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Crusaders crush the state stage with Simons, Nosacks, Kreutzer starring big

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - The Jesuit boys swimming team won its sixth straight Class 6A state championship last weekend.

Two days before the Jesuit boys' swimming squad continued its dynastic surge, they met at Fay Marie Lustria's house for a final team dinner comprised of both Crusader girls and guys Class 6A state qualifiers.

They wolfed down plates of Olive Garden spaghetti, scarfed breadsticks and salad, traded jokes and stories, taking the edge off with carbo-loading and teenage hijinks before their anticipated championship crowning. As the night wore on, the Crusaders came together as a group, hunkered down and openly stated their state meet goals. Times and finishes were bandied about. Squad captains stood up and reflected on the season as a whole. But as Jesuit spoke those individual ambitions into existence, the team collective was never far from its mind's eye. First places were great, the swimmers said, because they contributed the program-wide cause: capturing a mind-bending sixth straight championship.

With that mentality, Jesuit again crushed the state level, racking up six first places and three runner ups to pile up 124 points and another easy 6A state title on Feb. 22 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center. Lakeridge, West Linn and Clackamas finished second, third and fourth overall.

"We're all so tight-knit," Jesuit sophomore Nick Simons said. "We're like brothers. Even when we're feeling down, even after a tough race, we try to hype up our teammates and try to get them going."

"We know we could go get the job done, but we had to be mentally prepared to do it," Jesuit sophomore Matthias Kreutzer said. "If one person is hurting before the relays, we push them mentally to make sure they're ready. Even if they're not feeling, we get them in the mood to swim fast."

Unyieldingly deep with state champion stars, supporting players and moral support up and down the roster, Jesuit is a program that seemingly has every necessary championship trait. Simons was an absolute powerhouse at state, defending his title in the 100 back, winning the butterfly just ahead of teammate Diego Nosack and chipping into Jesuit's 200 medley and 400 free relays. Those two aforementioned relays have won the past six state titles. Diego and Marco Nosack, Simons and Kreutzer all helped the 200 medley relay set a new state record.

"It felt good to do it for the team," Simons said. "It was a real team effort this year. Placing first is great, but getting those other places too was clutch."

Indeed, Simons wasn't alone. Marco Nosack won the 100 breaststroke and Kreutzer took top honors in the 50 free. The Crusaders had nine 'A' finalists in all and qualified a finalist in 10 of the 11 events. Jesuit has grown in strength and stature with each passing season. And with a young crew on hand with Simons, Kreutzer, the Nosacks and others all coming back, this dynasty isn't close to being done. The tradition continues.

"I think we can keep this going for a long time," Simons said.

Last year the Jesuit torch was passed from Trent Martinez to Marco Nosack and his crew of sophomore star comrades who have kept the Crusader standard sky high.

"We have a really great legacy of swimmers," Simons said. "They passed down a lot of team spirit. They taught how to be a part of a strong team. They taught us how to be a part of a community. Now, we've become the leaders and we teach the younger kids. It's a cycle."

Both sophomore stars credited senior captain Chetan Chilkunda for his caring, congratulatory style of leadership, the kind that's welcoming to any all underclassmen who come through the program.

"The team's community is just so open," Kreutzer said. "You get to become brothers with other guys on the team and get super close by the end of the season."

Chilkunda was part of Jesuit's winning 400 freestyle relay along with Marco Nosack, Simons and Kreutzer.

"We wanted to get Chet a gold," Simons said with a smile.

Westview's 200 medley relay team took seventh. Wildcat junior Randon Hall placed fifth in the 200 free and the 100 fly. Wildcat senior Neer Javadekar was ninth in the 200 individual medley. Westview senior Lewis Do finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke. Do, Hall, Javadekar and Andrew Lee were all a part of the Wildcat 200 medley. Beaverton senior David Kraske took sixth in the 100 fly. Sunset's 200 medley relay took ninth and its 200 free relay finished third with Jon Westlake, Kevin Lei, Kevin Park and Regis Wang. That same Apollo relay crew took second in the 400 free relay. Westview's aforementioned 200 medley team placed sixth in the said event.

Sunset finished seventh as a team and Westview was 11th. For more on the Class 6A state championship meet, please visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit junior Marco Nosack won the 100-yard butterfly and helped the Crusaders cruise to a Class 6A title.


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