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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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FOUR IN A ROW: La Grande's Brenton Dowdy, front left, Jeremy Younggren, Owen Kenton, Matt Hibbert, Josef Mielke and coach David Deming celebrate the LHS boys' fourth consecutive state swim title. For more on the title and a number of records set by the Tigers, see today's sports section. (TERESA DOWDY photo).
FOUR IN A ROW: La Grande's Brenton Dowdy, front left, Jeremy Younggren, Owen Kenton, Matt Hibbert, Josef Mielke and coach David Deming celebrate the LHS boys' fourth consecutive state swim title. For more on the title and a number of records set by the Tigers, see today's sports section. (TERESA DOWDY photo).

CORVALLIS — The La Grande swim boys made history Saturday, winning their fourth straight state title, and breaking yet more records in the process.

The boys took the title with 61 team points, comfortably ahead of second place Sherwood, which had 44.

Only 4A schools David Douglas and Grant have won four boys swim titles in a row.

La Grande won five events, breaking three state meet records in the process — all three of which the La Grande swimmers had earlier broken on Friday.

The girls also had a very solid meet. Three girls' relay teams finished in the top five and the girls came in eighth place in the state with 14 team points.

For the second straight day, Brenton Dowdy set state meet records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.

"I think it's a great way to end my high school career, you know," Dowdy said.

He said the guys were very close and he will miss them.

Dowdy won the 50 with a time of :21.37, just off the state meet record of :21.35 that he set Friday during preliminaries.

However, Dowdy was just getting started. He did set a record in the 100 freestyle with a time of :46.94, breaking his Friday record time of :47.01.

Dowdy said he went out and swam the best he could and whatever happened happened.

Matt Hibbert won the 100 backstroke with a La Grande school record time of :53.44. Hibbert also had an excellent time of :53.44 in the 100 butterfly, coming in second place. It took a state meet record time of :52.89 by Dominic Rieniets of Sherwood to beat Hibbert in this event.

Coach David Deming said the Sherwood coach told Hibbert La Grande is the reason his boys are as good as they are because the Tiger boys give them something to shoot for.

"Oh yeah, it was emotional," Hibbert said. "I got to experience the highs and lows. It was a crazy ride."

Hibbert has swam with the guys since they were 5.

Deming said it was bittersweet because even though they won, the seniors (Dowdy, Kenton and Hibbert) can not be replaced.

"They're going to leave a major void," he said.

Deming said it will take longer for them to replace the boys.

The La Grande 200 medley relay team of Hibbert, Josef Mielke, Dowdy and Kenton won, tying its own state meet record time of 1:42.94.

Kenton said he felt kind of sad because he can not go back to state and do it again.

La Grande's 400 freestyle relay team of Kenton, Jeremy Younggren, Hibbert and Dowdy won with a state meet record time of 3:16.46. That is two seconds faster than the state record set by the same quartet Friday, which was three seconds faster than the previous state record that was set by Sweet Home in 2000.

"It was defining moment for the team," Deming said.

He said everyone was ecstatic and excited about how fast the boys swam.

Younggren said it will be Mielke and himself as the core of the boys' team next year.

Kenton said it has not really hit him that he swam in his final high school swim meet.

Valerie Butler said she will miss the seniors.

"Oh, you know what are we going to do?" she said.

She said it will take work, and everyone has to step up and be leaders next year.

The girls' relay teams stayed strong all meet. The 200 freestyle relay team of Lindsay Waldrop and Robyn Mills, Elizabeth Esser and Kelsey Woodfield came in to the meet seeded seventh and moved up two slots to finish fifth.

Woodfield said they finished stronger than last year and were more focused.

The best girls' showing was by the 400 freestyle relay team of Waldrop, McMahan, Woodfield and Esser which came in fourth with a time of 4:02.37.

Esser said they wanted to finish in under four minutes.

"We were focused on swimming well before the race started," she said.

She was pleased with the eighth place finish.

"It was a nice way to go out as a senior," Esser said.

"We wanted to move up a place in the relays," McMahan said. "It was kind of our motivation," McMahan said. "We dropped seconds and moved up in our event."

"We're not a boys and girls team," Deming said. "We're a team so to speak with girls and boys on it."

3A/2A/1A Swimming State Championships


Team Rankings

1, La Grande, 61; 2, Sherwood, 44; Phoenix, 34; 4, Junction City, 31; 5, Newport, 27; 6, Seaside, 21; 7, Sweet Home, 20; 8, Marist, 11; 9, Cottage Grove, 10; 9, Astoria, 10; 11, La Salle, 9; 12, North Bend, 8; 13, Wilsonville, 7; 13, Taft, 7; 15, Philomath, 4; 16, Cascade, 2, 17, North Valley, 1; Reedsport, 1.

Relay results

200-MEDLEY — 1, La Grande (Matt Hibbert, Josef Mielke, Brenton Dowdy, Owen Kenton), 1:41.94 (state meet record, school record).

400 FREESTYLE — 1, La Grande (Kenton, Jeremy Younggren, Hibbert, Dowdy), 3:16.46 (state meet record, school record).

Individual results

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 5, Kenton, 2:09.18.

50 FREESTYLE — 1, Dowdy, 21.37.

100 BUTTERFLY — 2, Hibbert, 53.44.

100 FREESTYLE — 1, Dowdy, 46.84 (state meet record, school record).

500 FREESTYLE — 4, Kenton, 5:14.15.

100 BACKSTROKE — 1, Hibbert, 54.66 (school record).

100 BREASTSTROKE — 5, Mielke, 1:08.23.


Team Rankings

1, Sherwood, 58; 2, North Bend, 54; 3, Gladstone, 38; 4, Wilsonville, 29; 5, Junction City, 24; 6, Philomath, 16; 7, Reedsport, 15; 8, La Grande, 14; 9, Mazama, 9; 9, Hidden Valley; 11, Scappoose, 8; 12, Dayton, 7; 13, Banks, 4; 13, Seaside/Warrenton, 4; 13, Henley, 4; 16, Stayton, 3; 17, Taft, 2; 17, North Valley, 2; 17, Rainier, 2; 17, Newport, 2; 21, Phoenix, 1; 21, Cascade, 1; 21, La Salle, 1.

Relay results

200-YARD MEDLEY — 5, La Grande (Amy McMahan, Robyn Mills, Valerie Butler, Kelsey Woodfield), 2:03.88.

200 FREESTYLE — 5, La Grande (Lindsay Waldrop, McMahan, Elizabeth Esser, Woodfield), 1:49.83.

400 FREESTYLE — 4, La Grande (Waldrop, McMahan, Woodfield, Esser), 4:02.37.


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