No awards were handed out Friday night at the Mountain Valley Conference swimming championships.
Team scores were not announced and multiple swimmers, even after winning their event, did not know if they had done enough to move on to next weekend’s Class 6A state meet. But while the district meet conditions were far from typical, the objective remained the same for Bend, Mountain View and Summit’s swim teams — get as many kids to state as possible.
“The way we make a point about all this is we qualify as many people as we can at Bend High and Central Oregon just to emphasize that we need to race against each other in order to push each other,” Bend coach Christy Perret said, referring to the five Salem-area schools, concerned about travel conditions, opting to hold their own district meet in Salem Friday. “I thought the kids all swam well and went past my expectations, particularly given the circumstances were not even close to being ideal. They stepped up and swam exactly the way I would have hoped if all the other schools had been here.”
In a typical 6A district meet, the winner of each event advances to state. But with more than half of the MVC swimming in a different pool more than 130 miles away in Salem’s Kroc Center, the only way for Bend-area swimmers to automatically qualify for state Friday night at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center was to swim under the OSAA time standard.
“That’s really disappointing. A lot of people are not happy about that but it is what it is,” Bend junior Ula McPherson said of there being no awards. “That’s been a wild ride. It was they’re (Salem teams) coming then they’re not then they’re coming then they’re not. At the end of the day, I like racing my (Central Oregon) peers, the people that I swim with every day, and it’s nice that it went by fast.”
McPherson qualified in two individual events for state, meeting the state time standard while winning the 50-yard freestyle in 23.90 and placing second in the 100 free in 52.75. Mountain View’s Emma Brady came from behind to pass McPherson in the final 25 yards to win the 100 free in 52.68. McPherson also won and qualified for state in the 200 free, finishing in 1:54.18.
“I wanted to beat Emma but as soon as I saw the time drop I was OK with it,” said McPherson, who also swam on Bend’s winning 200 free and 400 relay teams, which swam fast enough to qualify for state. “It would be nice to out-touch her but I did drop like a second and a half.”
Summit junior Ani Husaby, who dubbed the district meet “All-City Take Two” (the three Bend teams faced off in their annual Bend City Meet on Jan. 18), also swam two state-qualifying times, winning the 100 backstroke in 56.73 and the 100 butterfly in 56.47.
“We swam really fast and put up some great times,” Husaby said. “I think everyone stepped up and did their best today. It was so cool to see. We have fast kids here, It doesn’t matter who’s in our district. We’re going to show up and do our best.”
While the MVC opted to forgo prelims and go straight to all finals on Friday, Husaby was happy swimmers were still able to use their walk-out music.
Husaby will also swim in two relays at the state meet, as Summit’s 200 medley won in 1:49.90 and the 400 free placed second in 3:42.55.
Hunter Craft led Summit’s boys, winning and qualifying for state in the 100 fly.
Bend’s Lance Borgers qualified for state in the 200 free and 500 free. Gharrett Brockman, Brenden Reeves and Parker Ruggles will join Borgers at the state meet, qualifying in the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 200 free, respectively.
Three girls advanced to state in the 100 breaststroke — Summit’s Isabelle Young, and Bend’s Anna Hornbeck and Maria Wold. Teammates Wold and Holly Hermanson also qualified for state in the 200 IM. Bend girls Paige Lyons and Ryan Reid qualified in the 200 free and 100 fly, respectively.
Senior Griffin McKean led Mountain View, swimming state-qualifying times in the 100 free and breaststroke. Teammate Christopher Davami also qualified for state in the 500 free. Mountain View and Bend’s boys 200 medley relay teams advanced as well.
The full Mountain Valley Conference results from both pools are expected by Monday.
With inclement weather in the forecast, the OSAA sent an email to athletic directors across the state Wednesday, presenting four options for district swim meets: Compete as usual; hold the entire meet Friday at one location; stage the meet at multiple locations; or use entry times to determine state qualifiers. While Kris Welch, an OSAA assistant executive director, acknowledged that the first option was preferred and the only ideal selection, he said the OSAA did not want to exclude any kids from participating based on the decisions of adults.
Perret said the Salem schools were planning to come to Bend until changing their minds Friday morning.
Of the seven 6A districts, Welch said five had decided to hold their meets on one day. The Southwest Conference planned to hold its meet over two days. The Mountain Valley Conference was the only district in the state, of any classification, to hold its meet at multiple locations.
Welch, who served as an athletic director for 17 years before joining the OSAA three years ago, also added he does not remember a district holding its swim meet at multiple locations over the last 20 years.
While Salem-area basketball teams also postponed their Friday games in Bend, Mountain View traveled to West Salem. Summit athletic director Mike Carpenter also said Friday night that the Storm’s band still planned to travel to Salem Saturday for a competition.
The OSAA state swimming championships are scheduled for Feb. 15-16 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
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