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First Place Splash: OHS Swimmers Nab VOL Titles From Sonora
0425 Swim
Stevie Cordoza touches the wall while Oakdale teammate Summer Thompson dives into the pool during VOL relay action this year. The Mustang relay teams led Oakdale to an exciting win over Sonora on April 19. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER

Trailing Sonora with one event to go, Oakdale High’s girls swim team needed to take both first and third in the final event — the 400 yard freestyle relay — to escape the clutches of the host Wildcats with a victory and subsequent league championship.

Summer Thompson, Shelby Stender, Savannah Stender and Ali Poff did their part by outpointing Sonora’s ‘A’ team with a 3 minute, 54.11 second time in first place. Oakdale’s Stevie Cordoza, Katie Vanderburg, Courtney Aleksaandra and Alissa Burford followed with a 4:14.65 time in third place to finish the feat.

The event pushed Oakdale past Sonora for a tight 86-84 victory and undefeated Valley Oak League title. The Oakdale boys needed less drama to land a similar honor after their 98-72 defeat of Sonora also sealed an unbeaten varsity league title.

“For the girls that last relay was the difference maker,” Oakdale coach Russ Van Cleave said. “Afterwards everyone was just too exhausted to celebrate and it ended up being a quiet trip home to Oakdale.”

Oakdale’s 200 medley relay team of Thompson, Burford, Vanderburg and Savannah Stender also ended first while Thompson won both the 200 Individual Medley and 500 free while Vanderburg ended first in the 100 fly and 100 breast.

Cordoza, Shelby Stender, Savannah Stender and Poff won the 200 free relay as well. Oakdale’s boys won eight events. Hank Walter, Will Cavanaugh, Ryan Jones and Adam Lahey won the 200 medley relay while Walter, Cavanaugh, Soren Dickens and Brandon Terwilliger won the 200 free relay. Cavanaugh, Dickens, Lahey and Terwilliger also won the 400 free relay.

Lahey also won the100 free, 500 free and 200 free while Dickens won the 200 I.M.

Ryan Jones also won the 100 fly.

“I’m very proud of the boys,” Van Cleave said. “They had a good approach to the meet and did very well against Sonora.”

The Mustangs will tackle the VOL tournament on Saturday at Weston Ranch in Stockton.

The meet represents a last shot at qualification to the Sac-Joaquin Section Trials and Finals, though most of Oakdale’s top swimmers have already qualified in their best events.