Prudence Rooker wins a district title in her signature event, the 100-yard breaststroke

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Forest Grove senior Prudence Rooker swims to victory in the 100-yard breaststroke Saturday at the Pacific Conference district swim meet.MCMINNVILLE — For Prudence Rooker, the state title defense is on schedule.

Rooker, Forest Grove’s senior swimming standout, tuned up for this week’s Class 6A state championships by obliterating the Pacific Conference district meet field in her specialty, the 100-yard breaststroke. She also qualified for state in three other events at the meet, which was held Friday and Saturday at the McMinnville Aquatic Center.

“I think it was good,” Rooker said when asked to assess her performance. “I felt pretty good about my butterfly and the breaststroke. They’re completely opposite. My breaststroke is my best event and my 100 butterfly is my worst event, so we just kind of throw them together and we’ll see what happens.”

Not only did Rooker’s breaststroke time of 1 minute, 5.73 seconds top the field by nearly seven seconds, but it also broke the district meet record of 1:06.03, set by Tigard’s Ellie Bradley in 2006. That mark was one Rooker had in her sights.

“I was kind of hoping I could get that. I knew it was in my range,” she said. “I just wasn’t sure how I was going to feel today.”

With her performances, Rooker earned a second consecutive trip to the Class 6A state meet at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. The reigning state champion in the 100 breaststroke enters Friday’s preliminaries as the fifth seed in a loaded field — including Rooker, seven of the top eight finishers from the 2013 state meet return this year.

A senior, Rooker put an exclamation point on the Vikings’ district meet with that record-setting swim, but she and the team posted some other highlights, too.

Rooker also qualified for state with a runner-up result in the 100 butterfly, and she teamed with Rachael VanLoo, Alondra Martinez and Oriene Shiel to place second in the 200 medley relay and fourth in the 400 free relay. Those two relays both snuck into the state meet field, as did Shiel as the conferences’s fifth-place finisher in the 100 free.

All of those efforts helped the Forest Grove girls finish fifth with 199 points at the district meet. McMinnville took the title with 413 points, followed by Tualatin (315), Century (301) and Hillsboro (211).

As for the Vikings boys, they scored 144 points, narrowly finishing eighth. The host Grizzlies took that side of the meet as well with 459 points, followed by Newberg (337), Century (239), Hillsboro (216), Tigard (214), Glencoe (183) and Tualatin (155).

Forest Grove coach Tabor Waterstreet left the meet feeling that his squad’s performance, overall, was a bit of a mixed bag and that his girls seemed a tad fatigued.

“We had some decent performances,” Waterstreet said. “Didn’t quite live up to the expectations I was hoping for.”

At that point, right after the competition, Waterstreet did not yet know if anyone besides Rooker would make state. Thanks to a time of 58.97, Rooker was guaranteed a state spot in the the 100 fly after besting the event’s automatic qualifying standard, but the Vikings had to wait until meet entries were posted on Sunday to learn whether anyone else on the team had qualified.

The two girls relay teams did, as did Shiel.

District champions and all swimmers and relay teams who hit the qualifying standard are guaranteed entry to the state meet. If a field still does not have 16 entrants at that point, the fastest remaining performers across all district meets fill it out.

Jon Faris, Jake Alton and Trevor McGougan led the boys squad, combining to make the championship final in four events. Faris placed fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:14.09) as well as in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.55).

“He swam really well, got best times in both of his swims,” Waterstreet noted. “He swam really strong.”

Alton took eighth in the 200 free (1:57.17) and won the consolation final of the 100 free in 52.31 for a ninth-place overall finish, which just bested McGougan (52.79). McGougan added a seventh-place result in the 500 free (5:24.32).

That trio teamed up with Erik Myers to finish fifth in the 200 free relay (1:37.77) and seventh in the 400 free relay (3:39.77).

For the girls, Shiel added a fourth-place finish in the 50 free (25.76) — just missing out on another state meet bid — while Martinez was eighth in the 200 free (2:07.58) and the 100 backstroke (1:08.28).

In the 100 free, Shiel finished in 56.31, three seconds off the pace set by Century’s Logan Neal, and is the 12th seed at state. The 200 medley relay’s time of 1:56.46 — bested only by Tualatin’s 1:54.76 — is ranked 12th. The 400 free relay just made the cut at 16th (3:50.82).

VanLoo added an 11th-place finish in the 500 free (6:06.91) and a 15th in the 100 free (1:01.21). Other girls scorers were Malu Romero (13th, 200 IM, 2:44.99), Jessica Bohms (15th, 200 IM, 2:49.96), Chelsea Christison (15th, 100 back, 1:14.02), Jensen Borrego (16th, 50 free, 28.70), Chloe Janko (14th, 100 fly, 1:16.42; 16th, 200 free, 2:27.85), and the 200 free relay team of Bohms, Christison, Janko and Borrego (seventh, 1:56.21).

For the boys, Alex Peverly reached the consolation finals in the 200 IM (15th, 2:40.85), as did Myers in the 100 back (16th, 1:09.50). The 200 medley relay of Alex Rios, Peverly, Pavel Lopez-Haas and Albert Grigorov was eighth in 2:15.45.

Class 6A state meet preliminaries begin at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, and the finals start at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $8 per session for adults and $5 for students.

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