Sports

Hornets look to defend league title

It won’t be easy for the Enumclaw High boys swim team to defend its South Puget Sound League 3A title and go undefeated again, but coach Ann Bettencourt believes she has the personnel to get the job done.

“We did well last year,” said Bettencourt, who as a last-minute replacement and first-year coach last season took the Hornets to their second straight undefeated season, team title and a repeat as the league meet champions. “We have a lot of experienced swimmers on the team that should do very well.”

If she has any concern it’s the league realignment. During the fall, the South Puget Sound League 3A lost Auburn and Auburn Riverside, but gained formidable Peninsula, which earned an 18th-place team finish at state, and Lakes. Toss in those teams that stayed like Sumner, Bonney Lake and Auburn Mountainview, and the Hornets will need to be on their toes.

The Hornets start the season with a nonleague contest at North Thurston at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and then host Capital at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center, also a nonleague contest, at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Capital and Timberline, the Hornets’ Jan. 15 opponent, were Top 20 finishers at state.

The Hornets return a crew of veterans from last year’s team and most of those guys are in shape and ready to hit the water after putting in a full season with EHS’s water polo team. Familiar names abound, like Greg Rufener, Pierce Beigh, Josh Petersen, Zach Petersen, Travis Culp, Shane Jackson, Tim Holston, Tanner Ross, Taylor Capellaro, Alex Stopsack, Willie Skelley and Sam Horn.

Rufener, a senior, raced to an 11th-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and a 14th-place finish in the 100 backstroke at the Class 3A state swim meet in February. He joined teammates Josh Petersen, Jackson and Beigh at the state meet on the 200-yard medley relay, and Petersen also was part of the Hornets’ state 400 freestyle relay in 2007.

Newcomers include Jeremy McCarthy, a junior, and freshmen Gabe Sales and Logan Ross.

Assistant coach Steve Bannerot returns to work with EHS’s divers again this season. Returning to the springboard are veterans Garrett Hall and Miles Taylor.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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