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Slugfest

Jesuit breaks through in the final event to take out Southridge's girls 87-83
by: MILES VANCE, ON HER WAY — Southridge freshman Taylor Lakey breaks the surface on her way to victory in the 100-yard butterfly against Jesuit last Thursday at Conestoga Swim Center.

BEAVERTON - Is there really any better way to start a New Year than with a good old-fashioned slugfest?

The Jesuit and Southridge girls swim teams certainly couldn't think of one.

Two of the Metro League's best swim teams got back into action last Thursday at Conestoga Swim Center and went at each other hammer and tong for 11 events before the Crusaders escaped with an 87-83 victory. The win lifted Jesuit's Metro League record to 2-0 and kept it in a first-place tie with Westview while Southridge's girls fell to 0-2.

The Crusaders built their win on the slimmest of margins, winning six events to the Skyhawks' five, taking third place eight times and coming back from a 79-77 deficit with a 1-3 finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay - the final event of the day.

In that meet-clinching relay, Jesuit's Gabs Nanson, Taylor Scroggy, Paige Nibley and Megan Foley swam to victory in 3 minutes, 46.24 seconds, while teammates Chelsea Garza, Sheila Stocks, Kally Strader, and Christine Doran touched in 3:56.34 to place third. Together, their efforts netted Jesuit 10 team points and the victory. Southridge's quartet of Natalie Groat, Nikki Barney, Amber Chase and Melany Kill took second in 3:51.43.

Among their other victories, the Crusaders got two wins each from freshman Megan McCarroll (in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke) and senior Foley (in the 100 and 200 freestyle races) and its other victory from freshman Scroggy (in the 50 free).

'I'm really happy. I'm excited,' McCarroll said after her win in the 200 IM, which came in 2:09.75. 'I like all the strokes so that's why I like IM.'

McCarroll edged Southridge's Sarah Cruzan to win the individual medley by .44 seconds - Cruzan finished in 2:10.19 - and came back seven events later to take the breaststroke in 1:09.11. There, she edged Southridge's Elica Sharifnia for the victory; Sharifnia finished in 1:11.43.

While McCarroll was happy with her two wins, she also expressed her excitement about being part of this year's strong Jesuit team.

'It's the first time I've really gotten to be involved at this school,' she said. 'I am a club swimmer, but it's really more team-like. There's the team, then there's the school and the spirituality, and everyone from school coming together and seeing each other swim. I'm really excited for the next four years.'

Foley notched her wins in the 200 free with a time of 2:02.70 and the 100 free at 55.20. Scroggy, meanwhile, scored in the 50 free, touching to win in 26.04.

While Southridge fell short of victory, the Skyhawks created plenty of highlights, foremost among those freshman Taylor Lakey's wins in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle. Lakey took the fly in 57.97 (with Jesuit's Nanson second in 1:03.28) and won the 500 with a time of 5:18.38 (with Nanson second in 5:38.49).

'I think I did pretty good,' Lakey said after her butterfly win. 'I'd love to place top-three at state. I think that would be a really good goal, maybe in the 100 butterfly.'

And like McCarroll, Lakey said she was enjoying her first go-round at the high school level.

'There's family in the club, but you get to feel really close in school because you see these people in school every day so you can see them in classes and go 'Good job in the meet,'' she said.

Cruzan was Southridge's only other individual winner - she took top honors in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.51. Lakey and Cruzan also teamed with Sharifnia and Maraya Silan to win the 200 medley relay in 1:52.40.

Sharifnia added two runner-up finishes in the meet, placing second in the 50 freestyle and again in the 100 breaststroke.

In upcoming meets, Jesuit swims at Aloha at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) while Southridge swims at Beaverton at 4 p.m. today.