After trailing fellow unbeaten, Sonora High, for most of Thursday’s home meet, Oakdale’s 400-yard freestyle girls relay teams needed to bite into a big score during the day’s final event if the Lady Mustangs were to claim a piece of the Valley Oak League pie.
Get your forks ready.
Oakdale’s ‘A’ relay team out-touched Sonora’s top foursome by nearly six seconds and saw four more Lady Mustangs beat the Sonora “B” by over three seconds to force an 85-85 tie and co-VOL championship on April 21 at the Oakdale Aquatic Center.
The Oakdale boys easily surged past Sonora for a 97-73 victory and sole rights to the championship honor.
“It’s fun that it all came down to this last meet against Sonora,” Oakdale coach Russ Van Cleave said. “I’m really happy for the girls because they didn’t give up despite trailing Sonora for most of the meet.”
Oakdale girls shared a big celebration when the final tally left the Mustangs two points ahead of Sonora as the match ended, but ultimately realized a timing pad had incorrectly placed swimmers in an event, forcing an all-85 deadlock.
Regardless of the mix-up, it was a thrilling end to an undefeated season for both programs, and Oakdale girls came through late to nab co-championship honors.
“This was probably one of the most exciting swim meets I have ever been to,” Mustang girls coach Melissa Meyer said. “We had to make up some ground at the end and the girls did it.”
Stevie Cordoza, Kelsey Knollmueller, Ali Poff, and Katie Vanderburg landed the 3 minute, 56.73 second time that claimed victory in the day’s final event. The Oakdale “B” team of Whitney Pope, Bianca Varela, Vickie Swarthout and Makenzie Ohe was third in the event, landing Oakdale the necessary points to reach the tie.
Cordoza admitted the final event certainly figured heavily in to the final score, but said all Oakdale swimmers made the team’s success possible with good swims throughout the day.
“We did all we could and everything went right for us today,” Cordoza said. “Every single race mattered.”
Cordoza also won the 100 backstroke, competed on a wining 200 free relay team with Poff, Vanderburg, Knollmueller and won the 200 medley relay with Alissa Burford, Poff and Vanderburg.
Knollmueller (200 I.M., 100 free), Burford (100 breaststroke) and Vanderburg (100 butterfly) also claimed individual wins.
The Oakdale boys were spectacular all season, and closed their final meet by winning nine of 11 events, 24 points ahead of Sonora.
Hank Walter, Will Cavanaugh, Brandon Terwilliger and Casey Whitley started it off by taking first in the 200 medley relay. Whitley, Terwilliger, Walter and Braden Lee also took the 200 free relay, while Lee, Ryan Jones, Terwilliger and Walter closed the 400 free relay in first.
Lee also won both the 200 and 500 free. Walter was first in the 100 back while Jones (200 I.M.), Terwilliger (100 fly) and Cavanaugh (100 breast) touched first in events.
Oakdale takes on the VOL championship tournament at East Union on Saturday, April 30 at 9 a.m.