New coach for Miners no stranger to swimming
This might be John Sultan’s first year coaching the swim team at Nevada Union High School, but is far from the first time he has dived in as a swim coach.
Sultan has coached high school and college swimming for the past 35 years, most recently in Santa Cruz at Harbor High School, and is also an assistant coach for the NU water polo team.
The experience behind this new coach and a strong returning cast should help NU’s boys team defend its 2004 Metro Conference crown, and give the girls team a good shot at improving on their runner-up finish of last year.
Despite the loss of Mason Edwards, a section finalist in the 50-yard freestyle last year, and Francis Giuliani, a section qualifier, the Miners return three high school All-Americans.
Senior captain Ryan Stefani is a sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist. Drew Harris is an individual medley racer and junior Jon Huffman Eddy swims the 200- and 400-yard freestyle races.
Coach Sultan thinks junior Jordan Golnik, a freestyle and relay swimmer, also “should be an All-American.” Sultan also has some up-and-coming talent to help the upperclassmen out.
Freshman backstroke specialist Nicholas Ingersoll is a “terrific talent” and Sultan calls sophomore Kyle Virva “an excellent freestyler.”
This depth of talent bodes well for the Miners in their effort to repeat as conference champs.
“Our boys team should battle with Granite Bay for the Metro Conference,” Sultan said. “We have very strong depth. We could be one of the top three teams in Northern California.”
The girls team also has a chance to contend for a league crown this year, according to Sultan.
“We have four very talented girls returning. Allison Chambers, a senior, is a sprint freestyler. She was also on the snowboard team. She’s just an excellent athlete,” Sultan said. “Whitney Stephenson has a chance to win sectionals in the backstroke. Caitlin Lee and Colleen Hauser are both very good.”
NU has some young, talented girls as well. Sophomore Stephanie Larson and a trio of freshman, Shyloh Fish, Amanda Ramey and Allysa Pattee have “outstanding ability” according to Sultan and should make important contributions.
“We’ll contend for league, and probably be one of the top 10 (teams) in sectionals,” Sultan said of his girls team.
Both teams have already demonstrated their meddle in the young season. At the Fairfield Invitational on March 12, the boys team finished first and the girls fifth in a field of 24 teams.
Switching from the Sierra Foothill League to the Pioneer Valley League this year, the Bear River swim team hopes to improve on their fourth place league finish last year.
” We just didn’t have the number of swimmers last year as some of the top teams in the SFL, so we were at a big disadvantage,” said sixth year coach Taryn Loehr.
Having lost 12 girls to graduation, this year’s team is looking for strong leadership from its two upperclassmen.
“Ann (Hegglie) is our only senior, and she really anchors this team,” said Loehr. “Jessica Agnew is a real strong junior, and we need good things from her. We’ve got some good, younger swimmers too. Shannon Dayton, Adrianne Brown, Tosha Duncan and Stephanie Ursiny should all have a good year.”
The Bruin boys team has a solid nucleus of seniors to go with some up-and-coming talent.
“This is probably the best boys team we’ve had,” Loehr said. “We have six or seven seniors and some very good freshmen.”
Anchoring the boys are Lance Welch, Ryan Maxwell, and Brian Wood. Freshmen Chase Rogers and Brian Agnew will help with relays.
Perhaps most astonishing is the performance of newcomer Ron Angold, who swims 50- and 100-yard freestyle sprints.
“A year ago, he didn’t even know how to swim. Now his best time is only one second off of qualifying for sectionals,” said Loehr.
Not having been in the SFL before, Loehr said she could only speculate on what the rest of the competition would look like.
“Dixon has a large team, 80 or so swimmers, so that makes it difficult in terms of points,” Loehr said. “I think Mira Loma might be a good match for us in terms of being an equal team.”
While looking forward to having their own pool – once construction is completed – the Bruins are happy with their practice schedule change for this year, practicing at the Memorial Park pool in Grass Valley for the first time.
“Before this, we would swim at NU’s pool after they (NU) were done, so just being able to swim after school and get done at a reasonable time is a big help to us. It could really help us a lot,” Loehr said.
The changes certainly don’t seem to have hurt the Bear River program, as the Bruins are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Foothill and Center.
2005 prep swimming
Look at the Miners
Coach: Jim Sultan (1st year)
2004 record: Boys: Metro Conference champions; Girls: Metro runners-up
Key swimmers lost: Mason Edwards, Francis Giuliani
Key returnees: Drew Harris, Jon Huffman-Eddy, Ryan Stefani
Important meet: Clovis West Invitational, April 15-16
Coach Sultan says: “Our boys team should battle with Granite Bay for the Metro Conference.”
Look at the Bruins
Coach: Taryn Loehr (6th year)
2004 record: fourth in Sierra Foothill League
Key swimmers lost: Kellyn Loehr, 2004 section champion in breaststroke, and 12 senior girls
Top returnees: Ann Hegglie, Jessica Agnew, Lance Welsh
Important meet: Mira Loma (April 5 at Bear River)
Coach Loehr says: “I think we’re going to do well in this league.”
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