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Vikings enjoy record-breaking day

Daphne Janko and Cali Rowland win a pair of district titles for Forest Grove

The Vikings’ young talent shined through in this one.

The Forest Grove swim teams have a lot of youthful swimmers this year. But they were not fazed by the big setting of last weekend’s Greater Valley Conference district meet, staged Friday and Saturday at the McMinnville Aquatic Center.COURTESY PHOTO: ROCKNE ROLL/NEWS-REGISTER
 - Forest Grove sophomore Cali Rowland swims in the finals of the 100-yard breaststroke Saturday at the Greater Valley Conference district meet.

Both Daphne Janko and Cali Rowland captured individual titles with record-setting swims at the conference clash, punching their tickets to this weekend’s Class 6A state meet at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham. They also formed half of a 200-yard medley relay that just snuck into the state field with an at-large bid, giving the Vikings a relay presence at the meet for the first time since 2014.

The boys team also will be represented in Gresham, as Forest Grove’s 200-yard freestyle relay squad picked up an at-large bid.

South Salem fended off 2015 champion McMinnville — 351 points to 343 — to win the girls team title. West Albany (300), West Salem (282), McNary (234) and Forest Grove (217) rounded out the top six. The Grizzlies rolled to a repeat championship on the boys’ side with 477 points. South Salem (349) and West Salem (288) were second and third, with West Albany (236) and Forest Grove (225) close for fourth and fifth.

Rowland and Janko joined forces with Jordan Bohms and Chloe Janko to open the finals with a third-place result in the 200-yard medley relay. The quartet’s time of 1 minute, 57.66 seconds was quick enough to earn a spot as the 17th-seeded squad in the 18-team state field.

Shortly thereafter, Daphne Janko finished second in the 200 free to Marissa Kuch of McNary, who was timed in 1:53.84 to Janko’s 1:57.99. Janko fell about a half-second shy of the automatic qualifying standard with that effort, and the time proved plenty quick enough to net her an at-large bid.

Janko saved her best for her next race, the 500 free, where she just fended off South Salem’s Anna Despain for the win, hitting the final wall in 5:13.49 to Despain’s 5:14.36. With that victory, she became Forest Grove’s first-ever swimming titlist at the GVC district meet. She also broke the school record in the event. Janko enters state as the 11th seed, with Despain right below her in 12th.

Rowland would add another name to that list of GVC champs a bit later in the meet, but before that, she took third in the 200 individual medley behind Despain (2:12.89) and West Salem’s Hannah Bodkin (2:12.42). She swam a fine time of 2:14.86, good for an at-large berth to state and the 16th seed in a fast field.

Late in the meet, the sophomore standout turned the tables on Bodkin to claim a title in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke. Rowland finished in 1:06.32, just better than Bodkin’s 1:06.85. The clocking broke the GVC meet record and landed her the fifth seed at state, so a similar effort in Friday’s preliminaries may well put her in the state final.

Rowland, the Janko sisters and Bohms also teamed up for fifth in a deep field in the 200 free relay (1:46.83).

Bohms also made a great GVC district meet debut. In addition to her relay work, she posted a runner-up result in the 100 free (57.06) and a fourth place in the 100 fly (1:03.71).

Other top Forest Grove girls performers were Chloe Janko (100 back, eighth, 1:10.21; 100 fly, 13th, 1:10.77), Sarah O’Donnell (100 free, 11th, 1:02.55; 50 free, 16th, 28.38), Rachael Van Loo (100 back, 11th, 1:12.02) and the 400 free relay of O’Donnell, Stevie Walker, Amelia Garcia and Van Loo (seventh, 4:26.38).

As for the boys team, Otis Shiel, Erik Myers, Trevor McGougan and Gage Pittman extended their season another week thanks to a time of 1:34.88 in the 200 free relay, which nabbed them third place behind quartets from West Salem and McMinnville. Their mark was fast enough to rank them 17th across district meets and put them in the 18-team state field.

McGougan paced the boys with two top-six individual finishes. The junior took third in the 500 free in 5:11.08 and sixth in the 200 free in 1:57.19.

Pittman and Shiel also were two-time finalists in individual events for the Vikings. Pittman, a sophomore, swam to fourth in the 200 IM in 2:07.89 and fifth in the 100 back in 57.80. Shiel, a junior, added a fifth place in the 100 fly (57.69) and a sixth place in the 50 free (23.33).

Other top Forest Grove boys performers were Duncan Reasoner (100 breaststroke, sixth, 1:09.41; 200 IM, 12th, 2:19.65), Myers (100 free, eighth, 55.29; 100 fly, 12th, 1:02.37), Hunter Bartoo (100 back, 10th, 1:04.82; 200 IM, 11th, 2:17.61) and Ian Romig (100 back, 14th, 1:07.33).

Forest Grove’s 200 medley relay of Pittman, Reasoner, Shiel and McGougan finished in fourth place (1:46.67), and the 400 free relay of Reasoner, Bartoo, Myers and Romig was fifth (3:48.20).

The Class 6A state meet kicks off Friday with preliminaries and concludes Saturday with finals.