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Forest Grove splits dual against Sprague

Viking boys win 10 of 11 individual events to pick up a 96-73 dual meet victory

 - Forest Grove senior Alondra Martinez swims to victory in the girls 
100-yard butterfly last Thursday during a dual meet against Sprague.These Vikings are young, but they are holding their own just fine.

The Forest Grove swim team’s youngsters played a big role in the success the Vikings experienced last Thursday, when they split a dual meet against Sprague at the Forest Grove Aquatic Center. Powered by their outstanding sophomore class, the boys earned a 96-73 win against the Olympians to even their Greater Valley Conference record at 3-3, while the girls — who were missing a couple of key swimmers — kept the margin respectable in a 106-61 loss and dropped to 2-4.

“We had good swims. I’m really happy with the attitude of everybody,” Forest Grove coach Tabor Waterstreet said. “With the support they have, they’re really starting to bond together as a team and really get out and support each other.”

The Viking boys showed their quality by winning 10 of the 11 varsity events, which went a long way toward securing the victory. Three of the squad’s super sophomores — Trevor McGougan (500-yard freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Erik Myers (200 individual medley, 100 free) and Otis Shiel (50 free, 100 butterfly) — won both of their individual events, and so did freshman Gage Pittman (200 free, 100 back).

Forest Grove also won the opening and closing relays of the meet to help best the Olympians. Pittman, McGougan, Myers and Shiel took the 200 medley relay in 1:54.24, and the same quartet won the 400 free relay in 3:40.81.

For McGougan, the meet was an opportunity to pull off a somewhat uncommon — at least for him — individual double. He had little trouble in the 500 free, as his winning time of 5:27.35 was more than 45 seconds faster than anyone else’s in the field. He followed that with a victory in the 100 breaststroke, pulling ahead of Sprague’s Colin Daniels late for a win in 1:16.36.

“My 100 breast, I felt really good about it, just kept going and I didn’t choke on it like I usually do,” McGougan said. “My 500, it’s a little off the best time, but still a pretty good day after being sick for a week.”

Myers went 2:25.07 to best the 200 IM field, and he took the 100 free in 58.12. Shiel easily won the 50 free in 23.28 before doubling back to win the 100 fly in 58.94.

As for Pittman, he went 2:06.76 to lead teammate Duncan Reasoner to a 1-2 finish in the 200 free, and he just missed eclipsing the one-minute barrier — something he has been shooting for, Waterstreet said — in the 100 backstroke, where he went 1:00.09.

“It’s a good confidence boost compared to last year,” McGougan said about the boys winning some meets this winter after going winless last season. “We got a lot of energy flowing through the team right now. It just feels really good.”

The Viking girls kept relatively close to the Olympians despite winning just two events. They also managed six runner-up results and four third places despite missing a couple of key contributors in Rachael Van Loo and Kaylee Duckworth.

Alondra Martinez, who is one of just a few seniors to swim for Forest Grove this year, took second in the 200 IM (2:27.10) and then added a win in the 100 butterfly in a season-best time of 1:04.97.

Talented freshman Cali Rowland picked up the other win in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke, which she won in 1:12.84, more than a dozen seconds better than the field. She added a third place in the most closely contested event of the day, the 50 free. Sprague’s Kate Goldsworthy (26.12) and Katie Howard (26.62) went 1-2, followed by Rowland in 26.64.

While Martinez is a veteran, Rowland is one of several talented swimmers who have been helping the team progress this season after graduating some of its top talent in recent years.

“Last year we lost Prudence (Rooker), and we lost Vera (Hutchison) a couple years ago, and Oriene (Shiel),” Martinez said. “But now we have Cali. She’s really good. Overall, the team has been working really hard, and Tabor’s been pushing us a lot, and it’s really nice. You can see the improvements overall in the meets. We’ve been winning more.”

The Vikings’ other second-place results came in the 200 medley relay (Chloe Janko, Rowland, Martinez, Jessica Bohms, 2:07.74), 200 free (Janko, 2:20.52), 500 free (Malu Romero, 6:33.62), 200 free relay (Sarah O’Donnell, Melanie Gutzmann, Shaylynn Christison and Romero, 2:03.98), and 400 free relay (Martinez, Bohms, Janko , Rowland, 4:19.03).

Forest Grove contests its final home meet of the season on Thursday against South Salem before rounding out its Greater Valley Conference schedule on Feb. 3 against McKay in Salem.

Said Waterstreet: “We should be really strong here going into the end.”

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