Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Crusaders win historic fifth straight state title

Jesuit's girls win again, tie mark for second-best state streak


by: MILES VANCE - FOR NO. 5 - Jesuit's girls swim team won its fifth straight Class 6A state title on Saturday, including (from left) Caitlin McMahon, Megan Harper, Zofia Zdanowicz, Kelsey Forster, Emily Holman, Blaise Wittenaurer-Lee, Elizabeth Reynaud and Erin Perry.

GRESHAM — The Jesuit girls swim team knew that the challenge was greater than ever at this year’s Class 6A state meet.

And the Crusaders knew that their margin for error might be slimmer than ever.

But Jesuit, battling the state’s best at the 6A meet — held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College — showed that it was up to the challenge for a fifth straight year, scoring 152 points to take yet another team championship. Sunset’s girls finished second with 145 points while West Linn took third at 143.

The Crusaders’ margin of victory was the smallest since they edged David Douglas by just five points back in 2009, and their fifth straight championship — all under the leadership of head coach Bryan Butcher — marked the longest state winning streak since David Douglas took 14 titles in a row from 1967-81. Jesuit’s fifth straight state crown also tied Wilson for the second-longest state winning streak in Oregon history; the Trojans won their five titles from 1961-65.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Jesuit senior Kelsey Forster, the fifth-place finisher in the 50-yard freestyle and a member of two Crusader runner-up relay teams. “We all had talked about it and we all just wanted to try our best and this is the outcome — it’s so exciting.”

“We knew it was going to be close,” said Jesuit senior Blaise Wittenauer-Lee, winner of both the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle. “I think we were kind of not expecting it this year ... but we felt like, if we all just pulled together, it’s possible.”by: MILES VANCE - IN THE IM - Jesuit's Blaise Wittenaurer-Lee makes waves on her way to winning her first state crown in the 200-yard individual medley.

Jesuit opened its day with a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay, with Caitlin McMahon, Wittenauer-Lee, Erin Perry and Forster posting a time of 1 minute, 47.77 seconds (West Linn won the event at 1:46.28). Crusader junior Meghan Harper took her turn next by finishing sixth in the 200 freestyle at 1:57.52.

Wittenauer-Lee then broke through to win her first title in the 200 IM, racing home with a time of 2:03.24, while West Salem’s Mackenzie Rumrill placed second at 2:05.12, and McMahon grabbed seventh at 2:12.30.

“Coming in, I was a little uneasy, but I feel a little more confident now and I’m just excited to be able to race again,” Wittenauer-Lee said after the IM. “I was just excited to be here and swim.”

Forster did her part next, swimming 24.85 to place fifth in the 50 freestyle, and Wittenauer-Lee followed three races later with her second individual victory, this one a repeat win in the 500 freestyle. This year, Wittenauer-Lee swam almost nine seconds faster than in 2012, posted a 4:52.91 to beat runner-up Ellie Thornbrue of Century by more than three seconds, and also broke the state record of 4:58.05 set by Tualatin’s Hannah Points back in 2008.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting it to turn out this way,” Wittenauer-Lee said. “I’m so grateful that I was given this opportunity to swim high school and represent my school. I just feel very blessed right now.”

Jesuit notched another runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle relay, with Perry, Zofia Zdanowicz, Harper and Forster going 1:38.47 and trailing just champion Newberg’s 1:38.03. Harper then added another sixth-place finish — this one in the 100 backstroke — with a time of 1:00.25 to set the table for Jesuit’s clinching swim in the 400 freestyle relay.

There, needing just a solid effort to seal up their team victory, Jesuit’s Perry, Harper, Zdanowicz and Wittenauer-Lee swam to third place at 3:37.02 to keep event-winner Sunset at bay.

“We were seeded third going into this, but we went out and put up a bunch of points,” Harper said. “We had to work the hardest for this one, but everyone did their best individually and it all came together in the relays.”

The key was “probably all the relays and all the girls coming together,” Forster said. “It was just really exciting at the end.”

“It’s just a great day. It’s good,” Wittenauer-Lee added.

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



Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

76°F

Beaverton

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 43%

Wind: 0 mph

  • 29 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 75°F 59°F

  • 30 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 72°F 57°F