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Thursday, February 10, 2000

Eagles shoot for regional glory, state finals

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 10, 2000 -- This is what they've all be waiting for.

Coaches and all the swimmers from Class 4A and below schools around the state who've been butting their heads against the wall for years against bigger schools at the regional meets. But they'll finally get a chance at some titles of their own this weekend, when the first-ever Region I-4A swimming and diving finals are held today through Saturday at the Lubbock ISD swimming pool.

Diving starts at 6 p.m. tonight, while the swimming preliminaries will begin at 9 a.m. Friday and the finals at 9 a.m. Saturday. Class 5A diving, prelims and finals will be held after the sub-5A meet is completed each day.

A decade of success at the district level has translated into just one trip to state for the Pecos Eagles, going up against top Class 5A schools from El Paso, Amarillo, Midland and San Angelo every year. But this time, Pecos' boys will be favored to win the regional title, while Pecos' girls figure to battle for second in the region, behind Monahans.

Eagles' coach Terri Morse said unlike track, where the top two finishers from the four regionals advance to state, only the winner in each of the eight regionals is assured a state berth, with the other state finalists coming from at-large slots based on times.

"I think a couple of regions that are a little stronger than this, but I think there are areas where we'll pick up a few," Morse said of the at-large spots.

"They all seem to be pretty rested. Hopefully we're going to have a good one (meet), at least we're sure going to try," she said. "Everybody's been well. We haven't had anybody sick, and that's what I was afraid of."

Based on the regional seedings, most of Pecos' competition for state will come from the same swimmers they faced two weeks ago at the District 3-4A meet in Fort Stockton. "The 500 and 200 free are the close ones, basically it's among our district to see who has the better taper," Morse said, since most teams didn't rest their swimmers for district the way they have this past week prior to regionals.

Sophomore Randall Reynolds is involved in both those races. In the 500 freestyle, he tied Abilene Wylie's John Ouimette for second, and both were just .36 seconds behind winner Justin Waldrop of Andrews. Pecos' Patrick McChesney also has a shot, after finishing two seconds behind the leaders at Fort Stockton.

In the 200 Reynolds will be trying to keep his No. 1 seeding over Andrews' Michael Ashabranner and Isaac Pepper of El Paso High. Reynolds won at district by .43 seconds over Ashabranner, while Pepper won the District 1-4A with a time just .12 seconds behind Reynolds.

Morse said the 100-yard butterfly would be one of the closest races on the boys' side. Tye Edwards is seeded first there, but by just .22 second over Ouimette. Edwards has a more comfortable margin over Ashabranner in the 100-yard backstroke.

The only race where a swimmer from District 3-4A is not seeded No. 1 is the 200 individual medley. El Paso's Roberto Gandara swam a 2:15.19 time at district, just ahead of Andrews' Waldrop and Pecos' Grant Holland, who is seeded third. Holland is also seeded third and Jason Lopez second, one second behind Monahans' Chris Cain in the 100 backstroke.

Senior Kevin Bates will be favored in both his races. He had the best time by one second over Cain in the 50 free and was just under four seconds better than teammate Cortney Freeman in the 100 freestyle. The Eagles also will go into regionals seeded No. 1 in all three relays, with the closest being the 200 yard freestyle.

On the girls' side, JoAnn Wein is seeded first in both of the distance freestyles, the 200 and 500. She has a 13 second advantage over Tamara Henthorn of Pampa in the 500 and is No. 1 going in be four seconds over T.Z. Marsch of Big Spring in the 200.

After that, Sarah Flores has the next-best rankings going into the meet. She's seeded second to Big Spring's Melissa Sheedy by two seconds in the 200 medley and is No. 2 by a three second margin to Monahans' Autumn Ware in the 100 breaststroke.

The girls' 200 medley relay team will also go into the preliminaries seeded second to Monahans, while both the 200 and 400 freestyle teams are seeded third at regionals.

"I think it looks pretty good going into the meet. I hope we can swim better than what we're seeded and that way we can do better at the meet," Morse said.

The state finals will be held in Austin on Feb. 24-26. Morse said she should know by Sunday morning if Pecos gets any at-large qualifiers for the state meet.

Reds get 72 hours to set up Griffey trade

NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2000 (AP) - Ken Griffey Jr. is going to the Cincinnati Reds - if they can work out a new contract by this weekend.

Seattle and Cincinnati agreed Wednesday night to a tentative trade that would send the 10-time All-Star to his hometown Reds, a top baseball official told The Associated Press.

Cincinnati was given 72 hours to work out a contract extension with Griffey that would make the trade final.

"My understanding is there has been a window requested, and it has been granted," said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office. "The 72-hour clock is running."

Alderson would not say what players were involved in the proposed trade.

There was speculation that it might a three-way deal involving the Anaheim Angels and outfielder Jim Edmonds, but it wasn't clear if the deal presented to baseball Wednesday night included two teams or three.

"In a followup to comments Tuesday by Brian Goldberg, Griffey's agent, we have been instructed by the commissioner's office to make no comment about the Reds and their ability to speak with Griffey his agent," Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said.

Under baseball's rules, teams must first agree on the players involved in a trade, then ask the commissioner's office for the 72-hour window. During that time, the acquiring team can attempt to work out a new contract or an extension with the player.

Goldberg earlier this week that his client would take less-than-market value to play for Cincinnati, where he grew up. Griffey, who is eligible for free agency after the season, rejected a $148 million, eight-year extension offered by the Mariners last year.

Seattle and Griffey wanted the matter resolved by the start of spring training.

Griffey, 30, had 398 career home runs in 11 seasons, along with a .299 average and 1,152 RBIs. Hank Aaron, baseball's career home-run leader with 755, thinks Griffey has the best chance to top his record.

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