Falcons feeling good about title run

GLENDALE — The amount of success the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team has progressively enjoyed at the CIF level over the past couple of seasons hasn't placated the Falcons at all.

They want more. In fact, they want it all.

"They want to go after the championship," said Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju, whose team followed up its 2009 seventh-place showing in CIF Southern Section Division II with last year's runner-up finish behind Oaks Christian. "It's talked about all the time and it's what guys are working for. People want to win a championship."

At the center of those aspirations are super sophomores Young Tae Seo and Harrison Thai, the top returners from last year, and transfer Louis Wojciechowski, a former high school champion in Arizona.

Seo, the reigning All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year, will certainly be busy this year, as Sakonju sees him swimming at least the individual medley, 100 butterfly, breaststroke and 500 freestyle during various parts of the season, as well as performing in relays.

"He can do it all," Sakonju said.

Wojciechowski will take on the butterfly, backstroke, individual medley and freestyle events, while Thai will once again be a backstroke and breaststroke specialist.

"All of our top guys can swim the individual medley, so they can be put into practically any event," Sakonju said.

Freshman Josh Lo is a top newcomer for a Falcons team that will be led by its relays, as well as its core of standout individuals en route to a predicted CIF finals appearance and quite likely some entrants into the Masters Meet.

Crescenta Valley is the 18-time defending Pacific League champion and doesn't appear likely to fall off that perch any time soon.

Glendale and Hoover will certainly take their best shot at the Falcons when they meet in league competition, but for Glendale, at least, the season's success will be measured more by CIF qualifications than team meet results.

"Our boys' team is going to be a very senior-heavy team," Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. "We've got a lot of older boys on that team."

Leading the Nitros charge will be junior butterfly and backstroke specialist Mickey Mowry, a junior, who was a CIF finalist and Masters meet competitor last season.

"You can look for him to pretty much be our anchor on our relays and do a lot of butterfly and backstroke like he did last year for us," Holbrook said. "He's a top swimmer and he's a fantastic athlete, so we're very happy to have him back."

Other Nitros to watch include seniors Cole Veloz and Manuk Hakobyan.

Hoover Coach Ara Oganesyan has some promising returners led by Arin Azarian and some newcomers in Jason Barbar and Ryan Moguel, but is lacking in numbers overall.

"It's going to be a small team for the boys this year," Oganesyan said. "We're hoping [for an upswing]. We'll see."

At Flintridge Prep, new co-Coach Riley Marnesh, who, along with Ryan Gatto, is taking over for Alex Supple, hopes a base of water polo players and some club talent will lead to a resurgence.

"The boys' team has a foundation in water polo and so a lot of them are very strong freestylers, especially in shorter distances, so we have that going for us," Marnesh said. "It's a really good program and I'm really excited about it. We'll be doing good things, I think."

Among the Rebels' top swimmers are freshmen Marco Flores and Carlo Siziloggi

"He's an all-around swimmer for sure," Marnesh said of Flores. "He's going to be super fast all season."

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