Falcons in full force for clash with rival

LA CRESCENTA — It was all hands on the pool deck for the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team for Wednesday afternoon's Pacific League home dual-meet finale against Arcadia.

While the trio of Young Tae Seo, Harrison Thai and Louis Wojciechowski are widely expected to lead the Falcons to contention for a CIF Southern Section Division II title in May, seeing all three competing simultaneously at a regular-season meet has been a rarity.

All of them put aside club swimming, training and other commitments to give Crescenta Valley a full-strength attack that showed in a 117.5-52.5 win that clinched at least a share of the Falcons' 20th straight league crown.

"We're coming to the end of the season and it is Arcadia — we have a lot of respect for them, their program and for the coaches," Falcons boys' Coach Jan Sakonju said. "It's always the big traditional [meet where] everybody needs to step up and put forward their best performance."

Crescenta Valley's girls' team also put forth a well-rounded effort, besting the Apaches, 108-62, to secure at least a share of the league title for the fifth straight year. Both teams (6-0 in league) will participate in the league finals beginning on Tuesday, where a win will clinch the outright league championship

"The girls and I, we had a lot of fun," said Iva Icheva, who won a pair of events.

The day belonged to the boys' Big Three, though. Seo won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute 46.24 seconds and the 500 freestyle in 4:51.62, Thai was a winner in the 100 backstroke in 55.28 and 100 breaststroke in 1:04.96 and Wojciechowski captured the 200-individual medley in 2:01.97 and the 100 butterfly in 52.77.

"We tried to dominate them," Seo said. "This was a closer step to league finals. We tried to go as fast as we can and dominate them."

Thai and Wojciechowski teamed with Jake Ksendov and Eric Park to win the 200-medley relay in 1:42.05, Wojciechowski and Ksendov teamed with Stephen Woo and Antonio Camarillo to win the 200-freestyle relay and Thai, Seo and Woo teamed with Daniel Park to win the 400-freestyle relay (3:38.84).

The girls' team kicked off with a win in the 200-medley relay from Icheva, Nayiri Keshishyan, Sabrina Hatzer and Jessie Gabor in 1:56.43.

"We tried to get off to a good start with our first race, the 200 medley [relay]," Icheva said. "I feel like we really carried it on from there."

Other girls' wins came from Heather Abrams in the 200 freestyle (2:08.64) and 500 freestyle (5:44.68), Icheva in the 50 freestyle (25.43) and 100 backstroke (1:01.24) and Hatzer, Icheva, Gabor and Abrams in the 200-freestyle relay (1:46.90).

"It would have created an interesting scenario if we had lost to Arcadia because Pasadena had already beaten Arcadia, so it would have created a three-way tie," Falcons girls' co-Coach Pete Loporchio said. "It does create at least a co-championship, which is nice for this group of girls. It's a younger group that's developing and learning how to compete."

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