Seniors spark Liberty to season-opening victory

December 6, 2011

By Bob Taylor

The Liberty High School boys swimming team, aiming for another top 10 finish at the 3A state meet in February, gave an early indication Dec. 1 why the Patriots have reasons to be optimistic this season.

Seniors Logan Briggs, Luke Duschl and Kevin Hays each won two events and swam as members of two winning relay teams as they sparked the Liberty to a 108-71 KingCo Conference 3A/2A season-opening victory against visiting Interlake at the Julius Boehm Pool.

Briggs, Duschl and Hays helped the Patriots finish seventh at last year’s Class 3A state meet. The Patriots were the second-highest placing KingCo Conference 3A team at the meet. State champion Mercer Island was the highest. Liberty also finished seventh at state in 2006. The Patriots are hoping for an even higher finish this year.

Because of Briggs, Duschl and Hays, along with some other key swimmers returning, and promising freshman Nick Klatt, Liberty coach Kris Daughters could have one of her best teams ever.

Granted the Patriots have swam just one meet, but it was against Interlake, which finished second last year in the Class 2A state meet. Interlake saw most of its top swimmers from that team graduate but it still has some strong ones left on the team.

However, Liberty showed its strength by taking first place in each event against Interlake. Briggs, who was second in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle at state last season, won both events in state-qualifying times against the Saints. He captured the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 48.96 seconds and took the 500 freestyle in 4:52.62.

Duschl, who placed at state in two events last winter, won the 100 freestyle in 51.66 and captured the 100 backstroke in 1:00.44.

Hays took the 50 freestyle in 24.04 and won the 100 butterfly in 57.3.

Raymond Ha, who missed last year’s state finals because of illness, won the 100 breaststroke in a state-qualifying time of 1:01.27. Klatt captured the 200 individual medley in 2:06.68. Jesse Herrild, who competed at the state meet in diving last year, finished first with 160.90 points.

The Patriots won the 200 medley relay in 1:46.55. Duschl, Ha, sophomore Connor Biehl and Klatt made up the relay team. Briggs, Josh Johnson, Biehl and Hays swam as members of Liberty’s winning 200 freestyle relay team, which was timed in 1:39.67.

The Patriots wrapped up the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:26.74. Briggs, Hays, Klatt and Duschl made up the relay team. Briggs, Hays and Duschl also swam as members of the relay team in the finals of the state meet last season.

Eagles take two

Issaquah opened its KingCo 4A season Dec. 2 by beating Woodinville and host Ballard. The Eagles downed Woodinville, 102-75, and overwhelmed Ballard, 109-68.

Issaquah, which has a strong nucleus of swimmers back from last season’s team that finished 11th at the state 4A meet, took first in nine of 12 events.

Brian Ruggles and Willy Matsuda each won two events and swam as members of two winning relay teams.

Ruggles, who finished third at state in the 100 freestyle and fifth in the 50 freestyle, won both races. He captured the 50 freestyle in a state-qualifying time of 22.73, not far from his 22.14 at state. He won the 100 freestyle in 50.26.

Matsuda, who placed in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly at state, took first in the 100 backstroke and first in the 100 butterfly. He had a state-qualifying time of 54.81 in the 100 butterfly and that time was better than the one of 54.96 that he had last year at state. Matsuda won the 100 backstroke in 58.44.

Ruggles anchored Issaquah’s winning 200 medley relay team, which finished in 1:44.64. Matsuda led off the relay. Austin Melody and Gabe Florsheim were other members of the relay team.

Issaquah’s 200 freestyle relay team of Dave Nam, Spencer McCulloh, Florsheim and Ruggles finished first in 1:33.97, not far off the time of 1:33.95 that the Eagles had at state.

Matsuda, Florsheim, McCulloh and Nam made up Issaquah’s winning 400 freestyle relay team, which finished first in 3:36.91.

Other Issaquah first places came from Keith Nussbaum, who won the 200 freestyle in 2:00.32, and Melody, who captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.13.

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