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Home arrow Opinion arrow CLOSE RACES, CLOSE TO RECORDS


SPRINT: La Grandes Elisha Gerber finishes 11th in the 100-yard freestyle Saturday. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
SPRINT: La Grandes Elisha Gerber finishes 11th in the 100-yard freestyle Saturday. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Some of La Grandes best competition comes from its own ranks.

Take the 200-yard individual medley. Sophomore Brenton Dowdy nipped classmate Matt Hibbert by three-hundredths of a second in Saturdays La Grande Invitational at Veterans Memorial Pool. Racing against each other, they produced the second- and third-fastest times in school history.

In the 100 breaststroke, senior Dylan Botham edged classmate Michael Esser by less than a second.

Thats always been a close race between those two, La Grande coach David Deming said.

It bodes well for a return to the state meet in February, where the Tigers won a state title last season.

La Grandes boys won their own swim meet Saturday, and the girls finished second with some ground-breaking performances of their own.

The biggest improvements were made by the first-year swimmers, especially on the girls side, where freshman Kelsey Woodfield pretty much worked her way into a spot on the A relay, the 200 freestyle relay, Deming said.

She is just doing phenomenal. She dropped major time in her events.

All of the beginners, if they didnt have best times today, they had some really close times, Deming said.

At this point in the season, the times should be getting faster, and thats what happened Saturday, Deming said.

Were going to be improving in big chunks of time. That should be happening for these kids, Deming said.

The boys are even encroaching on a couple of school records. The 200 freestyle relay team of Dowdy, Owen Kenton, Tyler Howland and Hibbert won in 1 minute, 34.43 seconds, just two seconds behind the record set in 1994-95.

Deming believes the 200 medley relay team has a shot at the school record of 1:42.97, set in 1995-96; that team won Saturday in 1:46.40.

Regardless of the record, the 200 medley relay time was faster than what the Tigers swam at state 10 months ago when they won the event. The 200 freestyle relay is less than half a second off the teams time at state, which was good for second place and half a second behind first-place Seaside.

The girls relays arent breaking relays, but the teams are still fluid.

Because we have so many beginners, were still looking at relay combinations, Deming said. Woodfield may have broken into the 200 freestyle relay A team, and other changes could come.

La Grande Invitational


Team scores La Grande 120, Pendleton 89, Hermiston 76, Baker 15.

200 medley relay 1, La Grande (Matt Hibbert, Michael Esser, Brenton Dowdy, Justin Howland), 1:46.40.

200 freestyle 1, Owen Kenton, 1:58.31; 8, Heath Sell, 2:40.90.

200 individual medley 1, Dowdy, 2:06.97; 2, Hibbert, 2:07.00; 3, Dylan Botham, 2:20.87.

50 freestyle 1, Ian Jamieson, P, 24.12; 2, Kenton, 24.28; 3, J.Howland, 24.37; 6, Greg Hill, 27.96.

100 butterfly 1, Dowdy, 56.56.

100 freestyle 1, Mychal Bert, H, 52.18; 2, J.Howland, 53.03; 5, Hill, 1:02.96; 8, Jeremy Youngren, 1:08.03.

500 freestyle 1, Jon Patterson, H, 5:38.62; 2, Esser, 5:41.78.

200 freestyle relay 1, La Grande A (Dowdy, Kenton, Tyler Howland, Hibbert), 1:34.43; 3, La Grande B (Hill, Sell, Youngren, Botham), 1:50.90.

100 backstroke 1, Hibbert, 56.75; 6, Youngren, 1:25.37.

100 breaststroke 1, Botham, 1:08.87; 2, Esser, 1:09.59; 5, Sell, 1:23.62.

400 freestyle relay 1, Pendleton, 3:46.65; 2, La Grande (Hill, Esser, Botham, Kenton), 3:48.09.


Team scores Pendleton 125, La Grande 101, Baker 43, Hermiston 34.

200 medley relay 1, Pendleton, 2:06.17; 2, La Grande A (Carrie Waldrop, Jennifer Butler, Mandy Randolph, Elizabeth Esser), 2:08.06; 5, La Grande B (Natalie White, Nancy Binger, Megan Dickison, Kelsey Woodfield), 2:28.65; 8, La Grande C (Bess Buzzard, Laura Martin, Jenny Villani, Elisha Gerber), 2:46.25.

200 freestyle 1, Courtney Criswell, P, 2:11.81; 2, Esser, 2:17.56; 3, Villani, 2:30.50.

200 individual medley 1, Waldrop, 2:29.78; 3, Dickison, 2:43.43; 7, Liesl Mielke, 2:53.62.

50 freestyle 1, Jennifer Thomas, P, 26.73; 3, Randolph, 27.04; 5, Woodfield, 29.06; 11, Martin, 34.21.

100 butterfly 1, Randolph, 1:06.25; 4, Villani, 1:24.92.

100 freestyle 1, Kristina Grant, P, 1:04.31; 4, Woodfield, 1:08.84; 9, Gillian Hill, 1:15.53; 11, Gerber, 1:36.75.

500 freestyle 1, Tammy Tangney, P, 5:40.66; 3, Esser, 6:14.89; 4, Dickison, 6:17.75; 7, Mielke, 7:02.31.

200 freestyle relay 1, Pendleton, 1:53.46; 2, La Grande A (Dickison, Esser, Waldrop, Randolph), 1:55.65; 4, La Grande B (Mielke, Binger, Hill, Woodfield), 2:08.37; 7, La Grande C (White, Buzzard, Amy McMahan, Hilary McAlister), 2:28.92.

100 backstroke 1, Courtney Criswell, P, 1:08.71; 2, Waldrop, 1:09.15; 5, Butler, 1:19.12.

100 breaststroke 1, Michelle Wilson, H, 1:19.78; 2, Butler, 1:27.43; 4, White, 1:34.09; 7, Martin, 1:35.87.

400 freestyle relay 1, Pendleton, 4:09.18; 2, La Grande A (Mielke, Hill, Butler, Villani), 4:49.59.

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