LA CRESCENTA — While the Falcons' star swimmers all returned this season, Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming Coach Jan Sakonju said at the onset of the season that the emergence of role players would be the key to scoring enough points to win a CIF title in May.
If Friday's nonleague home dual-meet win over Saugus is any indication, the Falcons are making quick strides in that department. Junior Young Tae Seo and senior Louis Wojciechowski made only a brief appearance at the onset of the meet and fellow CIF mainstay Harrison Thai was absent altogether, but Crescenta Valley still rolled to a 110-61 win.
"It was a good opportunity for other guys to take over in the last two-thirds of the meet and it was also an opportunity for us to show our depth," said Sakonju, who got a pair of wins in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute 43.05 seconds) and 200-individual medley (2:07.66) from Seo before his early exit. "They did a really great job racing today."
Jake Ksendov led the way for the Falcons (2-1) with wins in the 50 freestyle in 23.83 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.65, while also lending a hand to the winning 200-medley relay (1:46.22) along with Jonny Malmrose, Edward Yi and Daniel Park and 200-freestyle relay (1:34.73) with Eric Park, Yi and Daniel Park.
The Falcons, who placed third in CIF Southern Section Division II last year, also got wins from Yi in the 100 butterfly in 54.19 and Andrew Lockwood in the 500 freestyle in 5:20.12.
"Jake Ksendov is doing a really good job, he's getting closer and our new freshmen, too, Eric Park and Edward Yi, really are showing themselves to be very valuable," Sakonju said. "Edward's a potential double-qualifier for CIF and that's going to be a really huge role."
For the Falcons' girls, there was enough depth to keep within striking distance of Saugus for a while with second- and third-place finishes, but in the end, not enough power at the top of the lineup. The Centurions clinched a 106-63 win after Crescenta Valley failed to win an event.
"They're a very talented team and we're growing and learning," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team fell to 0-3. "In terms of experience, they're at a different level than we are right now. We're just using our nonleague meets for the girls to get ready fore the league season and keep working hard and improving. We had a number of second and third [finishes], just not enough."
The 200-medley relay team of Iva Icheva, Katie Benson, Nayiri Keshishian and Sabrina Hatzer opened the meet with a runner-up finish in 2:00.32 and Natalie Krebsbach (200 freestyle, 2:06.74 and 100 freestyle, 57.59), Keshishian (100 butterfly, 1:09.10), Heather Abrams (500 freestyle, 5:43.65) and Gabrielle Granados (100 backstroke, 1:08.92) all notched second-place showings.