The Woodbridge High School boys’ swim team got a second chance Saturday and was able to redeem itself.
A year ago, the Warriors were oh-so-close to the Southern Section 2-A championship. All they needed to do was win the 400-yard freestyle relay, the last event of the meet.
The Warriors led through much of that race, but Brea-Olinda came from behind on the last lap. The Wildcats won the title, and Woodbridge finished third.
Saturday at Belmont Plaza pool, the Warriors again needed a victory in the 400 freestyle relay and again took an early lead. But this time Coleman Hundeby pulled away on the last lap to win for Woodbridge.
It gave the Warriors the co-championship with San Luis Obispo, both with 82 points. Laguna Hills, which chased Woodbridge throughout the relay, finished third with 81 points.
Trabuco Hills won the girls’ title convincingly. The Mustangs had 173 points, more than double their nearest competitor. Mater Dei was second with 79 and Bellflower third with 67.5.
Woodbridge Coach Dan Gaines said he couldn’t help but remember last year.
“We were winning, and things were looking good, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about last year,” he said.
He need not have worried.
Chad Hundeby, who had already won the 200 and 500 freestyles, gave the Warriors the lead on the first lap--as he had done in 1988. But this time, when he handed over the lead to his teammates, they kept it.
Greg Bisheff and Jason Steinhouser swam the second and third legs and increased the lead to 10 yards. Then came Coleman Hundeby, Chad’s younger brother, who swam the anchor last year.
Hundeby held off Bryan Stoeckel of Laguna Hills and recorded his best split time ever, 46.8 seconds.
“Before the race, I was thinking about last year, how we had the lead all the way until the end,” Coleman Hundeby said. “But I knew we were better this year. I knew we were great.”
All four swimmers recorded their best times and Woodbridge swam a 3:14.32. Laguna Hills was more than a second behind, at 3:15.79.
The race ended a close battle for the championship. Six teams finished within 10 points of first.
Woodbridge’s victory came on the strength of the Hundebys, who were the the team’s only individual qualifiers.
Chad Hundeby, considered one of the top senior national swimmers, won the 200 freestyle (1:38.45) and 500 freestyle (4:25.29). Coleman Hundeby finished fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:43.68) and was seventh in the 500 (4:42.22).
Because they had only the Hundebys in the individual events, the Warriors were well back in the pack before the final event. Woodbridge was seventh with 50 points before the 400 freestyle.
But with so many teams in the running, the points were spread out. And that kept the Warriors in contention.
“I knew our stronger events with Chad and Coleman came later in the meet, so I felt we had a chance,” Gaines said. “But San Luis Obispo had 30 points from the diving competition, and we didn’t have any divers. It gave them a lead that looked insurmountable.”
Mike Troy of San Luis Obispo finished third in diving with 374.10 points. San Luis Obispo’s Ben King was sixth (333.05) and teammate Kyle Griffin eighth (292.90).
But the Tigers did not have any winners in the individual events, and their relay teams faired poorly.
Agoura, led by Jason Stelle, was ahead for most of the meet. Stelle set a 2-A record in the backstroke with a time of 51.93. The previous mark of 52.10 was held by Kevin Nash of Canyon Country Canyon.
The Chargers were in first with 79 points going into the last event, but their 400 relay team didn’t qualify for the finals. That left Agoura in fourth at the end.
Laguna Hills was led by Brian Fisher, who finished second in the 200 and 500 freestyles. He also swam the first leg of the 400 freestyle but again trailed Hundeby.
In the girls’ competition, Trabuco Hills took an early lead and increased it throughout the meet.
Sophomore Amy Ward led the Mustangs, winning the 200 freestyle (1:50.80) and finishing third in the 500 (4:58.96). As a freshman, Ward had finished second in both events.
“I was happy with my times, but next year I want to win the 500, too,” Ward said. “That would be great.”
The Mustangs’ Cindy Wold won the 100 freestyle (53.04). Trabuco Hills also won the 400 freestyle relay.
Trabuco Hills showed the same dominance it did in the Pacific Coast League final, where the Mustangs ended Woodbridge’s four-year reign as champion.
“I kept looking for the teams that were going to challenge us, but nobody did,” Trabuco Hills Coach Ken Pappas said. “We have a very young team, so I think we’ll be strong for the next couple of years.”
Said Ward: “Even after we beat Woodbridge (in the league finals), we weren’t sure whether we could win the Southern Section meet. But after the preliminaries yesterday (Friday), we knew we had it won. We just swam so well, we knew no one could beat us.”
Natashe Kohne of Rancho Alamitos was the only double-winner in the girls’ meet. Kohne won the 200 individual medley (2:07.02) and 100 backstroke (59.61).