SAULT STE. MARIE - The Houghton girls' swim team made the most of a long bus trip to Sault Ste. Marie, taking the top spot in a four-team meet with Rudyard, Marquette and the host Blue Devils.
The Gremlin girls, despite facing perhaps the strongest field they'll see before U.P. Finals in February, won all but one event and claimed a 47-point victory over second-place Marquette, 216-169. Sault (104 1/2) was third, followed by Rudyard (49 1/2).
"The girls had such a phenomenal meet, the amount of season-best times was out of sight. It wasn't just the top scorers, but every girl either put points on the board or had a season-best time," Houghton coach Roger Woods said.
Three Gremlins in particular blazed to big days.
Senior Rebecca Jaszczak led off the first winning relay of the meet (the 200-yard medley relay), anchored the last (the 400 free relay) and won the 50 free (26.83 seconds) and 100 back (1:09.31) in between.
Another senior, Jill Toorongian, did the same feat, though she helped the two free relay teams to victory in addition to individual victories in the 200 free (2:14.21) and 100 free (1:01.08).
GIRLS: Houghton 216, Marquette 169, Sault Ste. Marie 104 1/2, Rudyard 49 1/2
200 medley relay - HOUGHTON (Rebecca Jaszczak, Sophie Witting, Annika Wheeler, Ashley Betts), 2:08.59.
200 free - Jill Toorongian, H, 2:14.21
200 IM - Katy Beckstrom, M, 2:30.42
50 free - Jaszczak, H, 26.83
1-meter diving - Alina Ryynanen, H, 148.05 pts.
100 fly - Witting, H, 1:10.21
100 free - Toorongian, H, 1:01.08
500 free - Hannah Gundlach, H, 6:02.87
200 free relay - HOUGHTON (Witting, Colleen Toorongian, Betts, J. Toorongian), 1:53.56
100 back - Jaszczak, H, 1:09.31
100 breast - Witting, H, 1:17.77
400 free relay - HOUGHTON (J. Toorongian, C. Toorongian, Betts, Jaszczak), 4:10.68
BOYS: Marquette 175, Sault Ste. Marie 173, Houghton 118, Rudyard 83
200 medley relay - MARQUETTE (Luke Sides, Nathan Rotundo, Sam Williams, Colin McCommons), 1:56.87
200 free - James DeClerck, H, 1:57.52
200 IM - Armando Moyyad, H, 2:13.31
50 free - Adam Sexton, R, 24.70
1-meter diving - Grant Rydholm, M, 172.40 pts.
100 fly - Moyyad, H, 59.74
100 free - Daniel Shonnard, H, 52.27
500 free - James DeClerck, H, 5:24.16
200 free relay - SAULT STE. MARIE (Andrew Rechner, Max Knight, Casey Pepin, Bryan Colborn), 1:45.13
100 back - Sides, M, 1:06.92
100 breast - Rotundo, M, 1:08.17
400 free relay - MARQUETTE (Sides, McCommons, Williams, Rotundo), 3:46.39.
Sophomore Sophie Witting was on two winning relays and took the 100 fly (1:10.21) and 100 breast (1:17.77) individually.
"The relays were the best I had seen this year, girls and boys. The girls finished off swims that that hadn't been done in the past and the boys, though a little thin in terms of numbers, really rallied to place and have good splits," Woods said.
On the boys' side, Houghton got several strong individual performances, winning five events, but lacked the team depth to finish in the top two or extend a meet-winning streak extending 2 1/2 years.
James DeClerck (200 free, 500 free) and Armando Moyyad (100 fly, 200 IM) took pairs of victories, while the fifth was claimed by Daniel Shonnard in the 100 free.
"On the boys side, Daniel's 100 free, Vladi (Kotov)'s 50 free and Armando's 200 IM were great races that started to show the great swims that they are going to be putting up the rest of the season," Woods said.
Kotov took third in the 50 free.
Marquette claimed a narrow 175-173 victory over the hosts, while Houghton had 118 points and Rudyard 83.
The Houghton team will host an alumni meet at the high school Friday at 4 p.m. Any alum is welcome to come and compete against the current team.