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After a season of hard work and triumphs, the swimming Hawks faced their final battle.   

The season has been drawn to the end for the Las positas swim and dive team but it ended at the biggest meet of them all. The 2023 California Community College Athletic Association swim and dive state championship was held at East LA college from May 4 till May 6, a three-day showing of the best community college athletes in swim and dive. The Hawks showed out with their performances, and a couple took the podium. 

Las Positas had a total of 13 athletes qualify for the state meet this year. For their women they had Ashley Sand, Samantha Dorn, Sarah Thompson, Monica Ureno and Jayme Helm. Not only competing in their solo events but all belonged to a team relay. The Hawk’s men team consisted of Ross Brown, Ryan Ridosko, Marcu Holunga, Zach Zauhar-Kurr, Zach Perry, Steve Ragatz, Ryan Clark and Zach Ulrich. 

Las Positas participated in an abundance of events. From short distances like the 100 breaststroke and 200 free swim, to even longer distances like the 500 free swim and the 1650 yard free swim. The male and female team participated in medley and free relays. 

With over a dozen representing Las Positas college, it can be said that the Hawks’ presence was felt.

“I thought our whole team did really well, it was probably our best meet by far,” Said Ashley Sand, Las Positas swimmer for the 200 IM swim and both 100 and 200 breaststroke. 

Ashley Sand competes in a butterfly event at the Coast Conference Championships on April 21, 2023. She has
recently placed third overall at the state championships. (Photo credit: Alan Lewis).

The meet was filled with competition but the pressure only turned the hawks to diamonds since a few placed fairly high at this big meet. Holunga was able to win first place for the 1650 yard free event and the 500 yard free event. For the 1650 yard, he had a time of 15:53.52 and in the 500 yard, a time of 4:35.09. 

“At every single meet, at least in the mile, he’s dropped time from the beginning of the season,” Sand said. 

That he did. At the very start of the season at the coast conference kick-off back on Feb 17, Holunga had swam the very same race but did it a minute and 29 seconds slower. Clocking in at 17:23, Marcu took only 3 months to get his time down to a winning time.

Sand would also take home her own medal as she placed 3rd in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a time of 1:07.78. 

“It was a close race between three and four, but I really wanted to get that third place,” Sand said

Not only that, but she dropped three seconds off her time in the 200 yard breaststroke, placing fourth overall in her race. 

The men’s team would see a couple more high finishes. Zachary Zauhar-Kurr placed third overall in the 100 yard breaststroke swim with a time of 57.01. He also received fourth overall in the 200 yard breaststroke, clocking in at 2:04.12. In the 800 free relay,  Zauhar-Kurr won another third-place medal accompanied by Brown, Holunga, and Ridoskon. They were able to get a time of 6:52.85, securing the third place spot and bringing another medal back to Las Positas. 

At the meet, plenty of school records had been broken too. Both of Marcu’s times beat the previously held school records for the 500 free (previously 4:35.30) and the 1650 yard free swim (16:32.07) , the 800 free relay team as well set a school record (previously 7:11.46). Ashley Sand would also break her previously set record in the 100 yard breast (1:07.60) and 200 breast swim event (2:28.00).  

“I’m hoping they can have a big team. I am hoping Craighead can get some more swimmers and they can continue to go to state. Because I really enjoyed my time on the Las Positas swim team and I hope there can be more swimmers that have the same experience as me,” Sand said.

With the season coming to an end, the question is how will Las Positas follow up this stellar year at state. With coach Jason Craighead leading the team and plenty of athletic talents, Las Positas made their name known and the team’s growth in only the last year only raises the question of how many more can they get into state next year. With five medals now added to their trophy case, the future of the team is bright.      

Gabriel Carver is a staff writer for the Express.

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