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Rooker extends family's string of state titles


Prudence Rooker follows her brother Gabe with a victory in the 100-yard breaststroke

Though Forest Grove junior Prudence Rooker is no stranger to big-time competition — she is a high-level, year-round club swimmer — she had not participated in the OSAA state swimming championships prior to the 2012-13 school year.

She certainly made her presence felt at the Class 6A state meet in February, winning the 100-yard breaststroke and finishing second in the 200 freestyle in her individual events. And along with Alondra Martinez, Oriene Shiel and Vera Hutchison, Rooker swam on the Lady Viks’ fifth-place 400 free relay, and she also swam on the 200 medley relay team.

“I felt pretty relieved after my win in the 100 breaststroke,” Rooker said. “The results were around where I was aiming to be. I wasn’t really expecting the ‘all-time best’ type of results, but I was definitely hoping to walk away from state feeling good with my swims and doing well for Forest Grove High School.”

Led by Rooker, the Forest Grove girls scored 58 points and finished 10th in the overall team standings.

In the 100 breast, Rooker narrowly trailed West Linn junior Brie Balsbough over the first 50, but she held her speed better over the back half of the race to capture the title. Her time of 1 minute, 3.70 seconds was just a tenth of a second slower than the Class 6A meet record, set by Lakeridge’s Amy Wiley in 2010, and just 1.08 seconds slower than the 9-year-old overall state mark, set by Barlow’s Felicia Castaneda. Rooker’s breaststroke title was the fourth by a Rooker in as many years, as older brother Gabe Rooker won three straight boys championships in that event starting in 2010.

Rooker almost won another title in the 200 free, finishing as the runner-up to reigning champion Ellie Thornbrue of Century, whose time of 1:50.11 was seventh-tenths of a second faster than Rooker’s.

Hutchison also earned second swims in both of her individual events. A senior, she finished eighth in the 200 individual medley and ninth in the 100 butterfly.

For the Forest Grove boys, Charles Morse finished seventh in the 500 free and 12th in the 200 free, and August Peverly was 12th in the 100 butterfly. Those two boys teamed with Owen Shiel and Tim Sandage to take ninth in the 400 free relay. Those efforts translated into 17 points, good for an 18th-place finish in the overall standings.