Newberg boys win comfortably, while girls fall just short 88-82 against the Lions at home

Depth is often the name of the game when it comes to high school swimming dual meets, which has been a sore spot for Newberg in recent seasons, especially for the girls team. SETH GORDON - Nikki Rubottom swims the backstroke leg of the 200 individual medley during Newberg's Three Rivers League meet versus West Linn and St. Marys Jan. 4. Rubottom was third overall in 2:26.56 as the Tigers bested the Blues but fell narrowly to the Lions.

The Tigers, however, have been boosted by some additions this season and put their newfound depth to the test last week in a double-dual meet versus West Linn and St. Mary's Academy.

It was enough to help Newberg cruise past St. Mary's 101-67, but not quite enough to catch the Lions, who prevailed 88-82.

"They have a good solid core of girls and a little bit more depth than we have," NHS coach George Sampson said of West Linn. "We were only six points behind a team that was fairly deep."

The Tigers got wins in three events against the Lions, including victories by Tina Childress in the 50 free (25.00) and 100 free (54.79). Childress also teamed up with Stella Byles, Violet Elder and Nikki Rubottom to win the 200 free relay in 1:45.56.

Newberg got seven wins in the dual versus the Blues, including from the 200 medley relay (1:56.59), Rubottom in the 200 IM (2:26.84), Byles in the 100 back (1:05.17) and Elder in the 500 free (6:16.28).

Sampson has been pleasantly surprised by how much a quintet of freshmen — Halle Harper, Natalie Kisling, Rubottom, Maddy Smart and Sophia Vargas — have contributed so far.

"They're picking up points and they've added a lot of depth," Sampson said. "Last year, St. Mary's threw us under the bus and drove away. This year, they lost some top-end kids and we replaced a lot more swimmers in the freshman class than they did and came out on top."

The Newberg boys already had a solid core with standout Trey Fincher and a strong group of sprinters, but the addition of freshman Ty Patterson and transfers Rashun Hoskins and Trenton Hoskins was more than enough to overpower the Lions 93-77.

Fincher won two individual events, the 200 free (1:55.37) and the 100 back (1:02.73), and swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays, which clocked times of 1:33.01 and 3:29.83, respectively.

"Even under the weather he did his yeoman work and did what he needed to do to get us some victories," Sampson said. "It was just a typical solid all-around Trey Fincher performance."

Newberg also got wins from Zach Jordan in the 100 free (52.42) and Zane Nygren in the 500 free (5:24.46).

"I'm very pleased. We just came off a pretty hard two-week training session and a mammoth workout session on Jan. 1," Sampson said. "They almost tripled their normal yardage on Monday and still swam well on Thursday."

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