Swim Cats rout Sierra, close in on titles

April 08, 2003 12:00 am

By KEVIN SAULS

Sonora High School's swim teams virtually clinched dual Valley Oak League championships yesterday with crushing victories over Sierra of Manteca at Sonora Pool.

The Wildcat girls won 108-60 and the boys 122-45, both improving to 6-0 in the VOL with only the formality of a meet against Buhach Colony of Atwater remaining. Either of Buhach's second-year teams beating the veteran Wildcats would be like an ice cube sinking an armada.

To show how daunting the Thunder's task is, the Sonora girls are winning their VOL meets by an average score of 122-44 and the boys 111-58. The VOL finale will be held Friday at Livingston High, a few miles north of the Buhach campus, at 3:30 p.m. When the day is done, unless the team buses get flat tires on the way to the valley and the Wildcats have to forfeit, both Sonora teams will be VOL champions in the same year for the first time.

The girls won last year and the boys in 2000.

Sonora coach LaDeane Hansten is taking the cautious, diplomatic approach.

"We hope we can beat Buhach and clinch the titles," she said.

The girls' meet against Sierra, a fringe contender the last few years, was of some concern to Hansten.

"There's no way I thought we'd win by that much," she

said.

Sierra won the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, to take an 8-6 lead, but it was all Sonora from there. The Wildcats took a 16-14 lead on a 1-2 finish by Melisa Hough and Patty Allen in the second event, the 200 freestyle, and steadily built their advantage with their trademark speed and depth.

Hansten said she was expecting a much closer boys' meet, too, but it never materialized as Sonora went 1-2 in the medley relay for a 12-2 lead and never let up.