La Grande boys win state swim title again
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
Hot off a second-straight state swim title, the La Grande Tigers are already wondering whether they have a three-peat in their future.
That may depend on whether Brenton Dowdy decides to swim or play basketball next year.
The sophomore won a state championship in the 100-yard butterfly and was a member of La Grandes state titlist 200 medley relay team Saturday.
The Tiger boys repeated as state champions at the OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A/2A/1A Swimming State Championships at Mount Hood Aquatic Center in Gresham. They finished with 57 points compared to 47 for second-place Sweet Home.
Dowdy doubled on the swim team and the JV boys basketball team this season.
Im not going to try to do that again, he said. I dont know.
Dowdys return to swimming this year he did not swim as a freshman bolstered La Grandes team and gave the Tigers a replacement for David Butler, who won a state title in the 100 breaststroke in 2001 and was a member of that state champion 200 medley relay team.
Dowdy set a state record in the 100 butterfly teammate Matt Hibbert won that state title a year ago and was part of this years 200 medley relay team that set a state record in Fridays prelims.
Despite being sick last week, Dowdy had enough strength for a strong finish in the butterfly. His chief competition, Banks Colin Douglas, is known as a strong finisher, too, but Dowdy outclocked him on the second lap.
I knew I was in pretty good shape, Dowdy said. This is only the second time Ive swam it since Ive been in good shape and I knew Id have enough at the end and wouldnt die.
Brenton knew that he had to get out to a lead right away, La Grande coach David Deming said. I talked to him before to make sure he had enough to come home with. Colin Douglas has a strong finish. (Brenton) went out faster and came home faster; thats where you win the race.
Dowdy finished second in the 50 freestyle, losing again to District 2 rival Ben Karlin of Valley Catholic. Dowdy had beaten Karlin with a district record the prior weekend, but Karlin, who also won the 100 freestyle, was the better swimmer at state.
We knew it was going to be a close race. Ben just looked really strong throughout the entire race. Brent was trying to play catch-up there, Deming said.
The Tigers led from start to finish, but they didnt run away with the title as they did last year.
It was a lot closer than I expected, Deming said. I dont think this win this year was as dominating as last years.
The medley relay set the tone for the meet. La Grande did not break the record it set in Fridays prelims, but Hibbert, Michael Esser, Dowdy and Justin Howland were more than 11/2 seconds faster than second place Saturday.
The girls had two sixth-place finishes after finishing fourth in state a year ago. Elizabeth Esser was sixth in the 500 freestyle and the 200 medley relay team of Carrie Waldrop, Megan Dickison, Mandy Randolph and Kelsey Woodfield was sixth.
OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A/2A/1A Swim State Championships
Saturday, at Mount Hood Aquatic Center, Gresham
La Grande HS results
Team scores La Grande 57, Sweet Home 47, Valley Catholic 36, Astoria 26, Sherwood 22, Junction City 21, Cottage Grove 15, Banks 12, Reedsport 12, North Marion 11, North Valley 11, Seaside 9, Mazama 9, Hidden Valley 7, Phoenix 5, La Salle 4, Marist 4.
200 medley relay 1, La Grande (Matt Hibbert, Michael Esser, Brenton Dowdy, Justin Howland), 1:45.51.
200 freestyle 3, Hibbert, 1:54.62.
200 individual medley 4, Owen Kenton, 2:11.76; 6, Dylan Botham, 2:21.55.
50 freestyle 2, Dowdy, 22.21.
100 butterfly 1, Dowdy, 53.24 (state record; old record, 53.25, Michael Oxendine, Phoenix, 1998).
100 freestyle 6, Howland, 52.49.
500 freestyle 5, Kenton, 5:20.54; 6, Esser, 5:27.40.
200 freestyle relay 5, La Grande (Howland, Botham, Kenton, Hibbert), 1:35.65.
100 backstroke 2, Hibbert, 57.75.
400 freestyle relay 2, La Grande (Howland, Esser, Kenton, Dowdy), 3:26.58.
Team scores Wilsonville 82, Cascade 39, Philomath 30, Sherwood 29, Newport 22, Marist 18, Seaside-Warrenton 18, Hidden Valley 11, Junction City 11, Banks 9, Molalla 7, The Dalles 5, Cottage Grove 4, Reedsport 4, Sweet Home 4, Henley 3, La Grande 3, Astoria 3, Seaside 2, La Salle 2, Valley Catholic 1, Scappoose 1.
200 medley relay 6, La Grande (Carrie Waldrop, Megan Dickison, Mandy Randolph, Kelsey Woodfield), 2:07.31.
500 freestyle 6, Elizabeth Esser, 6:00.20.