Bush, Howard, relay team all triumph for Sherwood

by: DAN BROOD - THUMBS UP -- Sherwood High School junior Julia Bush gives a thumbs up toward the Sherwood coaches table after she won the 100-yard freestyle event at Friday's NWOC district meet.PARKROSE — Julia Bush wasn't really sure what to expect.

Carter Howard, as well as his teammates on the 200-yard freestyle relay team, most likely exceeded all expectations.

Now, they're all going to the state championships.

Bush, a Sherwood High School junior, Howard, a Bowmen sophomore, as well as senior Hao Tan and juniors Joe Bassich and James Heinlein all qualified for the state meet after swimming to victory at the Northwest Oregon Conference district championships, held last Thursday and Friday at the Parkrose High School swimming pool.

by: DAN BROOD - WINNING FORM -- Sherwood sophomore Carter Howard is on his way to victory in the 500-yard freestyle event at the NWOC district meet. “This has been kind of awesome,” said Howard, who had a pair of individual district meet titles to go along with the victory in the 200 freestyle relay. “I didn't think that I'd go to state this year.”

Each event winner at the district meet, as well as swimmers or relay teams that earn wild-card bids, advance to compete at the Class 5A state championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.

Bush will be going into this week's meet as the defending Class 5A state champion in the 100 freestyle event. However, she had a reason for concern going into last week's NWOC district meet.

That's because she sprained her left ankle at practice back on Feb. 10.

“We were wearing fins at practice on Monday, and I hyperextended my ankle,” Bush said. “It was a second-degree sprain, so I was a little worried.”

As it turned out, she didn't need to be.

Bush, with her injured ankle lightly taped, swam to victory in Friday's district finals of the 100 freestyle in a time of 54.17 seconds. After finishing the race, Bush, while still in the water, turned and gave a thumbs-up as she looked toward the Sherwood coaches table.

“Considering the circumstances, it went well,” she said. “I'm happy with it.”by: DAN BROOD - GO -- Sherwood junior Joe Bassich cheers on the Bowmen 200-yard freestyle relay team during action Friday at the NWOC district swim championships. Bassich teamed with Carter Howard, Hao Tan and James Heinlein to win the race.

Bush also swam to second place in the 200 freestyle at the district meet with a mark of 2:03.75, which was good enough to earn her a wild-card bid to state in that event.

Now, Bush is hoping for good things at the upcoming state meet.

“Hopefully, my ankle will heal more in a week,” she said. “My time today (in the 100) was all right. That gives me some confidence for state. If I can drop more time, that will be good.”

While Bush is a state-meet veteran, Howard will be going to the state championships for the first time.

He'll be going in a pair of individual events. Howard first claimed a district meet title in the 200 freestyle with his winning time of 1:55.28. Later on, he triumphed in the 500 freestyle with a mark of 5:12.86.

“Going to state is amazing,” he said. “Making the finals would be spectacular.”

In the boys 200 freestyle relay, the Bowmen team of Bassich, Tan, Howard and Heinlein was victorious in a time of 1:36.54, edging second-place Wilsonville by 0.42 seconds.

“I wasn't sure of how we'd do,” Tan said. “This was my senior year, and my last time here. The effort we put in really paid off. This was faster than last year's 'elite' group had.”

Bassich, swimming the leadoff leg, got the Bowmen team off to a flying start to the race.

“Joe put it in gear,” Heinlein said.

“I didn't know I'd go that fast,” Bassich said with a smile.

Now, the Sherwood relay team is looking to make some noise at the state meet.

“Let's final,” Tao said. “We're going to push it as hard as we can.”

“Making finals would be a dream come true,” Howard said.

The same Sherwood foursome also finished in second place in the 200 medley relay with a mark of 1:49.97.

The Sherwood boys, with Howard and the relay team leading the way, finished second in the team standings at the NWOC district meet with a score of 231 points. Liberty took the top spot with a score of 251.

by: DAN BROOD - FLY AWAY -- Sherwood junior Amy McAravey competes in the 200 yard individual medley.Also for the Sherwood boys at the district meet, junior Michael Diegel was third in the 500 freestyle in 5:37.89 and he took fourth in the 200 freestyle in 2:06.37. Tan sprinted to fourth in the 50 freestyle in 24.26 and he was fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:12.53. Bassich was fifth in the 200 individual medley and he took fourth place in the 500 freestyle in 5:44.86. Heinlein was fourth in the 100 freestyle in 54.57 and he placed sixth in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.64. Junior Joshua Cichoski was fifth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:01.79.

The Sherwood girls finished in sixth place in the team standings at district with 119 points. Sandy claimed the girls team title with a score of 253.

Lady Bowmen junior Amy McAravey was fourth in the 100 backstroke with a mark of 1:11.57 and she was sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:45.41.

The Sherwood team of McAravey, Bush, sophomore Victoria Ross and freshman Grace Jackson was third in the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:10.07.

Action at the Class 5A state championships is set to start at 9 a.m. on Friday. Saturday's championship finals are slated to start at 8:15 a.m.

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