NORTH BEND — North Bend swim team swept the district titles on Saturday during an afternoon filled with thrilling finishes in a number of events.
North Bend’s girls scored more points than the next two teams (Marshfield and St. Mary’s) combined while winning nine of the 11 events. The boys weren’t quite as dominant, but won by more than 100 points over runner-up Marshfield.
Along the way, both Bay Area schools had enough swimmers post strong times that they will have relatively large contingents at the state meet, which starts Friday at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
North Bend’s girls set the tone for the day by winning the meet-opening 200-yard medley relay by a whopping 17 seconds, but the most entertaining races of the day were a series of thrilling finishes.
The first came in the second girls final, the 200 freestyle, where Marshfield star Anna Hutchins held off hard-charging Bella Jones of North Bend, 1:57.57 to 1:57.92.
“It was so amazing just to race against Anna,” Jones said, describing the Marshfield junior as “my sister.”
“I couldn’t ask for better competition.”
Hutchins had grabbed the lead early in the race, and said her legs cramped up.
“That’s where Bella caught me,” she said. “It hurt so bad. I barely out-touched her.”
But, like Jones, she said the race was great.
“I’m so proud of Bella,” Hutchins said. “I wanted to see what she could do.”
The two likely will see each other in the final at state, while each also competes in a second individual event — Hutchins won the 500 freestyle Saturday and Jones took the 100 freestyle.
The next two tight finishes for the girls featured North Bend teammates.
Makayla Proett edged Natalie Cheal in the 200 individual medley, with Proett finishing in 2:19.18 and Cheal in 2:19.40. Then Vianka Hoyer, the most-decorated of the Bulldogs with five individual state titles to her credit, edged Sarah Kuykendall in the 50 freestyle, with Hoyer touching in 25.01 and Kuykendall in 25.25. Maryn Ringger of St. Mary’s was just behind in 25.68.
The tight finishes weren’t limited to the girls.
In the 200 freestyle for the boys, Marshfield’s Connor Fromm edged North Bend’s Kenneth Shepherd by just three hundredths of a second, 1:50.09 to 1:50.12 as both had big personal bests.
Fromm said the two have raced each other for years in club swimming, which made it even more fun.
“I went out so hard,” Fromm said. “I thought he was gaining on me. I gave it every inch I had.”
Later, Fromm had another personal best winning the butterfly in 56.56, pulling away late to beat North Bend’s Tucker Hood (57.45) and Alec Shepherd of Phoenix (57.68).
“That was awesome,” Fromm said. “I had no idea I was going to do that.”
A little later, he anchored Marshfield to a thrilling win in the 200 freestyle relay — Fromm, AJ Kliewer, Brian Place and Frankie Figueroa finished in 1:35.59, while North Bend’s squad touched in 1:35.65.
The final individual race brought another great finish, when North Bend’s Zachary Holt won the breaststroke in 1:03.30, just ahead of Jasper Zhu of St. Mary’s (1:03.42) and North Bend’s Craig Hoefs (1:03.72).
The other events — both individual and relay — weren’t terribly close.
North Bend’s quartet of Logan Lampe, Craig Hoefs, Ryan Trichler and Divenson Willis won boys the medley relay by nearly 10 seconds with its time of 1:44.87. In the final event, Trichler, Willis, Shepherd and Andrew Hobson won the 400 freestyle relay by nearly two seconds over the Pirates, finishing in 3:27.77.
Trichler then broke 2 minutes for the first time in the individual medley, with a mark of 1:59.92 that would have been even better if it had been a tiny bit faster and broken the school record, which he hopes to do in Gresham.
Trichler also dominated the 500 freestyle in 4:57.16, though teammate Tucker Hood had a big personal best to finish second in 5:13.50.
North Bend’s Logan Lampe won the backstroke in 59.22. Henley’s TJ Morgan, the only swimmer from outside the Bay Area with a win Saturday, took the 50 freestyle (22.04) and 100 freestyle (49.72) by comfortable margins.
Aside from the two wins by Hutchins, North Bend swept the girls races.
Hoyer cruised to a win in the butterfly, finishing in 58.48 as she prepared to try for her fourth straight state title in the event next weekend.
And she teamed with Jones, Sarah Kuykendall and Sierra Trichler to win the medley relay and Kuykendall, Jones and Cheal for victory in the 200 freestyle relay.
Trichler won the breaststroke with a season-best time of 1:12.37 that left her beaming after the race, but she said she was equally excited for Makenna Roberts, who had a big personal best to finish second in 1:14.51.
“She did amazing,” Trichler said.
And Trichler, Cheal, Proett and Apryl Paquette teamed to win the 400 freestyle relay.
Personal and season bests could be found all over the pool.
“Everybody is doing great,” Trichler said. “It’s been a great meet.”
North Bend’s top swimmers expect even more at state, when they are fully tapered and shaved or wearing racing suits.
“I’m super excited,” Trichler said.
North Bend girls who earned at-large berths to the state meet by being among the eight fastest non-champions from the four district meets around the state Saturday include Jones, Trichler and Paquette in the 200 freestyle, Cheal in the individual medley; Kuykendall in the 50 freestyle; Cheal in the butterfly; Paquette and Roberts in the 500 freestyle; Proett in the backstroke; and Roberts in the breaststroke.
The North Bend boys who qualified were Shepherd and Craig Hoefs in the 200 freestyle; Zachary Holt in the individual medley; Willis in the 50 freestyle; Hood, Hobson and Yost in the butterfly; Shepherd and Willis in the 100 freestyle; Andy Ku in the backstroke; and Hoefs in the breaststroke. The boys 200 freestyle relay of Yost, Hobson, Hoefs and Shepherd also advanced.
Marshfield’s at-large qualifiers included Zaraya Estrada in the girls individual medley and backstroke, Bree Billeter in the butterfly, Kliewer in the boys individual medley and breaststroke, Figueroa in the 100 freestyle and Zach Randle in the 500 freestyle. Marshfield’s girls also advanced both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays to state with the group of Hutchins, Estrada, Billeter and Kady Cooley while the boys advanced in the 400 freestyle relay with the same quartet that won the shorter freestyle event.
The Class 4A-3A-2A-1A schools have the middle session at the state meet on Friday and Saturday. Their preliminaries start at 1:45 p.m. Friday and the finals begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.