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Zach Zauhar-Kurr wins Las Positas’ lone state title in the 400 IM

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Logan Borrelli was in shock as he looked up at the electronic timing board following the preliminary round of the 200 yard Individual Medley (IM). 

It was Thursday, May 2, the first day of the 3C2A State Championships held in Orange Coast College Aquatics Pavilion. Borrelli had come into the championship with the 15th-best 200 IM time in the state. His expectation of himself was to qualify for the finals, and then try to push his name up that list. An opportunity that never came. 

The 1:59.00 he saw by his name on the board was good only for 19th, more than two seconds behind the time needed to qualify for the final round. 

Borrelli had a shot at redemption during the 400 medley relay final later in the day. But the Hawks got disqualified for an early jump. On the first day of his first state championship, Borrelli failed to come up with any points. 

It would have been easy for the freshman to simply let things unravel from there. But Borrelli wasn’t alone. Just like for the whole season, he got the push he needed from sophomores Zach Zauhar-Kurr and Ryan Ridosko.

“Oh they’re everything,” Borrelli said. “Zack and Ryan are great competitors … Just racing those guys and having that constant clash and companionship during practice means everything.”

Las Positas didn’t have a dominant outing at the state meet. The Hawks men finished in eighth place.

They were led by sophomores Zauhar-Kurr, who won the team’s lone state title in the 400-yard IM, and Ridosko, who placed in the top five in each of his three events. Sophomore diver Zachery Ulrich finished fifth in the 1 meter and sixth in the 3 meter.

STATE CHAMP Zach Zauhar-Kurr raises a fist in celebration after winning the 400 Individual Medley final at the 3C2A State Championships at Orange Coast College. (Photo by Jakob Arnarsson)

But where the Hawks did excel was the passing of the torch. How the veterans groomed the freshmen not only keeps alive the program’s standard but sets the freshmen up for success next season. 

There was perhaps no better example than Borrelli, who Zauhar-Kurr and Ridosko helped lock in for the rest of the championship.

“They just told me I’m better than this,” Borrelli said. “Just hit a reset button. We’ve rested and we’ve done the work, it’s time to go compete and they just gave me the confidence to go out and do it.”

Four of the eight Hawks men who made the State Championship were freshmen. All four of the Hawks women at state were newcomers to the state championship stage. 

Despite their lack of experience, several of the young Hawks put together impactful performances. 

Borrelli and Samantha Fehr were two of the standouts. Despite the challenge of the opening day of the meet, Borrelli finished top ten in his next two individual events. His best finish was seventh in the 200 yard backstroke. He also performed in four of the five relay events for which the Hawks men qualified. 

Fehr competed in two events. She won bronze in the 100 yard breaststroke, setting a new school record with her time of 1:05.93. Her time surprised her and coach Jason Craighead.

“I wasn’t expecting 1:05, I’m not gonna lie” Craighead said. “That was a significant jump. She just continues to impress.” 

Borrelli and Fehr figure to be pillars for next year‘s team. They’ve gained valuable experience at the state level. 

“Always gives us something to look forward to next year,” Craighead said. “They are both (Borrelli and Fehr) really good competitors and they’re not content with where they are. They understand they swam well and they’re really pleased with their performance but at the same time, they already have the mindset of ‘ok, what can I do to be better?’ And that’s exciting for me as a coach.”

The two weren’t the only freshman Hawks to get experience. Makenzie Duffin finished 16th in the 500 yard freestyle and tenth in the 1650 yard freestyle.

MAKENZIE DUFFIN was one of four women to represent the Hawks at the 3C2A State Championships held at Orange Coast College. (Photo by Jakob Arnarsson/ The Express)

All five of the Hawks relay teams included at least one freshman in Ethan Santiago, Jay Jani or Lawrence Tolentino. Diver Sara Dorn also made a big splash for the Hawks, placing second in the 1 meter and fifth on the 3 meter. Her teammate, Annie Holm, added a seventh place in the 1 meter, but an incorrect dive held her to 14th in the 3. Men’s sophomore Ilya Krasnyy added a 14th place in the 1 meter.

But the young Hawks roles will need to shift. The leadership roles need to be filled. A responsibility that falls on their shoulders. In a team dinner held before the final day of the meet, Craighead and the team discussed the inevitable transition.

“That is the expectation,” Craighead said. “Maybe it’s Sam, maybe it’s Logan, maybe it’s Makenzie. My hope is that they are able to provide the same leadership, whether that’s verbal leadership or leading by example, and kind of keeping the momentum going.”

It’s a role that Borrelli and Fehr are not only aware of, but ready to take on with the same confident mentality they have had the entire season. 

“As a sophomore,” Borrelli said, “I know I gotta step up and help guys who maybe have not been to state champs, who maybe have the first day that I did. These guys (Zauhar Kurr and Ridosko) had experience from last year, passed it down to me so I gotta do the same.” 

Said Fehr: “I definitely think I’ll have to step up to take their spot and set an example. Because a lot of them set great examples of how to lead and swim, and I think I’ll have to step up and take over that role.”

Top photo: Logan Borrelli, center, followed the leadership of Zach Zauhar-Kurr (left) and Ryan Ridosko (right) all the way to state. (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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