Tigers cap season with solid work at state
GRESHAM -- Coming off an historic performance at the Three Rivers League District meet, the Newberg swim team simply didn't have the numbers, the emotion or in the case of senior star Tina Childress, the energy to make a deep run at the OSAA 6A state championships Friday and Saturday at Mount Hood Community College.
The Tiger boys finally built enough depth in the program to win their first ever district meet title a week earlier, but with just four boys competing in four events at state, they were content with a solid performance that landed them in 17th place with 28 points.
"Because of the chase for the title last week, there was a lot of emotion in that meet that is lacking here" NHS coach George Sampson said. "When you only bring four guys, it's tough to bring that. But all in all, I'm really happy."
The NHS girls have also been steadily adding depth the past two seasons, but with Childress still recovering from an ear infection that prevented her from even getting in the pool the week prior to districts, the ceiling for the Tigers at the state meet was also a bit lower than it might have been.
Still, Childress swam to fourth and ninth place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle races and teamed up with Stella Byles, Violet Elder and Nikki Rubbottom to place ninth in the 200 free relay (1:43.30) and finish 13th as a team with 29 points.
"I came in trying to have energy that I really didn't have, like your back-up tank is there but there's nothing left," Childress said. "I definitely would have wished for it to end differently, but I know I worked hard and the girls worked hard all season."
Childress moved up one spot from her No. 5 seed by recording a 24.70 in the 50 free. It was evident the condition hampered her more in the 100 free, where she posted a 54.41.
"The fact that she's here in one final and one consolation final is a testament to how tough she is," Sampson said.
The Tigers also got points from the 11th-place 200 medley relay team (1:55.57) and sophomore Stella Byles, who was 12th in the 100 backstroke (1:01.03).
Junior Trey Fincher paced the boys with ninth-place showings in the 50 free (21.95) and 100 free (48.30), then teamed up with Raleigh Day, Zach Jordan and Ty Patterson to place fifth in the 200 free relay in a season's best time of 1:29.84. The 400 free relay also qualified for state, but did not advance from preliminaries, finishing 15th (3:22.47).
"I didn't have a personal best, but both were the second-fastest times I've ever had, so that was good," Fincher said. "After coming off of two weeks of taper and not really working hard, I felt good about being right close to my PRs."