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Northwood boys and Woodbridge girls swimming teams race to titles at Mt. SAC meet

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The Pacific Coast League swimming teams didn’t just flock in numbers to the Mt. SAC Spring Meet of Champions. They came to show their speed.

Northwood’s boys flashed their pace Saturday in the finals of the 400-yard freestyle relay and held off Portola for a third consecutive team title.

Zara Masud of Woodbridge edged one of Southern California’s top up-and-coming swimmers to lead the Warriors’ girls to their first team championship.

Woodbridge's girls swimming team won its first title at the Mt. SAC Spring Meet of Champions on Saturday in Walnut. (Courtesy Amy Gramlich)Woodbridge’s girls swimming team won its first title at the Mt. SAC Spring Meet of Champions on Saturday in Walnut. (Courtesy Amy Gramlich)

The Pacific Coast League also crowned two swimmers of the meet and claimed the top-four places in the boys team standings.

It was an impressive showing for the league considering the two-day meet attracted more than 80 schools and 2,000 swimmers.

“All the Irvine schools showed up for this one,” Northwood coach Alex Nieto said.

The Timberwolves’ boys won 2 of 3 relays, including the 400 in a swift time of 3 minutes, 3.80 seconds.

The relay consisted of Derek Hitchens (45.22), Elson Lee (46.11), Ryan Connole (47.93) and anchor Andrew Maksymowski (44.54).

“We’re trying to break three minutes,” Nieto said of a standard only achieved by county record-holder Santa Margarita (2:59.60).

Maksymowski, a sophomore, won the 200 (1:37.29) and 500 (4:25.60) freestyles en route to earning male swimmer of the meet.

Northwood produced the runner-up in both races. Chen touched second in the 200 free with a 1:38.44 while Hitchens clocked a lifetime-best 4:29.82. Troy’s Luke Leon Guerrero placed third at 4:29.94

The Timberwolves won the 200 medley relay in 1:33.12 and crowned two other individual champions.

Lee out-touched Hitchens by three one-hundredths of a second to claim the 200 individual medley in 1:49.82. Chen later won the 100 free in 45.42, about two seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Ryder Tonkovich of Portola (47.49).

The Timberwolves finished with 520 points to hold off league rivals Portola (507), Woodbridge (475) and University (444).

Woodbridge’s boys were paced by Jacob Wang, who touched first in the 50 free (20.58).

He also led off the 200 free relay in 20.67 to team with Cole Saeger, Dean Ko and Robin Koehler on the win in 1:24.50.

Masud edged Riverside Poly standout sophomore Ava DeAnda by six one-hundredth of a second to win the girls 200 free in 1:48.18. DeAnda touched in 1:48.24, not far ahead of Villa Park’s Allison Mann (1:48.54),

Masud, a senior committed to Georgia Tech, also edged the San Diego State-bound Mann by less than three-tenths of a second to win the 100 butterfly in 54.01.

The strong double earned Masud the female swimmer of the meet award.

She also helped the Warriors capture the 200 free relay. She teamed with Isabella Parker, Annie Fishburn and Addison Gramlich to clock a 1:36.42.

Woodbridge finished 571 points, which outdistanced runner-up La Canada (366.5) and Northwood (339). Irvine placed fifth with 324 points.

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