Lake Braddock swimming coach Kathleen Youngren is aware that the last nine AAA Northern Region girls' champions each has gone on to win the state title. But after her Bruins won regionals Saturday, she is far from complacent entering today's state swim and dive championships at the Freedom Center in Manassas.
"I think we have a very good chance of winning," Youngren said. "Our girls have to have another amazing meet like last week. It could very possibly be another amazing meet for us . . . but I think South Lakes is an extremely strong team."
Lake Braddock edged South Lakes at regionals, 263-236, partly because the Bruins placed first, second and sixth in the diving competition. Youngren said Bruins senior diver Katie Gordon, who finished sixth at regionals, is hoping to place higher at states so she, junior Natalie West and senior Sam Poyta can sweep the top three.
"All our girls are aiming high, and I think they're capable," Youngren said.
Robinson's boys will try to claim their third consecutive state crown after winning the Northern Region last Saturday by 88 points over Lake Braddock. Rams senior Steve Scheren has a chance to break the state 100 freestyle record he set last year and also post a record in the 50 free.
Gymnasts Ready to Pounce
The Lake Braddock gymnastics team, which won state titles from 1994 to 1999 but has not made it to the state championship meet since 2000, tries to continue its climb back to the top in tomorrow's AAA Northern Region meet.
Behind a core group of four consistent all-around performers -- Sara Kubik, Kimberly Luckett, Stephanie Jones and Regina Renzi -- each of whom scored above a 36.0 in the Bruins' Patriot District win last Thursday, host Lake Braddock is the favorite among the eight schools. The top two teams will advance to the state championship Feb. 18 at Stafford High School.
"With everything I've seen through the year, I think [Lake Braddock is] the deepest team in the region," said Edison Coach Pete Novgrod, whose team was the runner-up in the National District.
Lake Braddock's 147.175 in the Patriot meet secured its first district title since 2003, after a streak of seven straight. Kubik led the Bruins with a second-place all-around (36.975). Luckett took first on bars with a 9.575.
"We're really focusing on our team goals this year," Lake Braddock Coach Ellen Hagen-Bowerman said. "Our first priority was to win the district back. The girls told me that this was what they wanted. It takes all six of my girls to do well together for us to succeed."
Arundel's Golder Leaving
Arundel boys' basketball coach Sam Golder accepted a job as assistant principal at Southern High School and will stop coaching after this season, he said
Golder, 33, has been the head coach at Arundel for eight seasons, compiling a 104-73 record. The Wildcats (11-4, 9-3) are in third place in Anne Arundel County.
Staff writer Eli Saslow contributed to this report.