By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — It was fitting during the Kamiak swim team’s senior night Thursday that one of the most exciting and competitive races of the evening was the final one.
There may not have been any drama with regard to the final team outcome, but that didn’t put a damper on the 400-yard freestyle relay at Kamiak’s pool. By the time the race was run, the Knights had already wrapped up wins over Oak Harbor and Cascade in a pair of dual meets — their 60th and 61st consecutive dual victories dating back to 2008.
In the night’s final race, Kamiak’s two relay teams, a mix of the school’s top eight swimmers, battled back and forth each leg, but the team of Shelby Lee, Trent Roberts, Kristopher Kusuda and Tyler Cheung held on for a victory in 3 minutes 29.74 seconds, which was 1.06 seconds ahead of the team of John Stupey, Ben Dovinh, Anthony Grigore, and Liam Sosinsky.
Sosinsky, one of Kamiak’s top two rated swimmers along with Stupey, got beat out by Cheung on the anchor leg, but he and the rest of the team loves that Kamiak coach Chris Erickson doesn’t just put the top four against the next four.
“It’s a lot more fun and it definitely gets the team excited and cheering,” Sosinsky said.
Cascade’s relay finished third and Oak Harbor fourth in the event that was a microcosm of why Kamiak is so tough to beat.
In a word: depth.
Kamiak beat Oak Harbor 121-58 and Cascade 128-53. Oak Harbor, which is the only 3A school of the three, remained undefeated in Wesco North action, beating Cascade 107-75.
Kamiak’s depth was certainly center stage when its seniors were recognized after the one-meter diving competition, which was won by Kamiak senior Sean Mulvihill (172.75 points).
After the diving break, Kamiak’s juniors introduced each of the seniors, who according to Erickson number “almost a dozen.” Each senior was introduced by one of the juniors, including Grigore, who gets called “Swimming Sasquatch” because he is so hairy, and Angus Hamil, who was the only one crazy enough to do a snow angel in his Speedo during last week’s snowstorm.
At the end of the ceremony, the juniors presented a gift to the seniors. It was the shirt off their backs — more specifically Aquaman T-shirts.
Erickson already owned an Aquaman shirt and said that he will don his to the next practice.
“We are all going to be Aquamen tomorrow,” Erickson said.
Fun and games aside there were some great times posted from members of all three schools Thursday.
John Stupey broke his own school record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.19 seconds, just edging out Cascade’s AJ Jenkins, who tied the Cascade record in the event.
Cascade coach Eric Smith was impressed with Jenkins’ day.
“He’s swimming really well,” Smith said. “(Jenkins and Stupey) are probably going to go head to head in districts and that kind of let’s us know where we are at.”
Despite suffering two losses, Smith annually counts the meet at Kamiak as one of the team’s highlights
“Coach Erickson does such a good job of stetting this up so that everybody’s got some competition,” the Cascade coach said. “That’s one of the reasons we like to come here. It’s more of an invitational format. It gets them practice swimming at the district pool and that’s a big deal. We are going to come here (for the district meet) and say, ‘oh we’ve been here twice this season. It’s like home.’”
Cascade got just one overall win from Tanner Hoidal in the 50-yard freestyle (23.01), but Hoidal was just two hundredths off of Cheung’s pace in the 100 free, which was the closest race of the day.
Oak Harbor was powered as usual by Josh and Jacob Jepsen, who each took one first and one second-place finish along with teaming up in the 200 free relay (along with Caley Powers and Kevin Levy) to nearly unseat Kamiak. The Wildcats were less than three tenths of a second behind the Knights who finished in 1:35.18.
Oak Harbor coach Amy Merkley loves going up against the perennial power Knights now, because Oak Harbor doesn’t have to see them in the 3A district meet.
“Absolutely, swimming against Kamiak really pushed those guys,” she said. “It’s nice to have that competition especially going to the postseason.”
Jacob Jepsen’s 1:47.78 in the 200-Free relay broke the Oak Harbor school record. In addition, Oak Harbor’s 200-Medley relay team, which also features the Jepsens, finished nearly two second behind Kamiak, but qualified for the 3A state meet.
All teams have two weeks until the District meet Feb. 9 to set up their postseason plans.
Kamiak 121, Oak Harbor 58
At Kamiak H.S.
200 medley relay—Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Liam Sosinsky, John Stupey, Trent Roberts) 1:43.29; 200 freestyle—Jacob Jepsen (OH) 1:47.78; 200 individual medley—Josh Jepsen (OH) 2:06.14; 50 freestyle—Trent Roberts (K) 23.24; Diving—Sean Mulvihill (K) 172.75; 100 butterfly—John Stupey (K) 53.19; 100 freestyle—Tyler Cheung (K) 50.76; 500 freestyle—Liam Sosinsky (K) 5:04.34; 200 freestyle relay—Kamiak (Trent Roberts, Eben Schumann, Alonzo Tacuyan, Tyler Cheung) 1:35.18; 100 backstroke—John Stupey (K) 54.55; 100 breaststroke—Liam Sosinsky (K) 1:01.33; 400 freestyle relay—Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Trent Roberts, Kristopher Kusuda, Tyler Cheung); Records—Oak Harbor 7-3 overall. Kamiak 15-0.
Oak Harbor 107, Cascade 75
At Kamiak H.S.
200 medley relay—Oak Harbor (Jacob Jepsen, Josh Jepsen, Caley Powers, Kevin Levy) 1:45.23; 200 freestyle—Jacob Jepsen (OH) 1:47.78; 200 individual medley—Josh Jepsen (OH) 2:06.14; 50 freestyle— Tanner Hoidal (C) 23.01; Diving—John Kaltenbach (OH) 135.20; 100 butterfly—AJ Jenkins (C) 53.56; 100 freestyle—Tanner Hoidal (C) 50.78; 500 freestyle—Toren Wood (OH) 5:44.75; 200 freestyle relay— Oak Harbor (Jacob Jepsen, Josh Jepsen, Kevin Levy, Caley Powers) 1:35.41; 100 backstroke—Jacob Jepsen (OH) 56.30; 100 breaststroke—Josh Jepsen (OH) 1:02.83; 400 freestyle relay—Cascade (AJ Jenkins, Chrisopher Kapetanov, Victor Haurholm, Tanner Hoidal); Records—Oak Harbor 6-0 league, 7-3 overall. Cascade 3-4, 4-9.
Kamiak 128, Cascade 53
At Kamiak H.S.
200 medley relay—Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Liam Sosinsky, John Stupey, Trent Roberts) 1:43.29; 200 freestyle—AJ Jenkins (C) 1:48.96; 200 individual medley—Shelby Lee (K) 2:12.18; 50 freestyle—Tanner Hoidal (C) 23.01; Diving—Sean Mulvihill (K) 172.75; 100 butterfly—John Stupey (K) 53.19; 100 freestyle—Tyler Cheung (K) 50.76; 500 freestyle—Liam Sosinsky (K) 5:04.34; 200 freestyle relay—Kamiak (Trent Roberts, Eben Schumann, Alonzo Tacuyan, Tyler Cheung) 1:35.18; 100 backstroke—John Stupey (K) 54.55; 100 breaststroke—Liam Sosinsky (K) 1:01.33; 400 freestyle relay—Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Trent Roberts, Kristopher Kusuda, Tyler Cheung); Records—Cascade 4-9 overall. Kamiak 15-0.