Los Lunas boys, girls take fourth place at APS Invite

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The Los Lunas boys and girls swim squads finished fourth in the their third meet of the year at the APS Mini Invitational hosted at the West Mesa Aquatic Center in Albuquerque, while the Valencia girls and boys finished in the bottom half of the seven-team meet.

The Tiger boys and girls swimmers finished with 266 points and 237, respectively, coming in behind the Albuquerque trio of Eldorado, Volcano Vista and Sandia high schools.

The Eldorado boys and girls topped all other teams, sweeping first place with scores of 565 for the boys and 487 for the girls. The Sandia boys finished second, while the Volcano Vista girls took second. The Matadors and Hawks traded place in the girls competition.

"Our first two meets, the girls did very well," said coach Lin Onsea, who coaches both teams. "The boys finished third at the last meet (at Highland). Gearing up for this meet, we knew the competition would be tough."

Jonathan Gamez and Caleb Gernand of Los Lunas were the highest individual finishes for the Tiger boys, each placing second, Gamez in the 100-yard butterfly and Gernand in the boys 200-yard freestyle.

Phillip Hammon finished third in the 500-yard freestyle, while Tommy Browning finished fourth in the 200-yard intermediate and fifth in the 100-yard free style.

MaKenzie Smith of Los Lunas was the top individual placer for Los Lunas, finishing fifth in the 200-yard intermediate and sixth in the 100-yard butterfly. Faron Gomez also finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle.

Valencia's Chiara Pesina was the Jaguars top placer on the girls' side, placing seventh in the 200-yard freestyle and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle. Isabel Baca placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle. Adeline Armenta also finished eighth for the Jags in the 100-yard backstroke.

Los Lunas' two best finishes on the girls' side came with fifth-place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay, with the team of MaKenzie Smith, Miranda Candelaria, Kiley McCleary and Tati Jiron, and the 200-yard freestyle relay, with the teams of Shannae Williams, Jiron, Smith McCleary.

The Tigers also captures a fifth place finish on the boys' side, first in the team of Jonathan Gamez, Caleb Garnand, Tommy Browning and Orion Zuni in the 200-yard medley relay.

Valencia's team of Adelene Armenta, Isabel Baca, Peyton Lithicum and Chiara Pesina finished sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay, while Hannah Blend, Kiana Barela, Martina Sanchez and Corey Pearson finished 11th in the 200-yard medley relay.

The VHS boys did not enter any relay teams in the competition.

"We didn't fare as well this week, at the same time we did improve," Onsea said. "Every meet we try to switch things up. With the girls it's a little easier because we have more girls. Boys it's a bit slim."

The Los Lunas boys and girls won the six-team APS Mini Invite on Dec. 14. The boys scored 733 points to top second place West Mesa's 517 points.

The boys took first in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay. Eddie Lopez and Tommy Browning were top placers for the Tigers, taking first in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, respectively.

Browning also took second in the 200-yard individual medley Caleb Garnand placed second in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle. Andre Saiz also captured third in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Valencia boys finished sixth with 185 points.

The Tiger girls took second place at the Tiger-Jaguar Invite on Nov. 23, capturing the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle medley. Kiley McCleary and Faron Gomez were the Tigers top placers.

Gomez placed second in the 200-yard freestyle while McCleary finishing second in the 50-yard freestyle. She also placed third in the 100-yard freestyle.

MaKenzie Smith took third in the 100-yard butterfly for LLHS, while Kassidy Young took third in the 100-yard backstroke and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley. Shannae Williams finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. Gerardo Gutierrez finished ninth in the 50-yard freestyle and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Valencia finished seventh in the 10-team meet, finishing fourth in both the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle medley. Adeline Armenta was the Jags' top placer, finishing fifth in the 100-yard backstroke.

The two teams' next meet is Saturday, Jan. 11, at the West Mesa Invitational, also at the West Mesa Aquatic Center.