polo v necks for women Big shoes to fill for Rebs and Falcons
GLENDALE No one is counting out the Crescenta Valley High boys’ swimming team just yet, but without several of last year’s key performers, the task of repeating as Pacific League champion will take a strong effort.
James Martin, a CIF double finalist and winner of numerous individual league titles a year ago, is now swimming at USC.
In addition, a few key Crescenta Valley seniors elected not to swim for the Falcons this year, making the team’s success dependant on its ability to adapt.
“A lot of the younger players look at this as an opportunity to step up and take leadership,” seventh year Coach Jan Sakonju said. “We’ve still got 23 guys on the varsity roster, there’s just not very much varsity experience.
“They have to rise to a challenge, and I think that’s a great opportunity for them.”
Back are seniors Mason Hawthorne, Jesse An and Andrew Martinez, as well as league 100 meter freestyle champion Vinh Doan,
Sophomore Ted Gonder leads an underclass that will get plenty of chances to shine.
Flintridge Prep also bid farewell to some premier swimmers from its Prep League runner up team of a year ago.
The Rebels return junior Austin Bell, the reigning league 500 meter freestyle champion.
Junior Cody Boyce is also back. Bell and Boyce are one half of last year’s league champion 400 meter freestyle relay team, which also placed eighth in the CIF Division II finals.
“I’ve got a lot of the water polo guys recruited, and we do have a lot of guys that did come back from last year,” first year Coach Misha Grigoriev said. “The team is really united.”
Back in the Pacific League, Hoover has great expectations for its seniors and high hopes for its newcomers.
“The freshmen that are on the team have played water polo for years, so they have the swimming background and they have speed,” second year Coach Sara Brannin said of the freshman class led by distance freestyler Mehr Almasi.
Senior Serbian exchange student Luka Martinovic, who starred for the Tornadoes water polo team earlier this year, is Hoover’s strongest individual candidate for CIF.
“He’s got a lot of potential, and he may make it [to CIF] in the 50 free,” Brannin said of Martinovic,
who also heads up the CIF hopeful 200 meter freestyle relay team.