HHS swimmers make splash at Pirate

Sudol happy with performances

By: John E. Powers
   The Hillsborough High School boys and girls had a very productive visit to this past weekend’s 27th annual Pirate Invitational.
   The invitational, known as the most prestigious championship meet in the state, gave the Raiders a great stage to show their growing talents.
   Hillsborough’s boys finished fourth Saturday with 151 points – five ahead of Bridgewater-Raritan – and behind champion St. Joseph of Metuchen, which scored 212, second-place Greenwich (Conn.), which had 206 and Christian Brothers Academy with 183. The Raiders finished as the first of eight state public schools in the meet.
   The HHS girls finished fifth Sunday with 103 points – once again ahead of Bridgewater-Raritan’s 93 and behind champion Mount St. Mary Academy of Watchung, which had 323½ points.
   "One of our team goals was to place in the top five, which we did," Hillsborough coach Todd Sudol said of the girls.
   Kelsey Hurley was second in the backstroke with a 1:03.68 and third in the butterfly at 1:01.77. Amanda Kautz was fourth in the breaststroke with a 1:10.48, a time with which she qualified for the Meet of Champions. She also was eighth in the 200 IM with a 2:19.07.
   "We’re proud of her, the way she’s been swimming," Sudol said. "This is a tough meet mentally because some kids, like (Kautz) herself, can do eight swims in one day. With the breaststroke being at the end of the meet, she was still able to pull through and do her best time."
   Ariel Newman was sixth at 1:13.68. Miranda Steel was sixth in the 500 freestyle at 5:41.12 and the 200 medley relay team was fourth at 1:59.91. Hurley added another impressive outing to her comeback season. She missed most of last year with a shoulder injury.
   "She was injured last year so for her to rebound back this year and get second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 fly was great," Sudol said. "Again she qualified for both in the Meet of Champions already this year. She’s excited, she’s been racing well. She’s healthy."
   Sudol was impressed with the rest of his team as well, including Newman.
   "She was close to her best time. I thought she had a great day. She swam eight races," said Sudol, adding that Lauren Horowitz reached her best time in the 500 freestyle.
   "After a meet like this, it’s all about building our confidence for the season," Sudol added. "We do train pretty hard up into this meet, but like I said yesterday with the boys, we put all of that aside to race. We’re leaving this meet, especially after finishing top-five, with a lot of confidence. That’s what we’re going to need heading into county and conference and the post season. Confidence in swimming goes a long way."
   The HHS boys also did well. Pat Kuehne was second in the breaststroke at 1:01.52 behind Scott Marino of St. Joseph of Metuchen. Marino had a meet- record time of 58.93. Kuehne was also second to Marino in the 200 IM with a 2:02.55. Tim Rauch was second in the 500 to West Windsor-Plainsboro South’s Brian Monroe 4:45.92-4:57.29 and was fourth in the 200 freestyle in 1:48.96.
   James VanBiervliet was second in the 100 back at 57.41 to CBA’s Larkin MacDonald, who went 56.39. The Raiders were second in the 200 IM relay with a 1:41.076 behind Bridgewater-Raritan’s 1:40.65. The team of VanBiervliet, Peter Cole, Kuehne and Sean Downey combined for its best time of the season.
   "When they see our guys beat some of the other big-name guys it gets everyone fired up, and they usually swim very well," Sudol said. "But they came in focused. This is a meet that we focus on. We like this meet, so despite being tired and still training hard for the season we kind of put all of that aside for this race. I’m proud of them for that."
   The Raiders get back to their dual meet season Thursday when both teams host Westfield at the Hillsborough YMCA. Meet time is 3 p.m.