Mar 07, 2017
DVC SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS
The Vikings have strong men's and women's teams again, with the women figuring to at least crack the top five in the CCCAA State Championships and the men projected to finish in the top eight.
The women are paced by Alhambra High graduate Jamie Wanket, a sprinter; Madeline Jochner (Northgate), an individual medley standout; and Bridget Struck (Northgate), a butterfly and backstroke standout. The men’s team will feature sprinter Logan Killion (Douglas High) and sprinter Jeremy Peris.
“On the men’s side, we have a couple of holes,” coach Rick Millington said recently. “We’re short a couple of backstrokers, a couple of sprinters.”
Last season, the DVC’s men, led by state 100 and 200 backstroke champion Brandon James, finished No. 6 in the state with 280 points. The Vikings men took first in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay and earned the bronze in the 400 free relay.
DVC has a young men’s team with just two returners from last year’s successful squad.
Thus, the door has swung open for emerging sophomore Daiche Ozawa, of Tokyo, Japan. He has risen from No. 7 last season to No. 1 this season.
“Big improvement,” DVC coach Jackie Ponciano-Babb said of Ozawa, “He’s the one that actually improved the most between the two returners, and so it was easy to put him at No. 1, but he’s not a Garrett (Goldman), who was last year’s No. 1.”
Ozawa says he came to the United States to study aviation and also had a dream to play college tennis, so DVC has been a great fit.
He said he’s adapting to the challenge of being in the No. 1 spot.
“I feel a lot of pressure right now, a lot of responsibility. I need to get used to it,” he said recently, adding that his goal is to advance to the state tournament in Ojai.
In 2016, Goldman and Mariano Salvador, who are redshirting this season, led DVC to a No. 2 finish in the Big 8 Conference. The Vikings beat Fresno City 5-2 in the first round of the CCCAA North Regional playoffs before falling No. 2 seed Foothill 5-1.
-- Matt Schwab