Palo Verde boys win final event, join girls as swimming champs

CARSON CITY — Waiting to swim the anchor leg of the boys 400-yard freestyle relay, Logan Houck had nothing to do but watch as Palo Verde teammate David Miller opened a two-second lead in the final event of the Division I state swimming and diving championships Saturday at Carson City Aquatic Facility.

Houck already had won both of his individual events, but the Panthers were tied with Green Valley in the team standings and the title would come down to which fared better in the relay.

Palo Verde’s girls already were celebrating their own team championship, and Houck rallied them together for moral support.

“I started getting really pumped up, telling everybody to get behind them, and we all started screaming and hollering,” Houck said.

Houck hit the water with the same two-second lead and hit the pad first with a leg of 47.5 seconds, clinching the third consecutive state title for the Palo Verde boys and sixth in eight years.

“I’m a super sentimental person, and I carry a lot of these memories with me,” Houck said. “I couldn’t have a better memory to end high school than doing this with all of these guys here. I’ll remember it forever.”

Houck won the boys 200 freestyle in 1:40.23 despite being in third place at the final turn.

He then set a state meet record of 4:27.90 in the 500 freestyle, winning by almost nine seconds.

“I felt really strong, and I didn’t know until I finished it was a state record,” Houck said. “Altitude adjusted, it’s a two-second drop from my best time, and to break the state record at altitude is a shock.”

Michael Velasquez sparked Green Valley, winning the 200 individual medley in 1:52.23 and 100 breaststroke in 56.4.

Palo Verde’s boys finished with 88 points, getting 18 for winning the final relay. Green Valley finished with 76 after getting six in the race.

Palo Verde’s girls cruised to their first state championship since 2009, compiling 131 points. Green Valley was second with 100 and Coronado third with 65.

“I had the goal to win both at the beginning of the year,” Palo Verde coach Brent Gonzalez said. “I felt we had the talent with the boys, but the girls I was unsure, because Green Valley has a lot of talent.”

Green Valley’s Abby Richter set meet records in two events. She won the 200 individual medley in 2:02.73, then broke a 13-year-old record in the 100 backstroke by more than half a second with a time of 55.09.

Palo Verde’s Erin Emery also was a two-event champion, capturing the girls 200 freestyle in 1:49.54 and 500 freestyle in 4:51.09

In Division I-A, Boulder City swept both team titles, the fifth in a row for the boys team and third straight for the girls. The boys scored 67 points, with Faith Lutheran second with 64. The girls amassed 109 points, with Truckee second with 63.

Sam Sauerbrei and Alex Hubel led the way for Boulder City. Sauerbrei set Division I-A state meet records of 1:52.75 in the boys 200 individual medley and 57.98 in the 100 breaststroke.

Hubel won the girls 200 freestyle in 1:51.87 and set a state record of 51.17 in the 100 freestyle.

“Most of my kids either held their position or improved,” Boulder City coach Sara Carroll said. “They worked as a team, and they all stepped up.”


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