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Both Gators teams win SAC meet

Land O'Lakes' boys team becomes the first to win the SAC conference title four straight times, and the girls team takes its first conference crown.

By STEVE LEE
Published October 15, 2006


TRINITY - "I don't know," was Land O'Lakes girls coach Robin Hilgenberg's repeated response on the Gators' shot at a rare sweep during Saturday's Sunshine Athletic Conference meet.

In a day of firsts at the Trinity YMCA pool, the Gators became the first boys team to win four straight times and the Land O'Lakes girls won their first conference crown.

Not since Ridgewood in 2001 has one school claimed both titles. River Ridge also took both in 1998, and in 1997 the Royal Knights won the boys competition and split the girls championship with Gulf.

Hilgenberg and Barbara Hayes, the Land O'Lakes boys coach, echoed comments about treating the team as a collective group rather than separating boys and girls at practices. That, they said, fostered camaraderie and fueled Saturday's victories.

"I can't tell you how satisfying it is for both of them to win - finally," Hayes said.

"We're just proud of our team," Hilgenberg said. "The boys want the girls to win, and the girls want the boys to win."

In the boys meet, the Gators totaled 97 points, followed by Pasco 55 and host Mitchell (45).

The Land O'Lakes girls scored 76 points to finish ahead of runnerup Mitchell (60) and Pasco (50.5).

Individually, three records were broken Saturday. Mitchell's Renzo Alvarez set marks in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 3.28 seconds) and 500 freestyle (4:50.09), and River Ridge's Dimitri Arnaoutis broke the record in the 100 free (50.71).

"He could have swam anything and broke those records," Mitchell assistant Regina Drum said of Alvarez, a junior transfer from Peru.

Arnaoutis, a senior, credited Pasco's Patrick Epperson, runnerup in the 50 free at 51.54, for pushing him in a close race.

"(Epperson) was pretty close," Arnoutis said. "I had a really good third turn. I hit the wall good, and I had some momentum.

"Getting a record is great, because next year (others are) going to see that record."

In another first, Carley Prynn became Wesley Chapel's first SAC diving champion. During the diving competition Friday, Wesley Chapel students supported Prynn by painting their bare chests in the school's blue-and-while colors to read: G-O-C-A-R-L-E-Y.

"I thought that would make her nervous, but she did really well," Wesley Chapel coach Lisa Whidden said. "Hopefully, it'll help her at districts."

Contact Steve Lee at lee@sptimes.com.