Lakeridge girls swim to Three Rivers district crown
The Lakeridge girls swim team was good as gold last year.
The 2017 Pacers won the Three Rivers League district meet by more than 60 points, and later, finished third at the Class 6A state meet.
With that as pretext, what's better than gold?
The Pacers are going to make us find out after winning the Three Rivers League district meet again, closing the two-day event with 345 points to beat second-place West Linn by 80 points. The complete final team scoring included Lakeridge 345, West Linn 265, Lake Oswego 260, Tualatin 249, St. Mary's 199.5, Newberg 190, Tigard 173.5, Canby 154 and Sherwood 148.
In the process, Lakeridge's girls won six of the meet's 11 events (including two of three relays) with UCLA-bound senior Mara Newman taking two individual titles herself and winning honors as the meet's high-points scorer.
"I definitely feel more anxious (at district) than I do in a normal dual meet, but it's pretty exciting to be here with all these people," said Newman, who won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke. "I'm very happy with what we've done."
However you stack it up, the Pacers were flat out impressive at the district meet, held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center. Lakeridge opened the meet in dominant fashion, setting a new district record while winning the 200 medley relay, with senior Brynne O'Shea, junior Ellie Jew, Newman and junior Skye Buck winning at 1 minute, 46.75 seconds.
Next up, Pacer senior Katie Manzione stepped up to win the 200 freestyle for a second straight year, closing with a time of 1:55.35 to get her team off to a flying start. Manzione also took second place later in the 500 free at 5:12.73 (where she trailed only Abbi Karsseboom of Tualatin and her 5:08.57).
"It was really fun. Honestly, it was just fun," Manzione said. "It was exciting to come back and win it the second year. I try not to put too much pressure on myself, but I'm just lucky and blessed that it happened again."
Newman scored next, winning the 100 butterfly and breaking her own district record with a time of 55.82. She came back later in the meet to top the 100 backstroke field with a mark of 55.17 and edge West Linn runner-up Katelyn Laderoute's 55.60.
"I wasn't thinking about (the record) specifically, but I broke my own record from last year so I might as well get better," Newman said. "That was what I was hoping for and all I can ask for, really."
Lakeridge's other individual win came from Jew, who took the 100 breaststroke with a district-record time of 1:03.19. She finished second in her other race, the 200 individual medley, with a time of 2:07.52 (where she trailed Laderoute's 2:03.84).
"I was hoping for the best and just going to give it my all and see what happens," Jew said after her win. "It felt pretty good. I've been sick the past week so I wasn't really sure how I'd feel, but it felt good."
Lakeridge also set the pace in the 200 freestyle relay, with Buck, junior Veronica Hansen, Manzione and Jew recording a 1:40.98.
Other top Pacer finishes came from: the 400 freestyle relay team of Manzione, senior Nicole Gooding, O'Shea and Newman, second at 3:40.47; O'Shea, third in the 500 free at 5:14.95 and third again in the 100 backstroke at 57.90; Hansen, fourth in the 100 free at 57.82; Buck, fifth in the 50 free at 25.25; and sophomore Adelaide Foden-Vencil, fifth in the butterfly at 1:00.95.
"We knew that we were going to be in a good position to finish on top that everyone had to give it their all to make it happen, but I think we came together really strong this meet," Newman said. "I'm really proud of how everyone's doing this meet."
"I think everyone looks forward to district," Manzione said. "Every year, (coach Derek Abbott) always tells the team that finishes and starts, the little things, we've got to work on the little things. You race the person next to you, try to out-touch them. I think everyone was taking that to heart this meet."
Next up, the Pacers will swim in the Class 6A state meet, which opens with preliminaries at 9 a.m. Friday and continues with championship finals at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.