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HAYWARD — The Hawks men’s swim and dive team suddenly began grabbing head coach Jason Craighead, wrestling him until he was under their control. Pushing him from behind, pulling him from the front, they forced him to the very edge of the pool at Chabot College.

Overboard he went.

The team stood over him, shouting in jubilation. Assistant coach Kelly Gentry wasn’t safe either. She became the focus of the mob, which threw her overboard as well. A completed insurrection.

A CELEBRATORY SWIM for coaches Jason Craighead, left and Kelly Gentry, who were tossed in the pool by their players. (Photo by Jakob Arnarsson/The Express)

Eventually, all the men joined them in the pool, one cannonball after another. They encircled their two coaches, yelling and splashing. Eventually, the women swimmers joined in an aquatic celebration. 

The Hawks were champions. Again.

The men’s swim and dive team won the Coast Conference Championship on Saturday, April 20, completing their defense of last year’s title. It’s the seventh men’s title in Las Positas history. 

The men’s title charge was led by the self proclaimed three-headed dragon of Zach Zauhur-Kurr, Ryan Ridosko and Logan Borrelli. The trio combined for nine individual event wins, with each one scoring the maximum points they could. The title continues Craighead’s rebuild after COVID, as he looks to bring the program back to the very top.

“Win last year, my first year at Las Po,” Zach Zauhar-Kurr said. “(Now) my last season. I wanted it. Everyone wanted it. And so we did.”

The Hawks women finished third in the Conference meet following second place last year. The Hawks were outscored by just one point by Foothill College for second place, while West Valley won the women’s Championship.

“We (were) kind of in a rebuilding mode,” Craighead said. “A little bit of a drop off after COVID, and now we’re kind of getting our strength back, getting our feet under us again, getting momentum.”

From 2015 to 2019, the Hawks men’s team won five straight Conference titles, while the women won four. But since the 2019 season, the Hawks faced a dry spell, failing to win a title until the men did so last year. Heading into this year’s Championships, the Hawks men were set on starting another streak.

Along with being the three point leaders of the team throughout the season, Kurr, Ridosko and Borrelli were able to build a strong connection through their training. The three all trained together, doing the same sets all season long to prepare for these Championships.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had three team members,” Craighead said, “men or women win high point. We’ve had two before but three (gives us) diversity and people that can swim a lot of different things.”

Along with them, Ethan Santiago added two second place finishes in the 100 and 200 yard butterfly, while swimmer and diver Zachary Ulrich won the Conference title in the men’s one meter dive and second in the three meter. The men worked together well in the relay events as well, winning four. 

Despite the disappointing result of finishing one point shy of second place, the Hawks women’s team still had some strong performers. Diver Sarah Dorn won the Conference title in both the one and three meter dives. Mackenzie Duffin finished second in the 1650 yard freestyle and third in the 500 yard freestyle, while Samantha Fehr added two second place finishes in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke. 

LUCKY SEVEN? The Hawks men won the school’s seventh conference championship. Now they see how they do against the best in the state. (Photo by Jakob Arnarsson/ The Express)

Now, the Hawks attention turns solely toward the State Championship being hosted at Orange Coast College. A trip that, with the help of their dynamic trio, the Hawks hope can be an even more productive Championship performance than last season, where the Hawks men tied a school record, finishing fourth overall.  

“We’re gonna be really really focused, really dialed in,” Kurr said. “(Everybody) has the same goal in State’s. So we just gotta push through and come in clutch.”

“We haven’t really set them up for top level performance yet,” Craighead said. “So we’re hoping we got a little more in us and hopefully we can get a state title between two or three of them…They’re always hard to come by. They’re no guarantees in anything.”

Top photo: The Hawks swimmer celebrate victory during the Coast Conference championships at Chabot Collgr.  (Photo by Jakob Arnarsson/ The Express)

Jakob Arnarsson is the Sports Editor of The Express. Follow him on X, formally Twitter, @JakobA2004.

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