The bulkhead at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center rocked as Bend High swimmers jumped up and down while bellowing the school fight song. It was the final, and apropos, soundtrack of the final day of the Intermountain Conference championships Saturday.
Over the past four years, the Lava Bears have claimed either the girls or boys district championship. But the two teams never shared the same spotlight — until Saturday.
With Kurt Felder winning the boys 200-yard individual medley and the 100 butterfly, and Emily Brockman placing first in the IM and the 100 breaststroke, the Bend boys and girls both finished atop the five-team IMC standings to sweep the team titles.
“It feels great to be champions,” said Bend coach Tamas Bessenyei. “We’ve got such a good group of kids who are really passionate about swimming. Every time we have a team meeting or a team gathering, they all talk about the importance of teamwork and stepping up to the blocks and doing it for their team. … It always starts with everybody buying into the program, and it looks like we have a good chemistry where everyone believes in each other.”
Alexander Moore won the 100 backstroke, a mere .45 seconds ahead of teammate Gharret Brockman, and tied for second place in the 200 freestyle for the Bend boys, whose 527.5 points comfortably bested the 332.5 points of runner-up and defending district champion Summit. Mountain View was third with 315 points, followed by Redmond with 227 and Ridgeview with 194. The Lava Bears’ Lance Borgers was runner-up in the 500 free and fourth in the butterfly, and Blaine Pappa took second in the breaststroke and sixth in the fly.
Winners in each individual and relay race automatically qualify for next week’s Class 5A state meet at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. The remaining open lanes will be filled by the next-fastest times from each of the five districts throughout the state.
For Summit, Logan Todd tied for second in the 200 freestyle and was runner-up in the 50 free. The Storm’s Hunter Craft took second in the butterfly and fourth in the backstroke, while Zachary Bailey placed third in both the IM and the fly.
“Everybody came and gave it their all,” said Summit coach Sierra Lewis. “I think we’ll have some swimmers at state that we weren’t expecting. I think next weekend will be fun. It’s a young team this year, so gaining experience is good.”
Griffin McKean won both the 200 free and the breaststroke for Mountain View, while Christopher Davami took the 500 free and was second in the IM. Redmond’s Alex Smith was second in the 100 freestyle and fifth in the breaststroke, and the Panthers’ Augie Tobish was third in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 back.
Ridgeview’s Ben Hucke displayed a resurgence at districts. A year after placing sixth at this meet in the 50 free, the Ravens senior claimed the title. And after missing the cut for the state final in the 100 freestyle, Hucke heads into state as an IMC champion in the event.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Hucke, whose teammate Daniel Maggiora was third in the back and fifth in the fly. “I’ve put so much effort into all of this, and what I was wanting so bad was to be where I’m at right now. To see that I’m actually here, I can’t explain it. It’s a great feeling.”
For the girls, defending 5A state champion Bend was paced by standout Brockman, whose victories included leading a 1-2-3 Lava Bears finish in the 200 IM. Sophomore Maria Wold, who was also fourth in the backstroke, took second in the IM, while fellow sophomore Holly Hermanson was runner-up in the backstroke and third in the IM.
“We have a lot of underclassmen on our team, but they’ve really been swimming well and working hard,” said Brockman, a senior. “It’s really great to see. We did lose some people (from) last year’s state team, but I think this district meet kind of just assures that those underclassmen are really doing a great job and combating what we lost last year.”
Bend totaled 578 points to win the title, and Summit was second with 478 points. Mountain View took third with 325 points, followed by Redmond with 177 and Ridgeview with 89.
Also for the Lava Bears, Ula McPherson won the 50 freestyle in a district-record time of 24.57 seconds and was second in the fly. Bend’s Sarah Shaffer, who also placed third in the 200 freestyle, was first in the 500, edging the Bears’ Paige Lyons by .22 seconds.
Summit, which has won four state titles since 2012, recorded only two individual wins at the IMC meet, both by Ani Husaby. The sophomore was first in both the butterfly and the backstroke.
“Districts is just the most amazing meet you could go to,” Husaby said. “The cheering gets so loud, you can hear it underwater, and that doesn’t happen at any other meet. It’s just that extra adrenaline to get you going.”
Madeline Coleman took second in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 free for the Storm, Isabelle Young was third in the breaststroke and fourth in the butterfly, and Lily Chrisman placed third and fifth in the 500- and 200-yard freestyles, respectively.
Mountain View’s Emma Brady edged the Lava Bears’ Hailey Hyde by .21 seconds to claim the 200 free, and Brady was also first in the 100 freestyle. Redmond’s Loryn Trail was third in the backstroke and fourth in the 50 free.
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com