Dragon alums can still take pride in swim, track records
While covering Sonoma Valley High School’s swimming, and track and field, teams at the recent Sonoma County League and North Coast Section championships, I was reading through the event programs at the meets and I couldn’t help but notice the names of now-SVHS alumni, but at their time, record-setters in both sports.
What was especially rewarding for me was that I had the opportunity – well it was my job – to be an eyewitness to the five SCL and Redwood Empire swim records, and one NCS Meet of Champions track mark, that were set in the mid-to-late-1990s and early-2000s and I still remember those memorable accomplishments.
First, I was watching the 2011 Dragons competing in SCL championships at the Santa Rosa Swim Center at the Ridgway Pool and saw in the program that former Sonoma boys’ and girls’ relay teams still held league or Empire, or both, records.
The oldest marks were established by the Dragon boys in 1995, when the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bryan Kreuzberger, Clint Turney, Jeff Smith and Brenton Sanders, and the 400 free relay team of Sanders, Smith, Kreuzberger and David Lawrence, set Redwood Empire-best times of 1 minute, 27.71 seconds and 3:12.56, respectively.
In 1996, the Sonoma girls’ 200 medley relay team of Christine Gonzales, Erin Stenvers, Adriana Westerbeke and Katrina Behrend set the SCL record for the event in 1:56.19.
Then, in 1998, the Lady Dragons’ 200 free relay team of Behrend, Westerbeke, Valerie Haugen and Hannah Ryan – a recent head coach of the Sonoma swim squads – set the SCL mark in 1:41.89 and lowered the time to 1:39.77 in establishing the Redwood Empire record.
The same four Sonoma girl swimmers also registered the SCL 400 free relay record in 3:43.72.
As for the highly competitive sport of track and field, there are numerous Sonoma athletes who own SCL, Redwood Empire and NCS regional records, but there’s only one former Dragon who still holds the NCS Meet of Champions record, along with the league, Empire and NCS regional records and a national top-10 ranking.
In 2005, Sonoma girls’ high-jumping star Mindi Wiley eclipsed 5 feet, 11 inches in etching the record in the prestigious MOC’s book.
While there are plenty of other record-holding Sonoma alumni, these accomplishments at the swim and track and field’s high-level stages were and are shining achievements that continue to hold their luster.