Playoffs begin for spring Malibu High sports

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Logan Hotchkiss (block 5) and Alec Wilimovsky (block 6) finished first and second in the 200 freestyle.

As the spring semester winds down, Malibu High school sports teams and athletes are gunning for California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) titles in baseball, tennis, swimming and track and field.

Sophomore swimmer Logan Hotchkiss stole the headlines last Friday at the Riverside Aquatics Complex at Riverside City College, when he took home two CIF individual titles.

Hotchkiss, 16, wrote his name in the CIF swimming history books with victories in the CIF Division IV 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle individual championships. The 200 freestyle he swam in a time of 1:45.54, edging out teammate Alec Wilimovsky, who took second in 1:47.97. Hotchkiss’ time broke the previous MHS school record of 1:45.81.

“I was really happy,” Hotchkiss said in an interview after the race. “I got the school record and dropped, like, three seconds from the prelims. My parents and coaches were happy, it was exciting.” Twelve events later, Hotchkiss added the 500 freestyle to his championship belt. He swam in 4:46.45 while Wilimovsky captured third in 4:53.83.

“I feel like I can do it again next year,” Hotchkiss said. “I want to make more invitational meets with my club team (Malibu Seawolves) this summer and put a little more weight on so I can go faster.”

Wilimovsky, also a sophomore, said he had seen major improvement in his swimming from the beginning of the season.

“Having Logan in the lane next to me really helped,” Wilimovsky said. “Being able to race against him helped dropped my time. This motivates me a lot. I will have to go harder and see if I can keep up with him.”

Wilimovsky was in the pool the very next day training under the watchful eyes of Malibu coach Michael Mulligan. Hotchkiss, who trains six days a week, took a well-deserved day off.

“For a sophomore to go in there for the first time competing in CIF and winning two events at such a high level is awesome,” Mulligan said. “Logan works really hard and it was great to see someone who puts in so much time and effort reaps those rewards.

“Alec did great too. He is a team leader, an energetic young man who works so hard. He has that great competitive spirit and a lot of pride.”

The two Malibu standouts are a part of a nucleus of fantastic swimmers on campus.

“Three of our top swimmers are sophomores and our fourth-fastest guy is a junior. The next two years are going to be phenomenal,” Mulligan said. “We are going to have some fast times and hopefully break two or three more school records.”

Baseball

Having clinched its first league title since 2005 and setting a school-record for wins in the process, the Malibu baseball team now begins its journey for the ultimate prize: a CIF championship. The Sharks are seeded No. 2 in CIF Division VI and will play host to the wild card winner between Lone Pine and Bishop Union in the first round on Friday at 3:15 p.m.

Malibu finished the regular season 23-4 and 13-2 in the Frontier League. Coach Ari Jacobs has done a remarkable job transforming a program from mediocrity into success in his four years at the campus. Jacobs won seven games in his first season, eight in his second, 15 last year and 23 this season.

“The league title allows the guys to see that hard work pays off. And that’s what we are trying to do here is set a tone for the rest of their lives that hard work will get them anything in life,” Jacobs said. “This program is working really hard and they are seeing benefits of their hard work. Now it’s about winning and keeping on playing the kind of ball that will help us win a CIF championship.”

Alvaro Alvarado is one of three seniors on the squad. As captain of this year’s team, Alvarado has witnessed something special develop amongst his peers.

“We support each other. We do what we are supposed to do every day. And we have some pretty good players here,” Alvarado said. “We need to keep working hard and take care of business. It shows how hard we have worked. This is an accomplishment that we are really proud of. It feels really good.”

Tennis

The Malibu boys tennis team lost in the second round of the CIF Division III playoffs last week after succumbing to Long Beach Wilson, 11-7. The Sharks had previously defeated Paso Robles, 16-2, in a wild card match and Los Osos, 10-8, in a first-round contest.

Gabriel Rapoport continued his scorching play by winning in straight sets in all three matches: (6-1, 6-0, 6-0 vs. Paso Robles), (6-2, 6-1, 6-1 vs. Los Osos) and 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 vs. Long Beach Wilson. He will now set his sights on the CIF Individuals on May 23 at Cate High School.

Stephen Handal, No. 2 singles for MHS, won his three matches against LBW 6-4, 6-0, 6-3.

“It was a pleasant surprise that all the players on the Malibu tennis team were not only good players with growing competitive intensity, but were well-mannered, good sports, top-notch scholars and fine all-around people,” Malibu coach Todd Montgomery said. “All in all, it was an honor and a pleasure to work with the team this season. I am proud of our achievements in league play and in CIF.”

Track and Field

Sophomore runner Caroline Pietrzyk qualified for the CIF Finals in the 3200 meters last Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College by placing first among 35 competitors with a time of 11:05.98 in the Division IV prelims. Linus Gordon qualified for the CIF Div. IV Finals in boys’ high jump with a height of 6-0. Dyer Pettijohn is an alternate in the boys’ triple jump after missing qualification by a halfinch.