Swimming and diving: Topper girls finish 4th at state meet

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — It had been an up-and-down year for Victoria Maqueda.

After starting off the 2008-09 swimming season feeling good about her game, she was slowed by illness, then missed training time due to winter travel. It took her awhile to get back to where she felt she wanted to be.

But Saturday, in her season finale, Maqueda put together the race of her career in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Maqueda upset two big breaststrokers to win the state individual title Saturday at the state swimming and diving finals, held at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium. Her time of 1:07.45 in the event edged out Tess Lemon, the top-rated breaststroker in the state, who finished second at 1:07.87.

Maqueda helped the Hilltoppers pick up a fourth-place team finish at the state title meet. Los Alamos finished with team total of 200 points, putting them just behind third-place Las Cruces in the team standings.

The host Albuquerque Academy Chargers cruised to the state team championship, grabbing 319 points. La Cueva, the 2007-08 champion, finished second in team competition, nearly 70 points back.

It wasn’t the finish Los Alamos was hoping for, however. It didn’t help that in Friday’s preliminary competition, its 400 freestyle relay team was disqualified because one swimmer jumped into the water before her teammate had touched the wall.

But in Saturday’s breaststroke, Maqueda put together a stunning performance. She trailed Lemon — whom she lost to just over a month earlier in the same pool by nearly three seconds — by less than a tenth of a second at the 50-yard mark.

Maqueda then turned on the jets and started to pull away from the field before the 75-yard turn. Lemon started making a move to get back late, but Maqueda fended her off to take her first career state title.

“At my turn, I could see a few other people, where they were,” Maqueda said, describing her race. “I saw I was with them and I wanted to try harder.”

The previous day in qualifying, Maqueda finished more than two seconds behind Lemon, although she said after her win in the finals that she had no desire to go all-out Friday.

“I wasn’t trying my absolute hardest,” she said. “I wanted to keep something for (Saturday) … Physically, mentally, I was prepared.”

In other state final races Saturday, Jennifer Barich-Mooday took fourth place in the 200 freestyle, while Sammi Kao finished sixth in the 100 butterfly. The Hilltopper 200 freestyle relay team of Barich-Mooday, Grace Liu, Victoria Maqueda and Alexandra Hamada took fourth place.

It was a big day for Barich-Mooday, an eighth-grader swimming in her first state championship meet. Barich-Mooday, who emerged at about the halfway point in the season as a future star for Los Alamos, was about the only one who wasn’t terribly happy with her finish in the 200 freestyle.

“I’m really happy that at state I’m in fourth, but I’m upset that I added two seconds (to Friday’s time),” she said. “I didn’t really have that kick of confidence I did (Friday).”

Nevertheless, she had one of the most successful efforts among the Hilltoppers, also finishing seventh in the 500 freestyle.

In diving, senior Lisa Ann Hendricks fell just short of qualifying for Saturday’s final round. Hendricks finished ninth overall with a score of 196.95, less than four points out of eighth place, which would’ve placed her in the final.

Junior Kelsey Neal, whom Los Alamos diving coach Keith Greene said became a great addition to the squad — this was her first year of prep competition — finished 14th overall, just one slot below Hilltopper Lauren Bucklin.

Here are the results from Saturday’s state swimming and diving championships. Athletes are from Los Alamos unless otherwise indicated.

Team scores

1. Albuquerque Academy, 319; 2. La Cueva, 262; 3. Las Cruces, 202; 4. Los Alamos, 200; 5. Albuquerque, 178; 6. Eldorado, 176; 7. Rio Rancho, 164; 8. Manzano, 119; 9. Cibola, 118; 10. Farmington, 103; 11. Volcano Vista, 86; 12. St. Pius X, 73; 13. Santa Fe, 71; 14. Sandia, 57; 15. Sandia Prep, 44; 16. Clovis, 38; 17. Santa Fe Prep, 35; 18. St. Michael’s, 31; 19. Socorro, 14; 20. Piedra Vista, 12; 21. Valley, 10; 22. Rio Grande, 4; (tie) Desert Academy, 4; 24. Taos, 2; (tie) Mesilla Valley, 2.

Individual results

200 medley relay

1. Academy, 1:50,.27; 2. Albuquerque, 1:53.53; 3. Las Cruces, 1:54.65; 6. Los Alamos (Maggie Schappell, Victoria Maqueda, Sammi Kao, Alexandra Hamada), 1:56.31.

200 freestyle

1. Brenna St. John, La Cueva, 1:57.45; 2. Kassandra Cleto, Volcano Vista, 1:59.25; 3. Samantha Harding, Las Cruces, 1:59.48; 4. Jennifer Barich-Mooday, 2:02.74; 5. Sammi Kao, 2:03.83.

200 individual medley

1. Madison Bridges, Albuquerque, 2:10.66; 2. Michelle Howell, Academy, 2:13.18; 3. Jorgi Hobson, Las Cruces, 2:13.58; 12. Lauren Castro, 2:25.44.

50 freestyle

1. Anika Apostalon, Academy, 23.92; 2. April Chee, Farmington, 24.62; 3. Rachel Buser, La Cueva, 25.07; 9. Victoria Maqueda, 25.54; 15. Alexandra Hamada, 26.15; 23. Grace Liu, 26.49; 29. Chelsea McLean, 27.24.

1 meter diving

1. Kaitlin Walker, Eldorado, 299.40; 2. Hope Hoover, Rio Rancho, 254.65; 3. Courtney Brooks, Manzano, 253.25; 9. Lisa Ann Hendricks, 196.95; 13. Lauren Bucklin, 166.25; 14. Kelsey Neal, 153.90.

100 butterfly

1. Jorgi Hobson, Las Cruces, 57.85; 2. Michelle Howell, Academy, 59.81; 3. Moranda Madero, Las Cruces, 1:00.87; 6. Sammi Kao, 1:03.25; 8. Monica Clodius, 1:05.85.

100 freestyle

1. Anika Apostalon, Academy, 52.98; 2. Brenna St. John, La Cueva, 53.64; 3. Alex Fenton, Rio Rancho, 53.72; 9. Grace Liu, 56.59; 11. Maria Musgrave, 57.03; 14. Maggie Schappell, 57.51; 19. Alexandra Hamada, 58.00.

500 freestyle

1. Samantha Harding, Las Cruces, 5:13.10; 2. April Chee, Farmington, 5:20.53; 3. Mollie Kleyboecker, Sandia Prep, 5:28.52; 7. Jennifer Barich-Mooday, 5:34.57; 11. Alisa Romero, 5:39.10.

200 freestyle relay

1. Academy, 1:40.41; 2. La Cueva, 1:40.76; 3. Rio Rancho, 1:43.17; 4. Los Alamos (Alexandra Hamada, Victoria Maqueda, Grace Liu, Jennifer Barich-Mooday), 1:43.95.

100 backstroke

1. Madison Bridges, Albuquerque, 57.29; 2. Abra Clark-VanBrunt, Santa Fe Prep, 59.67; 3. Alex Fenton, Rio Rancho, 1:00.41; 12. Maggie Schappell, 1:05.76; 16. Alisa Romero, 1:08.63; 21. Lauren Castro, 1:07.70.

100 breaststroke

1. Victoria Maqueda, 1:07.45; 2. Tess Lemon, Academy, 1:07.87; 3. Abby Branch, Academy, 1:08.31; 18. Maria Musgrave, 1:15.26.

400 freestyle relay

1. La Cueva, 3:43.15; 2. Albuquerque, 3:43.71; 3. Las Cruces, 3:43.96; Los Alamos, DQ.