REDMOND — In its 11th year, the Jay Rowan Invitational once again filled the pool at Cascade Swim Center on Saturday with dozens of the area’s top high school swimmers — and filled the bleacher seats with their boosters.
“It’s great swimming in front of (family),” Ridgeview senior Rachel Haney said. “You have this whole support system behind you. Even when you’re nervous for a race you have people behind you telling you that you’re going to do awesome.”
In what Ridgeview head coach Jeff Vallie described as a “grudge match,” Haney won the 200-meter individual medley, in the process defeating the reigning Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state champion in the event, Sophie Gemelas of Madras.
“The girl that she beat actually beat her last year in the state championship meet,” Vallie said. “Sophie got first and she got second. It set the tone for February at state.”
Haney led for Saturday’s entire race, but Gemelas caught up in the last leg, the freestyle. Haney touched the wall a mere .05 seconds ahead of the Madras junior.
“I know that it’s not going to be the same at state, because this is earlier in the season,” Haney said. “It still felt good to race her. But I know I can expect a lot more at state. I came to the meet this morning and I was in the zone.”
Haney added a 100 backstroke victory to her 200 IM win, leading the Ravens to 162 points and fourth place as a team. Haley Houghton took the 100 butterfly for Ridgeview and finished runner-up in the 400 freestyle.
Henley of Klamath Falls topped the nine-team girls standings with 270 points, followed by second-place Mountain View (234 points) and third-place Summit (231).
A significant number of swimmers from Mountain View and Summit high schools were competing in a club meet in Washington on Saturday, but both schools nevertheless managed multiple top-six finishes.
Among them was the Cougars’ Elizabeth Cobb, who took second in the 100 backstroke. Justine Hanway placed third in the 200 freestyle for Mountain View, and Phoebe Weedman added third- and fourth-place showings in the 100 breaststroke and 200 free, respectively.
Summit’s Kaylin Ivy was second in the 100 butterfly, and the senior also teamed up with Erin Tyler, Jennifer Lyon and Abby Sorlie to help Summit take second in the 400 free relay and third in the 200 medley relay.
Sisters, which was fifth as a team with 161 points, was led by Mary Stewart’s victory in the 50 free, an event in which teammate Emily Christen took second. Christen was also runner-up in the 100 freestyle, and Stewart took third in the 200 IM. The two Outlaws joined Brooke Knirk and Madelyn Zadow to propel Sisters to a win in the 200 free relay.
Along with her second-place showing in the 200 IM, Gemelas won the 400 freestyle to pace Madras, which was sixth as a team. Aurora Gerhardt chipped in with a runner-up finish in the 200 free. Redmond, seventh overall, was led by Elizabeth Moss, who took fourth in the 100 backstroke.
For the boys, Madras cruised to the team win with 320 points. The White Buffaloes, Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state champions last season, defeated second-place Summit by 88 points in the nine-team field.
Madras, which swept all three relays, was led by Ian Goodwin’s victories in the 400 freestyle — which he won by nearly a minute and a half — and the 100 breaststroke. Brady Tucker claimed the 200 IM and took second in the 100 free, and Bryce Williams placed first in the 50 free and second in the 100 back.
Brodie Mead paced the Storm with a runner-up showing in the 400 free, followed by Matt Barry’s third-place finish in the same event. Summit’s Adrien Calmels took third in the 100 free.
Joseph Murphy won both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke to guide Mountain View to third place as a team. Jonathan Davami was second in both the 200 IM and the 100 fly, and Nathan Cox finished second in the 200 free.
“We have a smaller group of kids today,” said Cougars coach Kory Bright. “But we’ve had a couple of top-six finishes. Jon Davami did really well in the 200 IM. The girls who swam the 200 free relay were in the top six, and then (twin sisters) Chelsea and Cassidy Evans did really well in the 200 IM (sixth and eighth, respectively) as freshmen.”
Sisters got third-place efforts from Trevor Barry (50 freestyle), Ian Baldessari (200 free) and Brennan Miller (100 backstroke) en route to fifth place in the boys team standings. Owen Hucke took the 200 freestyle as well as the 100 free for Ridgeview, which was sixth, and Brett Kelly finished second in the 100 breaststroke. Redmond High was eighth in the final team standings, led by Alec Carter’s 11th-place finish in the 50 free.
The Jay Rowan Invitational is dedicated to former Redmond High School swimming standout Jay Rowan, who drowned in the Deschutes River in August 2003. The meet was started in Rowan’s memory the following year.
“I was one of the lucky people who got to swim with him when he was in high school,” Redmond coach Denise DeLeone said. “So this meet is in honor of him and all that he has done. It’s something nice for us to be able to dedicate to someone who was so awesome.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0375, email@example.com.