Tigers keep streak in tact
GRESHAM — The La Grande Tigers girls swim team won the OSAA 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 title in dramatic fashion. The team was on the bus ready to head back to La Grande with a second place trophy in hand when the La Salle Prep athletic director ran to the bus to exchange trophies. A scoring error had originally placed La Salle on top. When the scores were corrected, La Grande prevailed with 211 points over La Salle’s 200 points. Valley Catholic girls took third with 196 points.
It’s Tigers head coach Darren Dutto’s eighth district title in a row.
“The girls were understandably disappointed, hoping for number eight,” Dutto said. “They had really done their best. When we saw the La Salle AD running to our bus, the tension built, culminating with the acknowledgment that we had won. We were ecstatic! It was a great moment, and I couldn’t be happier for this team.”
On the way to their title, the girls were crowned district champions in two of the three relays and five of the eight individual events.
“Our girls were impressive. They dominated many of the events,” Dutto said. The girls set three district records on their way to the district title. Hannah Roberts overcame illness to capture the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke races. Roberts broke the meet record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:02.30, breaking La Grande’s Logan Gomez’s record from 2012.
Junior Shelby Baker topped her meet record from last year in the 50 freestyle, winning in 25.34. Senior Becca Haynes crushed the field in the 200 freestyle, winning by three seconds with a time of 2:02.66. Sophomore Abbey Felley battled Haynes for the district title in the 500 freestyle, winning in 5:24.28 with Haynes in a close second at 5:25.23. Haynes and Felley had vowed to take the top two spots before they started the race and both swam to personal best times. Roberts, Felley, Haynes and Baker combined to crush the 200 medley relay record by more than two seconds with a time of 1:58.15 and win the 400 freestyle relay title with a time of 3:51.03, beating the nearest competitor by 22 seconds.
“The girls dominated the 400 free relay, as we have done the last couple of years. It made for a fantastic finish,” Dutto said.
The district title was secured by the overall strength of the La Grande team making many top 12 finishes. In the 200 individual medley, Felley placed second and senior Lian Neeley captured eighth. Neeley also placed 11th in the 100 breaststroke. Senior Moriah Brown placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 11th in the 50 freestyle. Erin Bodfish placed eighth in the 100 freestyle. Bodfish, Baker, Brown and Heather Kinery took fourth place in the 200 freestyle relay.
“All of our swimmers contributed and all of our swimmers made finals or consolation finals in this meet. I am proud of every one of them for all of their great swims,” said Dutto.