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Crusaders fly high at district for a fifth straight time

Jesuit's four-time state champs win again at the Metro meet


by: MILES VANCE - DOUBLE WINNER - Jesuit senior Blaise Wittenauer-Lee rolls through the backstroke leg of the 200-yard individual medley on Saturday. Wittenauer-Lee won both the 200 IM and the 500 free at district.

BEAVERTON — Not yet.

Not yet and not easily.

The Jesuit girls swim team, the four-time reigning Class 6A state champions, aren’t going to let go of any of their titles easily in 2013.

The Crusaders won their fifth consecutive Metro League district championship on Saturday, amassing 419 points to hold off hard-charging Sunset’s 390 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center. Now, Jesuit can set its sights on another strong performance at the Class 6A state meet, set Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College. Preliminaries at the Class 6A state meet begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, while championship finals are scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. Saturday.by: MILES VANCE - WE WIN - Jesuit junior Zofia Zdanowicz raises her arms in victory to celebrate her team's win in the 200-yard freestyle relay during the Metro League District Swim Meet at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Saturday afternoon.

Jesuit built its 2013 district win on a deep and comprehensive team effort that included 20 top-eight finishes and was highlighted by two wins from senior Blaise Wittenauer-Lee, another victory from senior Kelsey Forster, and yet another first from the Crusaders’ 200 freestyle relay team.

Wittenauer-Lee did her part by winning the 200-yard individual medley for the second straight year, this time with a finishing time of 2 minutes, 8.06 seconds. She came back four events later to take the 500 freestyle — again for a second straight district title in the event — with a winning time of 4:57.50. Wittenauer-Lee is also the reigning Class 6A state champ in the 500 free.

“I had morning practice so I was all loose and ... it felt like it was going in the right direction so I just went with it,” Wittenauer-Lee said of her 200 IM.

Regarding her 500, Wittenauer-Lee said she expected even more good things ahead after posting a district time that was almost four seconds faster than her state-winning time from 2012.

“I just relaxed and (I was) gunning for that under five minutes,” Wittenauer-Lee said. “Now I just want to get to state and then see what happens.”

Jesuit’s other individual victory came from Forster in the 50 freestyle, where she posted a 24.60 to win her second straight Metro 50 free title, this time by almost half a second over runner-up Tiffany Zhao of Westview. Forster later added a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle at 54.38.

“I was pretty nervous, but I had the support of my team and they kind of kept me calm so that was really nice,” Forster said.

Jesuit also got a win in the 200 freestyle relay from the quartet of Erin Perry, Zofia Zdanowicz, Megan Harper and Forster with a time of 1:40.49, beating Westview’s top team by just .09.

Other top Jesuit finishes included: Harper, second in the 100 backstroke at 59.42 and fourth in the 200 freestyle at 1:56.97; the 400 freestyle relay team of Harper, Perry, Caitlin McMahon and Wittenauer-Lee, second at 3:41.88; and Perry, fourth in the 100 free at 55.50.

Despite all their success, Jesuit’s margin of victory was smaller than at any time in the past five years and pointed to the challenge presented by Sunset’s talented girls team.

“They did really well this year,” Forster said. “There was a lot more competition.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this meet, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.



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