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David Douglas girls go unchallenged, Gresham boys leap to top of the heap

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Emma Nissen of David Douglas glides through the water during the backstroke Saturday. She won the 200 medley race earlier in the meet.

David Douglas did as expected Saturday and ran away with the Mount Hood Conference girls swim title.

The Scots piled up 487 points to finish more than 200 in front of runner-up St. Mary’s.

David Douglas didn’t waste any time flexing its muscle, scoring first-place points in three of the day’s first four races.

The Scots got it started with a win in the 200-yard medley relay (1:54.25), while Emma Nissen won a tight battle in the 200 medley (2:22.78). Nissen swam in second place most of the way before moving ahead at the 10-meter flags and out touching Gresham’s Haley Schaeffer by .19 hundredths.

“I wanted to win, and I talked myself into it,” Nissen said. “I knew she was right there with me. I just put my head down and went for it — it was close.”

David Douglas teammates Janessa Dyk and Hao Nguyen followed with a 1-2 finish in the 50 freestyle sprint. Dyk was easily the first swimmer into the water, setting the pace for the entire splash-filled lap before hitting the wall well in front of the pack.

Rory Kearns of St. Mary’s (500 free, butterfly) and Felicia Anderson of Central Catholic (backstroke, 100 free) won multiple events.

The Mount Hood Conference boys swim title wouldn’t be decided until the final race of Saturday’s district meet, but it was the first race of the day that doomed Centennial’s chances.

Gresham was clinging to a slim two-point lead heading into the last event — the 400-yard freestyle relay. That meant the Gophers needed to do two things to end the day with a trophy over their heads. First, they had to swim a clean race. Second, they had to stay in front of Centennial.

The two teams were racing in adjoining lanes at the edge of the pool, so it was easy to know where they stood throughout the eight-lap race.

Gresham’s Dalton Boyles got his team out to a sizeable lead over the Eagles after the first leg, and the Gophers maintained at least a body-length gap throughout. Centennial’s Endy Leng made a surge on the anchor leg, but the gap was too much, and Gresham’s Logan Colson was able to touch in a full two seconds in front.

“We were delaying a bit coming off the blocks, just to be sure we were clean on our exchanges,” Colson said. “We couldn’t afford a DQ.”

His words rung true, as it was a failed exchange in the 200 medley relay to start the meet that took 34 team points off the board for Centennial, forcing the Eagles into catch-up mode the rest of the day.

Gresham finished with 373 points, beating the Eagles by four. That was enough to push the Gophers past regular-season champion Central Catholic, third at district, in the season’s final standings.

View a photo gallery from the district championships at …

http://daveball.exposuremanager.com/g/feb9_mhc_district_swimming