Gon­zaga de­fends crown; Holton makes the jump

The Washington Post Sunday - - HOCKEY - BY ERIC GOLDWEIN eric.goldwein@wash­post.com

Gon­zaga’s ti­tle fate was sealed well be­fore Wil­liam Mud­laff closed out the 400-yard freestyle re­lay, but the cel­e­bra­tion was only get­ting started. First, the team sang “Na na na na na na na na, hey hey hey, good­bye.” Next came the tro­phy col­lec­tion, fol­lowed by more chants and an­other cel­e­bra­tory jump in the pool.

It’s all part of a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion, Mud­laff said. And so is win­ning.

On Satur­day at Fair­land Aquatic Cen­ter in Lau­rel, the Ea­gles cap­tured their seventh con­sec­u­tive Wash­ing­ton Metropoli­tan Prep School Swim Dive League (WMPSSDL) cham­pi­onship.

“The boys al­ways get be­hind the lane and get re­ally rowdy for the re­lays. That’s def­i­nitely one of the most spe­cial parts of Gon­zaga,” Mud­laff said. “Hear­ing them cheer be­hind the lane, that def­i­nitely gets the en­ergy up and helps up swim fast.”

Gon­zaga (430 points) fin­ished well ahead of Ge­orge­town Prep (308) and Good Coun­sel (277), re­bound­ing from a dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion for a false start in the 200 freestyle re­lay pre­lim and con­sis­tently plac­ing in the top three thanks to heavy doses of both depth and tal­ent.

“It’s been in­cred­i­ble to be a part of this team. Es­pe­cially win­ning four years in a row,” Mud­laff said. “I know that’s some­thing that not too many teams have ac­com­plished a lot in the past, and it’s spe­cial be­ing part of that.”

Holton-Arms (321) won the girls’ ti­tle, hold­ing off Good Coun­sel (267.5) and last year’s cham­pion, Holy Cross (259). The Pan­thers re­lied on con­tri­bu­tions from across their deep lineup, led by Jing-E Tan, Syd­ney Mathis, Olivia Ju­bin and Jil­lian John­son.

“This is my fourth year com­ing to WMPSSDLs, and it’s so great win­ning as a se­nior,” Mathis said.

The Pan­thers gained ground in the re­lay events, cap­ping the night with a sec­ond-place fin­ish in the 400 re­lay as Mathis nearly com­pleted an im­pres­sive comeback on the fi­nal leg.

While Mathis col­lected the tro­phy, the rest of the Pan­thers lined up on the side of the pool and jumped in.

“It’s a re­ally good feel­ing, and every­one’s put­ting in their best ef­fort,” Tan said. “It’s re­ally re­ward­ing.”

Matthew Braviak set the tone for Gon­zaga by win­ning his first var­sity race in the 200 freestyle (1:43.6), a re­sult that sur­prised his team­mates and him­self.

Ju­nior Ryan Win­dus placed first in the 50 freestyle (20.53) and the 100 freestyle (45.56) and helped Gon­zaga win the 200 med­ley re­lay (1:34.02) and place third in the fi­nale of the 400 re­lay (3:10.59) in front of his noisy Ea­gles team­mates.

“That’s part of the Gon­zaga tra­di­tion,” Win­dus said. “Every­body comes out on deck whether you swim or not, and [they] get rowdy.”

Mud­laff said the cham­pi­onship cel­e­bra­tions don’t get old. “Not for a sec­ond,” he said.

The se­nior is hop­ing the team can en­joy one more at the Metropoli­tan In­ter­scholas­tic Swim­ming and Div­ing Cham­pi­onships.

“We’re def­i­nitely go­ing in fir­ing on all cylin­ders. We’re ready to go,” Mud­laff said. “We had some re­ally strong swims from some un­der­class­men, we had a lot of peo­ple drop a lot of time, so I think that we’re set up well to per­form well next week.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.