A San Benito sweep: ‘Baler boys, girls earn TCAL titles

55
Lady 'Baler Alex Whorley competes in the 500 free event Saturday at the TCAL Finals. She clocked a 6:20.97.

Lady ‘Balers narrowly finish first, edging runner-up Salinas 372
to 337, while the ‘Baler boys win with ease, downing second-place
Gilroy 349.5 to 262.
SALINAS

If you had perhaps told San Benito High swimming coach Christine Schafer that Saturday’s Tri-County Athletic League Finals would not turn out as expected, she might not be too happy.

That’s because the Lady ‘Balers, after easily defeating each and every opponent during the regular season, were expected to cruise to its second straight TCAL title comfortably. And the ‘Baler boys, after topping all of its opponents, were the TCAL favorites as well, although were expected to be in a bit of a dog fight with Gilroy, Salinas and Palma.

But neither of those scenarios occurred Saturday at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas.

Instead, the Lady ‘Balers narrowly finished first, edging runner-up Salinas 372 to 337, while it was the ‘Baler boys which won with ease, downing second-place Gilroy 349.5 to 262.

Both were favorites and both ended up being TCAL champs, albeit by different paths than what some were expecting.

“The girls meet was way closer than what I was expecting,” said Schafer about the Lady ‘Balers, which were anchored by Shelli Reed’s 52.64 in the 100 free, a time worthy of All-American Consideration. “Salinas came on with a lot of depth and gave us a run for our money.”

As for the boys?

“I can’t believe some of the races they pulled out.”

With perhaps Gilroy as its closest competition – the Mustangs narrowly lost to San Benito 93-90 during a dual meet earlier this season – the ‘Balers used its depth and spread the wealth across the board, instead of just focusing on a few events.

For instance, ‘Baler Brandon Drogemuller, expected to compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle events, instead competed in the 200 IM and 100 fly.

“Everyone expected Brandon to do the 200 and 500,” Schafer said. “But we were [confident in] Ryan Whiteside and Kyle Reuther in the 200 and 500.”

Drogemuller, who excels in the long distance events and will attend Lewis University in the fall to swim, not only took first place in both events, recording a 1:59.88 in the 200 IM and a 53.98 in the 100 fly, but he took first-place points away from Gilroy’s Eddie Malick (2nd in 200 IM, 2:00.94) and David Pribyl (2nd in 100 fly, 54.11).

Whiteside and Reuther, meanwhile, finished 1-2 in the 200 free with times of 1:51.69 and 1:52.45, and took first and third in the 500 free with times of 5:08.42 and 5:19.69, respectively.

“For the guys, we knew it was gonna be really, really close and we were gonna have to do our best to win,” Whiteside said. “I was surprised we were ahead that much. But our strategy … worked out perfectly.”

The ‘Balers even garnered a lead before the TCAL Finals commenced, as Jeff Scibuola won the league diving title on Wednesday.

Other top times Saturday for the ‘Baler boys included Matt McCullough’s first-place time of 22.90 in the 50 free and Jordan Schafer’s third-place time of 59.62 in the 100 back, not to mention a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:52.32), a second place in the 200 free relay (1:31.65) and a second-place time of 3:24.63 in the 400 free relay.

“I was expecting it to be close as well, but I knew our guys had it in them to take out the competition,” Drogemuller said. “They did awesome.”

The ‘Balers last won the TCAL title two years ago, and easily stole it away from defending champion Salinas this season, which finished in third place with 258.5 points.

Meanwhile, the Lady ‘Balers were the defending champs in league, and although it defended its crown successfully this year, it did so by a far closer margin than many expected.

So close, in fact, that if San Benito was disqualified in the meet’s final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, rival Salinas would have leapfrogged the Lady ‘Balers for the title.

“That’s why I went first, because I’m jumpy,” said Demi Gatrell, noting that it is more difficult to DQ on the start than it is during the relay.

“The emotions of the last race, with Shelli (Reed) and Lacey (Larson) leaving, I’ve been swimming with them since I was 10-years-old.

“We had to give it our all.”

With no false starts and no disqualifications, the 400 free relay team of Gatrell, Reed, Larson and Jessica Drogemuller took first place with a 3:55.86, easily beating Salinas by some seven seconds in the race, as well as some 35 points for the TCAL title.

Other strong Lady ‘Baler performances included Larson and Drogemuller going 1-2 in the 200 free (2:05.38 and 2:08.08), Celina Stotler taking second in the 200 IM (2:24.44) and the 100 fly (1:03.62), Gatrell taking second in the 50 free (25.91) and first in the 100 breast (1:14.37), as well as a 1-2-3 in the 500 free, where Larson took first (5:31.90), Drogemuller was second (5:40.39) and Megan Zozaya finished third (5:57.84).

“You always put in 100 percent, but we had to get everyone pumped up,” said Reed, whose 100-free time of 52.64 made the AAC cut of 52.69 by just five one-hundredths of a second. “It’s really special that we won TCAL last year, but as a senior it’s nice to go out with a bang.”

Although Reed’s AAC cut in the 100 free was perhaps the team’s individual highlight – “It’s pretty much just a way to be acknowledged,” she said – the University of New Hampshire-bound swimmer also took first in the 100 back (1:01.39), and was a member of the 200 medley relay (Stotler, Gatrell and Larson) that finished first in 1:57.71.

“It’s just fun for our coaches, too,” added Reed, regarding coach Schafer and coach Cathy Larson. “[They’ve] coached us through [San Benito Aquatics] and high school and it’s nice to go out with a title.”

Before San Benito was able to officially focus on Friday’s CIF-Central Coast Section Swimming and Diving Preliminaries, though, as well the subsequent CCS Finals on Saturday, a gang of Haybalers tossed coach Schafer into the pool to complete the title-winning process.

Said Schafer, “I wasn’t going to fight with them.”

GIRLS

TEAM

1, San Benito, 372; 2, Salinas, 337; 3, Gilroy, 233; 4, Notre Dame, 172; 5, Everett Alvarez, 62; 5, North Salinas, 62; 7, Alisal, 47.

INDIVIDUAL (SAN BENITO ONLY)

200 Medley Relay – 1, San Benito, 1:57.71; 2, Salinas, 2:02.73. 200 Free – 1, L. Larson, 2:05.38; 2, J. Drogemuller, 2:08.08; 5, M. Pelletier, 2:16.34; 9, M. Hernandez, 2:24.58; 14, V. Robles, 2:33.71; 16, L. De La Torre, 2:38.49; 23, M. Vargas, 3:04.70. 200 IM – 1, S. Aguayo, Salinas, 2:22.14; 2, C. Stotler, 2:24.44; 5, L. Lango, 2:37.85; M. Casillas, 2:45.19; 12, H. Smith, 2:54.82; 13, H. Blake, 2:56.53; 14, M. Fitzgerald, 3:04.34. 50 Free – 1, H. Parcasio, Salinas, 25.86; 2, D. Gatrell, 25.91; 4, S. Kelso, 28.58; 9, C. Bucaloy, 29.19; 10, C. Taylor, 29.28; 11, Schneckenberger, 29.92; 23, S. Garcia, 32.34; 27, S. Barthoff, 32.62; 30, D. Silva, 33.12; 31, C. Armstrong, 33.31; 51, D. Castillo, 36.99; 57, K. Griffith, 39.79; 64; M. Raine, 43.31. 100 Fly – 1, M. Collett, Gilroy, 1:02.59; 2, C. Stotler, 1:03.62; 8, M. Pelletier, 1:14.63; 11, M. Casillas, 1:19.50; 13, K. Larson, 1:20.78; 14, H. Smith, 1:20.91. 100 Free – 1, S. Reed, 52.64; 6, S. Kelso, 1:04.03; 11, Schneckenberger, 1:05.79; 12, C. Bucaloy, 1:06.53; 16, H. Blake, 1:07.71; 20, L. De La Torre, 1:10.62; 28, C. Armstrong, 1:13.80; 30, J. Hernandez, 1:14.02; 31, S. Garcia, 1:14.12; 34, S. Barthoff, 1:14.44; 40, M. Vargas, 1:21.67. 500 Free – 1, L. Larson, 5:31.90; 2, J. Drogemuller, 5:40.39; 3, M. Zozaya, 5:57.84; 8, A. Whorley, 6:20.97. 200 Free Relay – 1, Gilroy, 1:49.22; 4, San Benito, 1:56.70. 100 Back – 1, S. Reed, 1:01.39; 6, L. Lango, 1:13.95; 9, K. Larson, 1:15.56; 10, M. Hernandez, 1:16.41; 15, A. Whorley, 1:19.60; 38, D. Castillo, 1:51.45; 41, K. Griffith, 2:07.87. 100 Breast – 1, D. Gatrell, 1:14.37; 10, A. Dickson, 1:27.14; 12, A. Estep, 1:28.22; 14, T. Hill, 1:28.49; 20, M. Fitzgerald, 1:36.16; 26, D. Silva, 1:40.60; 28, V. Robles, 1:41.08; 29, J. Hernandez, 1:42.10. 400 Free Relay – 1, San Benito, 3:55.86.

BOYS

TEAM

1, San Benito, 349.5; 2, Gilroy, 262; 3, Salinas, 258.5; 4, Palma, 202; 5, Everett Alvarez, 96; 6, North Salinas, 58; 7, Alisal, 48.

INDIVIDUAL (SAN BENITO ONLY)

200 Medley Relay – 1, Gilroy, 1:42.17; 3, San Benito, 1:52.32. 200 Free – 1, R. Whiteside, 1:51.69; 2, K. Reuther, 1:52.45; 6, S. Forbush, 2:01.45; 10, Ty. Agan, 2:14.05. 200 IM – 1, B. Drogemuller, 1:59.88; 5, N. Angulo, 2:13.86; 9, J. McIntyre, 2:20.14; 11, N. Thomas, 2:32.28. 50 Free – 1, M. McCullough, 22.90; 5, Jor. Schafer, 23.47; 20, Tr. Agan, 27.19. 100 Fly – 1, B. Drogemuller, 53.98; 8, N. Angulo, 59.99. 100 Free – 1, S. Thompson, Salinas, 49.98; 4, M. McCullough, 51.65; 5, J. McIntyre, 51.78; 6, S. Forbush, 53.59. 500 Free – 1, R. Whiteside, 5:08.42; 3, K. Reuther, 5:19.69. 200 Free Relay – 1, Salinas, 1:31.49; 2, San Benito, 1:31.65. 100 Back – 1, C. Hunsdorfer, Salinas, 56.89; 3, Jor. Schafer, 59.62; 6, Jos. Schafer, 1:05.75; 10, J. Vargas, 1:12.55; 14, Tre. Agan, 1:16.28. 100 Breast – 1, E. Malick, 1:00.64; 4, Jos. Schafer, 1:11.45; 7, N. Thomas, 1:14.02; 10, T. Reuther, 1:17.06. 400 Free Relay – 1, Salinas, 3:21.43; 2, San Benito, 3:24.63.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here