Marey nabs swimmer of year

Kodiak boys win again, Kodiak girls wear first-ever region crown

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2007


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  Soldotna's Lyla Marey, center, celebrates her win in the 50-yard freestyle event with teammates Lisa Evans, left, and Becky Warton on Saturday afternoon during the Region III swimming and diving championships at Soldotna High School. Below, she swims to another win in the 100-yard freestyle. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Soldotna's Lyla Marey, center, celebrates her win in the 50-yard freestyle event with teammates Lisa Evans, left, and Becky Warton on Saturday afternoon during the Region III swimming and diving championships at Soldotna High School. Below, she swims to another win in the 100-yard freestyle.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Seated in a chair alongside the rest of the 100-yard freestyle finalists, Soldotna's Lyla Marey was mentally preparing for her upcoming race when she heard her name called over the loudspeaker.

"I was focusing on my 100 and I was like, 'Oh, my name!'" she recalled. "I had to go up there."

The senior promptly claimed her spot atop the Region III awards podium at Soldotna High School at precisely 5:24 p.m., accepted the first-place medal for her performance in the 50-yard freestyle and returned to her original place in the chair.


SoHi freshman Olivia Bowen cruises to a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly event at the Region III championships Saturday afternoon. Bowen came into the race with the fourth-fastest seed time.

It was back to business.

"I got up there and I was just so excited, just happy to be there, just happy that I got first and I was celebrating it," she explained. "Then right when I stepped off, it was time to get back in the zone."

Five minutes later, at 5:29 p.m., Marey dove into the water, captured the 100-yard crown and secured another berth in next week's state championships at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.

And for good measure, she was later named the 2007 Region III Female Swimmer of the Year.

"It's very exciting, especially being a father and it's quite exciting, a little bit emotional. You've got to control you're feelings sometimes," said Stars' coach and Lyla's father, Sohail. "But I'm very happy with what she did."


Soldotna's Lyla Marey, center, celebrates her win in the 50-yard freestyle event with teammates Lisa Evans, left, and Becky Warton on Saturday afternoon during the Region III swimming and diving championships at Soldotna High School. Below, she swims to another win in the 100-yard freestyle.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Lyla wasn't too disappointed, either, when she had to grace the podium with her presence yet again.

"As many times as possible," she said.

She wasn't the only one, though, as teammate Olivia Bowen won the 100-yard butterfly and both, along with Michaela Shirnberg and Randi Freestone, comprised the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team and the second-place 200-yard medley relay team.

"I could not really ask for better from them," Sohail Marey said. "In fact, prior to the meet, we sat and I went over every one of their events and I predicted what times they are going to be getting. And 90 percent, I was accurate ... and the other 10 percent, they even did better than what I expected. I'm very pleased."

Homer senior Brian Ritchie was named the 2007 Region III Male Swimmer of the Year after capturing first in both the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley.

"It was a challenge," he said. "It's always a challenge."

Also from the Kenai Peninsula, Seward's Kenny Audette is heading to state after winning the title in the 100-yard breaststroke.

And while the Kodiak boys claimed their fourth region title in the last five years, it was the Kodiak girls, with only nine competitors, that opened some eyes, winning their first region crown in the 30-year history of the program.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," said Kodiak's Naomi Franquelin, the 2006 Region III Swimmer of the Year who also won the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle on Saturday. "Every single year it's like second place, third place, second place. Now, it's our year and as a senior, it's awesome to see it before you have to leave it.

"It's so cool just knowing that we were one of the first girls teams from Kodiak to actually do that," she added. "It's really amazing."

Despite a limited squad, the Bears' performance wasn't shocking to people within the sport.

"They're dominant. They do have a very deep team. Each one of them is placing in the finals," Sohail Marey said. "Any coach would prefer to have nine with placing in the finals, than having 30 and only eight placing in the finals.

"Obviously they won it (Saturday) and they deserve it," he added. "There were a few times it got close and I think we snatched it from them. This is the time for them to win."

Kenai coach Lee Moore, who had Dylan Wannamaker place third in the 100-yard backstroke, which Moore believes should be good enough to qualify for state, also knows how talented Kodiak is, on both sides.

"They're not just deep, they're quality deep," he said. "They've got some top-echelon swimmers that run three and four deep in some of the strokes. Like the 500-free, they had four boys in the final out of the six. They really have dedicated swimmers and some coaches that do a great job with them.

"While Kodiak has had some great swimmers coming through, they've never been able to put together that title," Moore added of the girls. "It's long in coming but it's well-deserved."

Leading the Bears was Karen Philpot, who took first in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, and Laura Griffing, who set a new region record in the 100-yard backstroke.

"They have nine girls and they're all just awesome. And they're all really nice girls," Lyla Marey said. "We have less experience ... and they just have a whole lot of experience."

For the Kodiak boys, Eric Friccero won the 50-yard freestyle and Scott Wandersee took the diving competition.

But one of the bigger surprises of the afternoon was the performance of Bowen, a freshman, who came from behind to capture the 100-yard butterfly and later placed second in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing under one second behind Philpot.

"I just was really determined to win because I'm a freshman and I really wanted to go to state," she said. "I'm just really excited."

So is her coach, who said he's been working with her all season.

"Being a freshman, she'd get intimidated by these seniors and juniors," he said. "So, finishing the 100 fly meant a lot to her."

Sohail's also crossing his fingers that Shirnberg qualifies for state after swimming her best time and placing fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, just over half-of-a-second behind Freestone, who took third.

"I cannot ask for more from my kids," he said. "They met expectations. In fact, beyond that."

Matthew Carroll can be reached at

Region III Meet

At Soldotna High School



Team scores: 1. Kodiak 100.5; 2. Soldotna 73; 3. Homer 70.5; 4. Colony 37; 5. Wasilla 24; 6. Palmer 9; 7. Valdez 8; 8. Seward 4; 9. Skyview 2.

200 Medley Relay 1. Kodiak (Philpot, Griffing, Young, Franquelin), 1:53.30; 2. Soldotna, 1:56.48; 3. Homer, 2:00.32; 4. Colony, 2:00.40; 5. Wasilla, 2:05.89; 6. Valdez, 2:08.43.

200 Freestyle 1. Karen Philpot, Kod, 2:02.69; 2. Jaclyn Arndt, Hom, 2:05.69; 3. Randi Freestone, Sol, 2:07.86; 4. Saanti Steyer, Hom, 2:07.95; 5. Naomi Beck-Goodell, Kod, 2:09.21; 6. Caity Crombie, Col, 2:12.63.

200 Individual Medley 1. Naomi Franquelin, Kod, 2:16.47; 2. Myra Scholze, Kod, 2:23.01; 3. Michaela Shirnberg, Sol, 2:23.84; 4. Donna McNulty, Hom, 2:28.75; 5. Jennifer Bitterman, Hom, 2:29.19; 6. Eileen McNulty, Hom, 2:30.41.

50 Freestyle 1. Lyla Marey, Sol, 24.91; 2. Caity Stigen, Was, 25.51; 3. Grace Harrison, Hom, 26.21; 4. Jorden Greiner, 26.65; 4. Kyla Young, Kod, 26.65; 6. Meghan O'Leary, Sew, 26.90.

1-meter Diving 1. Rachel Kennedy, Was, 308.10; 2. Suzannah Whitford, Col, 287.05; 3. Jackie Schachle, Col, 284.50; 4. Madelyn Peterson, Pal, 275.20; 5. Vivalis Christiansen, Was, 272.50; 6. Emmy Olsen, Hom, 245.60.

100 Butterfly 1. Olivia Bowen, Sol, 1:04.47; 2. Caity Stigen, Was, 1:04.62; 3. Kyla Young, Kod, 1:04.64; 4. Naomi Beck-Goodell, Kod, 1:05.98; 5. Jorden Grainer, Hom, 1:06.98; 6. Karina Barria, Was, 1:10.11.

100 Freestyle 1. Lyla Marey, Sol, 54.68; 2. Laura Griffing, Kod, 55.95; 3. Grace Harrison, 58.10; 4. Saanti Steyer, Hom, 58.40; 5. Elyse Johnston, Kod, 58.77; 6. Eileen McNulty, 1:01.44.

500 Freestyle 1. Naomi Franquelin, Kod, 5:24.67; 2. Katelyn Payne, Col, 5:27.27; 3. Jaclyn Arndt, Hom, 5:37.64; 4. Donna McNulty, Hom, 5:44.02; 5. Sara Bitterman, 5:52.26; 6. Iris Fletcher, Hom, 5:56.56.

200 Freestyle Relay 1. Soldotna (Bowen, Shirnberg, Freestone, Marey), 1:44.02; 2. Homer, 1:45.54; 3. Kodiak, 1:46.78; 4. Colony, 1:47.68; 5. Valdez, 1:54.52.

100 Backstroke 1. Karen Philpot, Kod, 1:01.81; 2. Olivia Bowen, Sol, 1:02.73; 3. Katelyn Payne, Col, 1:03.58; 4. Meghan O'Leary, Sew, 1:04.09; 5. Jessie McKay, Val, 1:06.08; 6. Kalsin Clark, Kod, 1:08.79.

100 Breaststroke 1. Laura Griffing, Kod, 1:07.76 (region record); 2. Myra Scholze, Kod, 1:10.13; 3. Randi Freestone, Sol, 1:12.98; 4. Michaela Shirnberg, Sol, 1:13.50; 5. Brandi Day, Col, 1:15.22; 6. Jennifer Bitterman, Hom, 1:16.09.

400 Freestyle Relay 1. Kodiak (Griffing, Philpot, Young, Franquelin), 3:45.39 (region record); 2. Homer, 3:57.35; 3. 3. Soldotna, 4:17.79; 4. Palmer, 4:23.76; 5. Colony, 4:25.70; 6. Skyview, 4:32.87.


Team scores: 1. Kodiak 86; 2. Wasilla 62; 3. Colony 49; 4. Soldotna 40; 5. Homer 35; 6. Seward 21; 7. Kenai 13; 7. Palmer 13; 9. Cordova 8.

200 Medley Relay 1. Wasilla (Long, Merriam, Hightower, Frey), 1:43.39; 2. Soldotna, 1:44.56; 3. Colony, 1:48.72; 4. Kodiak, 1:49.00; 5. Kenai, 1:50.68; 6. Seward, 1:51.45.

200 Freestyle 1. Jeffrey Long, Col, 1:49.77; 2. Christian Long, Was, 1:50.04; 3. Austin Reed, Kod, 1:51.44; 4. John Roedl, Hom, 1:57.58; 5. Chad Paulson, Kod, 1:58.66; 6. Anders Nyquist, Ken, 2:00.74.

200 Individual Medley 1. Brian Ritchie, Hom, 2:07.06; 2. Winter Heaven, Sol, 2:09.67; 3. Chris Paulson, Kod, 2:09.75; 4. Kenny Audette, Sew, 2:10.32; 5. Hayden Linscheid, Kod, 2:10.58; 6. Quinn Langfitt, Kod, 2:21.83.

50 Freestyle 1. Eric Friccero, Kod, 22.73; 2. Rhowe Stefanski, Col, 23.11; 3. Ryan O'Leary, Sew, 23.28; 4. Kyle Johnson, Pal, 23.94; 5. David Psenak, Pal, 24.46; 6. Cory Wagner, Was, 24.48.

1-meter Diving 1. Scott Wandersee, Kod, 418.50; 2. Tim Schachle, Col, 403.20; 3. David Kennedy, Was, 353.60; 4. Alexander Deedy, Col, 347.50; 5. Harrison Lane, Col, 295.45; 6. Richard Liebing, Pal, 275.15.

100 Butterfly 1. Brian Ritchie, Hom, 53.59; 2. Winter Heaven, Sol, 55.72; 3. Tommy Hightower, Was, 56.74; 4 Anders Nyquist, Ken, 58.56; 5. Clayton Schauff, Kod, 59.17; 6. Dylan Wannamaker, Ken, 1:02.67.

100 Freestyle 1. Jeffrey Frey, Col, 50.51; 2. Ryan O'Leary, Sew, 50.79; 3. Rhowe Stefanski, Col, 50.86; 4. Colin Dudley, Sol, 51.57; 5. Kyle Irving, Cor, 51.86; 6. David Psenak, 53.95.

500 Freestyle 1. Christian Long, Was, 4:58.94; 2. Austin Reed, Kod, 5:01.76; 3. Hayden Linscheid, Kod, 5:10.48; 4. John Roedl, Hom, 5:20.79; 5. Devon Christiansen, Kod, 5:27.91; 6. Chad Paulson, Kod, 5:32.44.

200 Freestyle Relay 1. Kodiak (Reed, Linscheid, Paulson, Friccero), 1:33.66; 2. Wasilla, 1:34.21; 3. Colony, 1:35.49; 4. Soldotna, 1:35.92; 5. Homer, 1:37.42.

100 Backstroke 1. Charles Frey, Was, 57.61; 2. Eric Friccero, Kod, 57.94; 3. Dylan Wannamaker, Ken, 58.14; 4. Colin Dudley, Sol, 58.32; 5. Kyle Irving, Cor, 1:00.20; 6. Quinn Langfitt, Kod, 1:01.13.

100 Breaststroke 1. Kenny Audette, Sew, 1:04.09; 2. Chris Paulson, Kod, 1:04.62; 3. Kyle Johnson, 1:05.47; 4. Will Anderson, Hom, 1:05.96; 5. Forrest Eissler, Sol, 1:06.60.

400 Freestyle Relay 1. Kodiak (Schauff, Reed, Paulson, Friccero), 3:23; 2. Wasilla, 3:23.97; 3. Homer, 3:33.20; 4. Soldotna, 3:46.82; 5. Cordova, 3:51.63; 6. Palmer, 4:06.76.

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