‘Runners fall short to Washington State

Steven Barker 

Opinion Editor

Despite strong performances by freshman Michaela Paige and sophomore Delise Batiza, the women’s swim team lost in their final home competition to the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 9. CSUB honored the swim team’s six seniors prior to the opening race.

While losing the 200 Yard Medley Relay to begin the meet, the ‘Runners were competitive throughout most of the day. Paige dominated both the 200 and 500 Yard Freestyle races, posting times of 1:52.79 and 5:09.47 respectively for her 12th and 13th wins of the season.

Batiza stole first place in a thrilling 1000 Yard Freestyle that invigorated both the ‘Runners and the large crowd in attendance. Sophomore Lauren Kaufman took first in the 50 Yard Freestyle and second in the 100 Yard Freestyle. Junior Jeanette Dove anchored the ‘Runners’ backstroke unit, placing second in the 100 Yard Backstroke and third in the 200 Yard Backstroke.

“Delize Batiza, Michaela Paige and Lauren Kaufman: these three ladies know how to race, they want to win and they race hard,” said Director of Swimming Chris Hansen. “Good meet by Jeanette Dove today too; she really went after everything.”

Nevertheless, the ‘Runners could not clinch a victory. The strong individual performances by the CSUB swimmers were overshadowed by a WSU team that dominated many of the races.

“To be honest with you, to be close to a Pac-12 school with this women’s team is pretty shocking after just one year,” said Hansen. “I’m not happy about it – I want to beat them, but I can’t be upset with their performance today.”

With the 172-116 loss on Saturday, the ‘Runners finished with a 7-7 regular season record this year, an accomplishment Hansen beamed about. “That’s more wins than the last five years combined, which is a feat,” said Hansen. “It’s weird for me. If you’ve seen this women’s team in the past – just to say we won seven meets is shocking to me,” Hansen added.

“I don’t know if many people thought we’d be able to turn the women’s team around so quickly,” said Hansen. “I can’t be prouder than I am of this team; we’re going to have some fun next year.”

For the six seniors honored prior to the meet’s commencement – Lily Donohue, Jodi Hanson, Kristen Koehler, Jordan Reed, Kori Thomas and Louise Westergren respectively – their careers ended on a bittersweet note. Although the seniors all raced valiantly, only Reed and Hanson secured top finishes in their events. Reed swept both the one and three meter diving events, giving her nine wins on the season, while Hanson took third in the 100 Yard Breaststroke and contributed to a second place finish in the 200 Yard Medley Relay.

With the conclusion of the regular season, the ‘Runners can begin preparing for the Western Athletic Conference’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Hosted in San Antonio, Texas, CSUB will compete on Feb. 27 and 28, hoping to secure a conference championship.