AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 Valencia started to see momentum swing in its favor when it defeated defending league champion Saugus by 60 points last season, its first victory over the Centurions. It wasn’t enough to vault past Hart, which prevailed 91-79 in one of the most exciting dual meets of the season. “Last year, as hard as we tried, it just wasn’t enough,” said Perdisatt, whose team suffered a 499-448 setback to the Indians at the league finals. “But that’s OK, because they left everything on the table. “This year, the girls are focused, and their rhythm so far has been great. I’m never going to underestimate any of the teams in this league, especially Hart. But I’m excited because I know have a great shot (at winning league).” With talented returning swimmers Katie Boring, Tracy Harada, Jasmine Henderson, Stephanie Henderson, Michelle Kroll and Megan Spoon, Valencia is expected to have a strong presence in the relays. The addition of freshmen Megan Machinyan and Kaitlyn Salovich, and the arrival of junior transfer Kasey Hartsock, gives the Vikings plenty of depth in the sprint freestyle and butterfly, events Hart dominated last season. “On paper, I would say we’re the underdogs, but that’s good for my girls,” said Hart coach Gina McCarthy, whose team rebounded from its second-place finish in 2004 to complete an undefeated regular season last year. “I think you’re seeing the division (of talent) all the way across (the Santa Clarita Valley) now, and it didn’t use to be that way in the past.” Hart and Saugus highs have accounted for every girls’ swimming title – regular season and championship meet – in Foothill League history. Valencia is ready to join that elite company. After defeating the Indians in the Santa Clarita Relays and losing by narrow margins in their regular-season dual meet and league finals last season, the Vikings believe they have the right combination of front-line swimmers and depth to knock off 24-time league champion Hart. “What I’ve seen is a paradigm shift, where all the teams are afraid of us now,” said Valencia coach Kathleen Perdisatt, a Hart graduate. “We know the rest of the teams are concerned, and we’re eating it up. We’re loving every minute of it.” Although Hart graduated Hayley Calams and Nicole Nakamaru, the Indians return a young, talented group featuring Katie Castellano, Rachael Krager, Molly Rogers, Katie Oakey, Kate Pellymounter, Samantha Tamashiro and Victoria Tenney. Freshman Jordan Danny – considered one of the favorites to win the league title in the 100-yard breaststroke – is an important addition for the Indians, who won’t have to wait long to find out how they measure up against Valencia. The teams meet in the league opener Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. With four-year Saugus standout Lizette Patterson – the league’s top female swimmer last year – now at San Diego State, Canyon senior Roxy Camuso is the league’s best hope at the Southern Section Div. I finals and the inaugural Masters Meet. Camuso was undefeated in 24 races last season prior to the Div. I prelims, with victories in the 50 and 100 freestyles at the league championships. Canyon, which also relies on Chelsea Griffiths, Jessi Locke, Milena Lopez and Marissa Rodgers, possesses the relay strength to finish in the top half of league. Although Patterson is gone, Saugus returns Div. I qualifiers Melissa Bowers, Chelsea Schmidt and Melanie Yamabe, who also is a champion gymnast. Amber Alvarado adds depth in the distance events for the Centurions, who finished third at the league finals last season. Golden Valley and West Ranch are another year away from joining the rest of the Santa Clarita Valley teams in the varsity league, following Burbank and Burroughs of Burbank’s move to the Pacific League. Golden Valley returns Div. IV qualifiers Amanda Bernal, Aisling Hardash, Sydney Kincanon, Lexy Munoz and Lauren Turich. Erik Boal, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!