After consecutive forfeits to start their season, the Braden River boys and girls swim teams finally hit the water Wednesday, splitting a pair of meets against Saint Stephen's at the G.T. Bray park pool.
Sophomore Luke Morris had a hand in four victories to lead the Braden River boys to a 164-114 victory. Morris won the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke and swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. Though he didn't win his race, senior Chuck Lee set a school record in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 24.82.
Ellie Berdusco led the Falcons to a 153-144 victory. She won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. Teammates Lauri Schleicher (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Kristen Brockett (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke) also won two individual events.
n Saint Stephen's already proved it can win a big match at Bradenton Christian after beating the Panthers in five last year to clinch the top spot in the district tournament.
Tonight, the Falcons will try to win another when they visit the Panthers for a Class 3A-District 10 match. And while each team has three more district games after tonight, this match has some meaning.
BCS is hosting the district tournament this year. With its loud crowd and cramped setting, the gymnasium can be a tough place to play for visiting teams, and a win tonight can give the Falcons more confidence when the postseason gets under way late next month.
n Lakewood Ranch team isn't slowing down in its schedule this fall. The Mustangs head to West Palm for the two-day Honda tournament starting this Friday, before returning for a one-day event called the Outback north of Tampa on Monday. Then it's the prestigious Qdoba Tournament of Champions at Providence Golf and Country Club. That's another two-day tourney slated for Sept. 28-29.
The Mustangs are back locally to compete in the Donald Ross Memorial Invitational on Oct. 1 at Sara Bay Country Club.
n Lakewood Ranch head girls cross country coach Kristina Bratton assured everyone that a healthy Kristin Zarrella would be one of the top runners in the state.
The Mustangs senior made her coach look good by placing 14th in the University of Florida Dew Invitational this past week. She finished the tough 3.1-mile course in 20 minutes, 02.80 seconds. The Dew Invitational is considered one of the state's most prestigious events of the regular season.
The Mustangs got several good performances to finish in third place with 146 points. St. Thomas Aquinas (55) won the race.
Katie Wray, Ranch's latest sophomore sensation, finished 17th (20:13.81) to give the Mustangs a big boost. The other scorers were senior Natalie Novak (31st-20:43.49), junior Michelle Last (39th, 21:10.16) and junior Emily Perez (50th, 21:30.91).
Zarrella didn't score in her previous meet (Barron Collier Invitational) because she developed cramps near the end of the race.
-- Herald writers JohnLembo, Alan Dell, Jason Dill and Timothy R. Wolfrum