51.86).

“They were tough, but we definitely had our bright spots,” Leslie said. “Calvin Mai ... always comes through and did again in the 50 and 100. He is poised to really do well at the district meet.”

The Warriors’ other individual event winner was Vinkemulder, who won a photo finish in the 100 backstroke against Beaverton’s Newton, both finishing the event in 1:03.66.

Aloha also took the 200 freestyle relay with a mark of 1:38.03 thanks to Justin Hua, Vinkemulder, Somanand and Mai.

Mai, Somanand, Vinkemulder and Hua “have really stepped up and are starting to see their splits drop and are working toward district in the 200 and 400 free relays,” Leslie said. “The boys team is a team with heart and is always improving and striving toward their best times each week.”

In upcoming meets, the Beavers close out the regular season with a meet at Sunset at 4 p.m. today (Thursday), while the Warriors host Westview at 4 p.m. today.

To see a complete photo gallery from this meet, please visit

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