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Mustang swimmers making a splash in Mesa League Phillip Brents | Fri, Apr 23 2010 03:20 PM

If the Mesa League swim standings remain as they are, it appears the Otay Ranch Mustangs - drum roll, please - will win this year's boys dual meet title. The Mustangs took two big steps, er ... strokes, in that direction after defeating defending league champion Eastlake and an improved Hilltop team in back-to-back meets to open Mesa League competition.

Otay Ranch won a five-point cliff-hanger against the Titans April 13 at Southwestern College and then blew past the Lancers, winning 123-63, in a meet April 15 at the Loma Verde pool.

The Mustangs improved to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in league competition, after topping Chula Vista, 140-40, Tuesday. Otay Ranch has defeated Mar Vista and El Cajon Valley besides the Titans, Lancers and Spartans. The Mustangs' lone loss has been to longtime East County aquatic power Grossmont.

Otay Ranch won 11 out of 12 events against Chula Vista and captured first-place finishes in all but three events - the 100-yard freestyle, 100 breaststroke and diving - against Hilltop.

It's been a stunning start to the season and it isn't over yet.

Juniors Mike Kowalski and Juan Robles are the leaders on this year's ORHS squad.

Kowalski, last year's Mesa League Most Valuable Swimmer, holds school records in both the 50 free and 100 butterfly, two events in which he was a finalist at last year's San Diego Section finals. He currently owns the second-fastest time in the 50 freestyle (21.64) this season in the section.

Robles remained undefeated in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke after the Mustangs' latest two meets. He owns an automatic CIF qualifying time in the backstroke.

Senior Nestor Noyola, who will attend Brown University in the fall, has posted CIF qualifying times in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events.

In the dual against Hilltop, the Mustangs notched a CIF automatic qualifying mark in the medley relay (1:47.21) while Kowalski captured top finishes in the 50 freestyle (21.64) and butterfly (54.01).

Standout performances turned in by the Lancers included Alex Kennedy's 52.50 mark in the 100 freestyle and a power-packed one-two finish on the diving board by Leo Diaz de Leon (155.95 points) and Shane Garvin (151.45 points).

The Otay Ranch girls team is likely headed for a runner-up finish to defending champion Eastlake after losing April 13 to the Titans. However,  the Mustangs certainly made a statement against the Lancers, who had entered the teams' match-up sporting a 5-1 record.

Team leaders on this year's Otay Ranch girls squad include senior Alex Sanchez, sophomores Mariela Rodriguez and Sabrina Ogden and freshman Sarah Medina.

Sanchez holds school records in the 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, while Rodriguez is a school record-holder in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Medina has made a splash in her prep debut by setting school records in the 100 and 200 freestyle events.

Sanchez has notched CIF qualifying marks this season in the 200 IM, 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Rodriguez has posted CIF qualifying times in the 200 and 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke while Medina owns CIF automatic qualifying marks in the 200 IM and 100 and 200 freestyle events.

Odgen, meanwhile, is a CIF qualifier in the 200 IM, 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Medina timed 1:59.03 in the 200 freestyle against Hilltop while Ogden swam a 2:22.87 in the 200 IM, Sanchez touched in at 1:07.00 in the 100 backstroke and Rodriguez timed 1:16.30 in the 100 breaststroke.

The Mustangs won all events except diving against the Lancers. Hilltop's Ashley Relph won the one-meter springboard competition with 141.30 points.

Otay Ranch's talent depth was displayed in Tuesday's 144-42 victory over Chula by winning 10 out of the 12 events.

The Mustangs improved to 4-2 in dual meets with the win against the Spartans, 2-1 in league competition. Otay Ranch's other loss this season has been against Grossmont.

The Mesa League championship meet is scheduled May 8 at 1 p.m. at the Loma Verde pool. The Metro Conference diving championships precede the swim finals on May 7 at 2 p.m. at the Parkway pool.


Eastlake completed a grueling week with three meets in three days against Otay Ranch (April 13), Mar Vista (April 14) and Bonita Vista (April 15). The Titans girls went 3-0, with the EHS boys finishing 2-1.

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