Sunset's girls, Jesuit's boys keep Metro League in control
GRESHAM - In one of the closest finishes in the state's history of swimming, Sunset rallied in the final event and won the Class 6A girls title by slightly less than four seconds at Mt. Hood Community College Saturday.
The Apollos won the final event, the 400-meter freestyle relay, by 3.38 seconds to beat Jesuit 203-199 in the overall standings. With Jesuit out of entries and not in the final, Sunset needed to win the event to overtake the Crusaders, and did when freshman Tia Lindsey hit the wall, finishing in 3 minutes, 36.50 seconds to score 32 points. Lakeridge finished second in 3:40.38.
Jesuit, which featured three seniors on its final relay squad, won the 400-freestyle relay on the boys side and easily outscored Sunset, 246-113, to win the state title for the third consecutive year, a string that followed four-straight titles by Sunset.
A team from the Metro League has won the girls title for 13 consecutive years.
Individually, Centennial senior Jamie Stone won the 50 and 100 freestyle finals for the fourth consecutive year, making her one of the state's top individual at a historic level.
In other finals, Bend won the Class 5A girls title for the second time in three years, while Hillsboro won on the boys side.
At Class 4A, Sweet Home won both the boys and girls championships, defending its girls title from a year ago and winning a boys title for the first time since 2010.
March 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
After missing out on a state title in fall for the first time in 20 years, Jesuit High rallied with titles in boys basketball and girls swimming this winter in OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires championship finals.
The basketball team went so far as to become the first team to score a four-peat at any level, beating upstart Lake Oswego in the Class 6A final at the Rose Garden.
In other highlights, South Medford, which had never played past the quarterfinals, won the 6A girls basketball title with an unbeaten season.
And, Dayton, a runner-up the past two years in 3A boys basketball, with several key players having lost the 3A football title on the final play, won the state title, beating Horizon Christian - its nemesis the past two years - in the final.
The winter included the stall-ball tactic used by Willamette in the 5A girls hoop final that got some afficianados calling for a shot clock.
Summit won both boys and girls team swim titles - the second sport the school has won both boys and girls team titles to go along with cross country in fall.
Here is a list of the winter sports champions:
6A: Jesuit 52, Lake Oswego 42
5A: Corvallis 63, Milwaukie 51
4A: Central 49, Phoenix 47
3A: Dayton 58, Horizon Christian (Tualatin) 35
2A: East Linn Christian 36, Western Mennonite 32
1A: Horizon Christian (Hood River) 58, McKenzie 46
Sunset, Jesuit repeat, but four other titles go to new teams
Feeb. 18, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The expected challenges both Sunset and Jesuit were ready to face didn't materialize and they each defended their state swim titles on a day of fresh faces at Mt. Hood Community College.
Sunset repeated as boys champion at Class 6A, while Jesuit won its fourth-straight girls title.
Summit won both boys and girls titles at Class 5A, while the Cottage Grove boys and Henley girls won at Class 4A.
For the girls teams at both Summit and Henley, the title was their first after numerous second-place finishes. Summit finished second twice the past five seasons, while Henley finished second four of the past five years.
Among the day's biggest winners were Lake Oswego sophomore Sarah Kaunitz and Sunset junior Cameron Stitt, who both won two events at the Class 6A meet. Kaunitz won the 100 breaststroke, the 200 individual medley and swam legs on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, while Stitt won the 200 freestyle, the 500 freestyle and swam the anchor leg of the winning 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
Stitt missed establishing a all-time meet record in the 500 freestyle by .51 seconds. The 500 freestyle record is the oldest on the OSAA record books, set by Alex Stiles of Lincoln in 1984.
Among the other meet highlights, Cascade Christian sophomore Beanna Sapienza narrowly missed setting a meet record in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 54.63 seconds, just .11 off the record set by Roeburg's Kaylin Bing in 2008.
Cascade Christian senior Aaron Ghiglieri won the 100 butterfly in 49.52, less than a second off the all-time mark of 48.72 set by Aloha's Neil O'Halloran just last year.
Last year, the Sunset boys swim team entered the Class 6A state championships as a slight underdog to win the team race. But they did, finishing ahead of defending champion Grant, 46 years after the school’s first title.
This year, Sunset is a clear favorite to win.
The Apollos are coming off a dominant performance in the Metro League district meet and will carry that momentum into the state meet that begins Friday at Mt. Hood Community College.
Cameron Stitt, last year’s star for Sunset, will be looked upon to help carry the Apollos again.
Stitt broke a district meet record in the 500 yard freestyle and also earned All-American consideration with his win in the 200 freestyle. He posted the top qualifying times in both events for the state meet.
“Everyone’s doing really well so it’s looking good,” Stitt said after Saturday’s district finals. “If we do well we definitely have a good chance of winning it.”
Teammate Cole Hurwitz also had a stellar district meet, breaking a district record in the 100 breaststroke and placing first in the 200 individual medley.
Hurwitz edged his brother Jordan and teammate Kasey Kwong in the breaststroke, one of the team’s most competitive events in practices. “We have a lot of great breaststrokers,” he said, “so it’s always kind of a dog fight to see who gets first.
“Getting a lot of people back into state – like 1, 2 or 1, 2, 3 – in a lot of events shows we are going to have a lot of depth.”
Although the district meet proved successful for the Apollos, that doesn’t mean guaranteed success in the state event.
“We have to be smart,” said Jonathon Zoucha, a member of two of the winning relays. “Cooling down and making sure you swim fast in the prelims to make sure you make it to the finals.”
Zoucha also qualified with the third fastest time in 6A in the 500 freestyle.
Sunset was able to qualify into three relays for the state meet and coach Adam Farber pointed to that as a major key for their chance at a repeat.
“Last year we had two so that should be a big help,” Farber said.
Sunset qualified second, behind Tualatin, in the 200 medley relay and second in the 400 freestyle behind McMinnville.
After his team’s domination in the district meet, a meet they didn’t win last year entering the state finals, Farber said his team’s confidence is ready to power it to a repeat.
“We have some guys that are real strong and are going to sit at the top in anything they do,” he said. “We’re looking to do well.”
SUNSET CLAIMS METRO LEAGUE TITLE
The Sunset boys and Jesuit girls swam away with 2012 Metro 6A-1 district swimming titles on Saturday afternoon.
Sunset, the defending boys state champs, earned 435 points, nearly 100 points ahead of second place Jesuit.
Cameron Stitt and Cole Hurwitz came up big for the Apollos as each earned two individual victories and two relay victories.
Stitt took a first in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle and earned All-American consideration for both. Stitt broke the meet record in the 500 freestyle with a time, 4:32.39, more than two second faster than the previous record.
Hurwitz also broke a meet record with his first place finish in the 100 yard breaststroke. Hurwitz also took first in the 200 individual medley. Stitt and Hurwitz were both members of the 400 free and 200 medley teams that took first place finishes for Sunset.
“I felt pretty good,” Stitt said of his meet record, “but I think when state comes I'll be able to drop even more time.”
The state meet record in the 500 freestyle, set by Alex Stiles of Lincoln at 4:27.33, is the oldest one left for boys or girls having survived since 1984.
Hurwitz's response to the record was nearly the same as Stitt's. “It feels pretty good,” he said. “I was close last year so it was good to finally get it.”
Jonathan Zoucha and Jordan Hurwitz were the other two members in the winning relays for Sunset. Zoucha also earned a victory in the 100 yard free.
Max Yakubovich of Southridge swam to victories in the 100 yard backstroke and 100 yard butterfly.
Jesuit's Blaise Wittenauer-Lee was the big performer on the girls side as she helped lead the Crusaders, the defending state champions, to the team victory. Wittenauer-Lee picked up individual wins in the 500 yard freestyle and 200 IM. She was also a member of the 400 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay teams that picked up first place finishes.
Sunset's Lotta Novotny earned wins in the 200 and 100 freestyle.
“Excitement. It was a lot of fun to watch,” Sunset coach Adam Farber said after the meet was complete. “It was nice to see us step up and get this meet.”
Grant's performance two years ago sparks its title hopes
Feb. 14, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Heading into the state swim championships, the Grant High team has a good idea of where it’ll wind up on Saturday: somewhere in the top four where it’ll take home a trophy.
Earning a trophy would be three years in a row for the Generals.
But, Grant has been in this situation before, and stunned the state and themselves by winning the Class 6A meet in 2010 with just five swimmers. Last year, the team finished second.
If fate were to suddenly step in Saturday and hit the heavily favored Sunset Apollos, Grant might just be the team to take advantage like it did two years ago and pull off another stunning victory.
“Sunset would have to be considered the favorite, but as we’ve seen from two years ago, anything can happen,” says Will Tyrrell, one of Grant’s three seniors. “This is definitely a sport where anything can happen. People have good days, bad days and people get disqualified. “Relays get disqualified. That’s a big thing for scoring.”
Sunset enters the meet as the defending champion and favorite having qualified three relay teams to go with two-event favorite Cameron Stitt. Stitt, a junior, narrowly missed the All-American qualifying time in the 500 freestyle at the Metro League district meet Saturday. Teammate Cole Hurwitz, another junior, is an event favorite as well.
Tyrrell and fellow seniors Henry Fellows and Kevin Wallin are key members of the Grant squad that finished second last year to Sunset. Fellows excels in the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
Tyrrell excels in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and Wallin qualified in the 100 breaststroke.
The trio of seniors were members of the 200 medley relay team that set the Class 6A meet record last year, which remains a sign the Generals have big meet potential.
They’re definitely going to need that this weekend to beat the Apollos, who have more individual qualifiers and qualified three relay teams. Grant would be a surprise winner Saturday, but that’s how the title happened in 2010. Meet favorite Roseburg lost its 200 medley relay team to disqualification in the opening event of the finals and the potential 32 points that go to the winner. Grant won the event and finished four points ahead of Newberg in the final standings.
“After prelims, we looked at the results and thought maybe we’d be top 3,” Tyrrell said. “Then halfway through the finals we looked and were in first place. That’s when we thought, hey we could win this.”
Roseburg finished fifth with 85 points. If the Indians had finished fourth in the relay, they would have won.
“All of the pieces fell into place,” Fellows said. “Before the final race, 400 free relay, (coach Laura Tyrrell) told us if we finished fourth, we’d win state.”
Grant finished fourth, with Fellows rallying from fifth on the final leg.
Tyrrell, Fellows and Wallin have been teammates through high school, although Wallin missed the 2010 meet due to injury. He suffers from tendinitis in his shoulders and has daily treatment. But, he’s qualified in the breaststroke.
For the Generals to win, the entire team will need to swim at personal best levels, especially in events that include Sunset swimmers.
“We all want to win our events, but the challenge is finishing second and third,” Fellows says, “that’s where the key points come from.”
And, of course, something unforeseen would need to happen to Sunset’s line-up.
“Sunset is going to have to swim well,” Fellows says. “We’re going to be right there. “If anything happens to them, we’ll be ready to squeak in.”