Julia Anderson, Marisa Jack both finish second twice for VC

LA GRANDE — The Valley Catholic girls swim team took its strong regular season and translated it into even more success at district.

The Valiants, competing in the Special District 2 Championship at Memorial Pool in LaGrande on Friday and Saturday, notched 12 top-six finishes in the meet and finished second overall with 212.5 points, trailing just district champion La Grande’s 238.

“I am proud of all of my swimmers,” said Valley Catholic coach Jacob Sherman. “Even those that didn’t make finals or consolation swims on Saturday dropped a lot of time. It’s always great to end the season on a high note like that.”

The Valiants’ day was highlighted by six runner-up finishes in the meet, two of those coming from senior Julia Anderson and two more from sophomore Marisa Jack. Anderson — who also swam on two top-three relay teams — took second place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.48 seconds (La Grande’s Shelby Baker took first at 25.74), and came back two races later to place second again in the 100 freestyle at 56.47 (again with Baker first at 55.15). Both of Anderson’s individual swims set new Valley Catholic school records.

Jack, meanwhile, stepped up to take second in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, setting a school record of 2:02.51 in the 200 free (with Riverdale’s Willa Holmes first at 2:01.44), then notching a 1:04.07 in the fly (Gladstone’s Sarah Clyde took first there at 1:01.80).

VC also got seconds from its 200 freestyle relay team of Hailey Moraes, Taylor Roth, Kathleen Shew and Jack at 1:49.71, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Shew, Kaho Ukai, Anderson and Jack in a school record of 3:50.99.

Other top individual finishes for the VC girl included: the 200 medley relay team of Ukai, Tintin Luu, Anderson and Moraes, third at 2:03.39; Shew, fifth in the 200 freestyle 2:10.47 and fifth again in the 100 free at 1:00.27; Ukai, fourth in the 500 freestyle at 6:13.95 and sixth in the 100 backstroke at 1:08.76; Luu, fifth in the 100 breaststroke at 1:21.09; and Taylor Roth, sixth in the 200 freestyle at 2:24.33.

Next up for the Valiants is the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state meet, which opens with preliminaries at 9 a.m. Friday at Mt. Hood Community College, and continues with championships at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at MHCC.

“When looking at the state qualifying times from this year to last, I think it is safe to say that 4A-1A girls’ state competition has been bumped up a notch or two,” Sherman said. “That said, we expect to compete fairly well. Last year’s fifth-place finish at state should be in contention, but based on how everything turns out, it could swing up or down a couple places. It should be exciting.”

In the boys district meet, the Valiants battled to sixth place overall in the 10-team field, finishing with 99 points. Madras won the boys meet with 296 points, while La Salle was second at 237 and La Grande third at 137.

Freshman David Spurgeon led the way for the Valiants at district, racing to victory in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:50.01, and coming back later in the meet to grab third in the 500 free at 5:04.26. He also set new Valley Catholic school records in both events and gave Sherman high hopes for his chances at state.

“David should hold his own and hopefully you will see Valley Catholic crack the top 10,” Sherman said, noting that Spurgeon was seeded first in the 200 free and fourth in the 500.

Valley also got two strong performances from its relay teams, with Ben Krueger, Zach Holden, Andrew Linnemann and Spurgeon racing to fourth in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:43.40, and Krueger, Matt Lawyer, Linnemann and Spurgeon going 3:51.25 to take fifth in the 400 free relay.

“All of my swimmers, from state competitors to those who didn’t swim the second day, dropped a lot of time,” Sherman said. “What was surprising is how fast other people swam as well. Many swimmers had equally amazing performances at districts, and we will be waiting for the rematches at state.”

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