Julia Bush triumphs in the 100 freestyle and the Sherwood girls earn the fourth-place trophy

by: DAN BROOD - STANDING TALL -- Sherwood sophomore Julia Bush (center) stands on the top step of the award stand after her state-championship swim in the 100 freestyle. GRESHAM — A music-filled party of a bus ride.

Hanging around with her friends.

Laughing, joking and cheering.

Winning a state championship.

It all adds up to a heck of a good day for Julia Bush.

It also was a pretty joyous afternoon for her teammates on the Sherwood High School girls swim team.

Bush, a Sherwood sophomore, captured the championship in the 100-yard freestyle event and the Lady Bowmen took home the fourth-place trophy from the OSAA Class 5A Swimming State Championshps, which concluded Saturday at Mt. Hood Community DAN BROOD - TROPHY TIME -- Sherwood's (from left) Amy McAravey, Julia Bush, Emily Stevens, Kaela DeKar and Hannah Christensen claimed the fourth-place trophy at the state swim meet.

“Oh my gosh,” Bush said after she received her championship medal for the 100 freestyle. “This is so great. It’s so exciting.”

The Sherwood girls finished in fourth place in the final team standings with a score of 32 points. The Lady Bowmen finished just three points behind third-place West Albany.

“It’s awesome,” Sherwood senior Kaela DeKar said of getting a state trophy.

“It’s great,” said Sherwood senior Emily Stevens, who set a new school record in the 100 backstroke at the meet. “We weren’t expecting one, but how we did today was perfect.”

Bush certainly seemed to near perfection in the championship finals of the 100 freestyle event.

Bush took the lead right from the start of the race and proceeded to widen the margin the rest of the way.

She ended up winning the race in a time of 51.86 seconds, putting her nearly a second and a half ahead of the second-place Madi Brewer of DAN BROOD - RECORD BREAKER -- Sherwood senior Emily Stevens is on her way to setting a new school record in the 100-yard backstroke event during Saturday's Class 5A state swim meet finals.

Her winning time was both a personal-best mark and a new school record.

And, at the end of her state-championship swim, Bush got a smile on her face.

“I’m really happy with it,” she said. “It was a rough week of practice. I knew I could do it, but I wasn’t sure how it would all play out. I was happily surprised.”

The key to that pleasant surprise, Bush said, was her friends.

“Usually, I freak out before a race,” she said. “But my teammates calmed me down. That really helped.”

This is the second straight year Bush won a state championship in the 100 freestyle. Last year, as a freshman, she triumphed in a time of 52.91.

“This one means just as much,” she said. “Every race where you go out, do well and have a good time should mean a lot.”

Here’s something else that means a lot to Bush — the relays.

“I love the relays,” she said. “Everyone on the team realizes that we work for each other and we’re working for a common goal. And we always have a lot of fun.”

by: DAN BROOD - RELAY SUCCESS -- Sherwood sophomore Amy McAravey (center), with senior Emily Stevens to her left and junior Hannah Christensen to her right, smiles as she looks at the scoreboard during the 200 freestyle relay. The Sherwood relay teams sure seemed to have fun at Saturday’s state championships.

First, in the 200 medley relay, the Lady Bowmen team of Stevens, DeKar, Bush and sophomore Amy McAravey finished in sixth place in a time of 1:58.81.

The race also marked the first time that Sherwood has qualified a 200 medley relay team for the finals in six years.

“I’ve never qualified for state before, so this was amazing,” DeKar said.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the Lady Bowmen team of junior Hannah Christensen, McAravey, Stevens and Bush finished in second place with a mark of 1:45.48, sparking a Sherwood celebration at the end of the race.

“That was nerve-wracking,” said Christensen, who is a first-year student at Sherwood High. “I know that we all gave it everything we had.”

“I think that we did great,” McAravey said.

Sherwood’s time of 1:45.58 was more than a second faster than the team’s previous best mark this DAN BROOD - CHAMPIONSHIP SMILE -- Sherwood sophomore Julia Bush smiles after finishing the 100-yard freestyle event at Saturday's Class 5A state meet. Bush won the race in a time of 51.86.

“It was definitely you guys,” Stevens said, referring to Christensen and McAravey.

The Sherwood 200 freestyle relay team was the No. 8 seed going into the state meet. The Lady Bowmen had the third best preliminary time and the they stepped up to finish second in the finals.

“To be seeded eighth and then take second is a big thing,” Sherwood coach Robbert van Andel said. “Both relay teams swam really well.”

“We wanted to go out with a bang and have fun,” DeKar said.

Stevens sure seemed to do that.

The Lady Bowmen senior, who will swim for the University of Wyoming next year, set a new school record in the 100 backstroke — her final race for Sherwood — with her third-place time of 58.42.

“I didn’t believe I’d do it,” Stevens said.

“I knew she would,” Bush said with a smile.

“I was really happy,” Stevens said. “That was a lot of fun.”

In addition to her third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, Stevens also swam to third place in the 100 butterfly with a mark of 59.30.

Bush also had another strong performance at the state meet, as she raced to second place in the 200 freestyle in 1:52.00.

It all added up to a second straight team trophy for the Lady Bowmen, who placed second in 2012.

“I honestly didn’t expect us to place that high,” van Andel said. “It took a lot of hard work and some luck. “We have two really talented swimmers and we brought up some kids who hadn’t been here before, and they stepped up.”

The Sherwood boys squad had a pair of relay teams that competed in Friday’s preliminary heats.

The Bowmen 200 medley relay team of sophomore James Heinlein, senior Tanner Varin, junior Hao Tan and junior Ryan Ax finished 10th in the preliminaries with a time of 1:50.04.

In the 200 freestyle relay, Heinlein, Varin, Tan and Ax placed 11th at 1:37.48.

Summit swept the Class 5A team championships. The Summit boys triumphed with a score of 72 points. The Summit girls took first with a total of 58.

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