The Scappoose boys swim team stepped up.
The Indians, shrugging off a bout of late-season sickness, were determined to back up their solid first Class 5A regular season. And they did just that on Friday, Feb. 8, winning the Northwest Oregon Conference district championship at Parkrose High.
Scappoose finished the eight-team meet — compressed into one day due to weather concerns — with 259 points, holding off a challenge from runner-up Parkrose (241 points).
La Salle Prep was third with 189 points, followed by Hillsboro (181), St. Helens (147), Wilsonville (108), Putnam (83) and Milwaukie (24).
"Our boys had a monster meet and pulled this one out against a tough Parkrose team that was district champion last year," Scappoose coach David Richmond said. "We talked about winning this championship all season and about the fact the boys team had never won a district championship before.
"To be the first SHS team to win a 5A championship, and to do it in our first year in the new classification, is special. This is something the guys will never forget."
In the girls' meet, the Indians placed sixth among eight teams, with 123 points. The top three: La Salle Prep (239), Hillsboro (218) and St. Helens (215). Wilsonville had 207 points, Putnam 160, Parkrose 34 and Milwaukie 26.
"On the girls' side, we had a tougher go of it," Richmond said, adding that the Indians ended the day strong with a third in the 400-yard freestyle relay. "After a tough meet for many of them, they finished on high note."
Next, the Indians' state qualifiers will compete in the Oregon School Activities Association's 5A meet, Friday and Saturday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton. Preliminary heats are set for 1:45 p.m. Friday, and the championship finals will start at 1 p.m. Saturday.
• Stellar sophomore Will Blair led the Indian boys at district. He won the 50 and 100 freestyle races and helped Scappoose claim the 200 and 400 free relays. Blair helped Scappoose earn 96 points and was named Swimmer of the Year.
Blair got things started with a "W" in the 50 free, setting a school record of 22.61 seconds to edge second-place Calvin Haynes of Parkrose and his 23.00.
Blair came back two races later with another win the 100 free, setting a personal record of 50.52 to beat Parkrose runner-up Zach Tudor's 51.34.
But Blair was hardly done. He swam the lead leg on the 200 free relay, teaming with seniors Quincy Reynolds and Panachai Kongja and junior Bryant Sharp for a 1:34.35 that edged Parkrose by .28.
"(We) bested Parkrose in the most thrilling race of the day and set a new school record by a half-second, shattering last year's record at the state meet," Richmond said.
Finally, Blair dropped the hammer in the final leg of the 400 free relay, following the efforts of junior Nash Wilson, junior Cadmen Posvar and Reynolds. Scappoose's 3:38.01 beat second-place Hillsboro by almost four seconds.
And, Blair was just the tip of the spear for the Scappoose boys. The Indians also finished second in one event, third in three, fourth in another four and fifth in two more.
Sharp explained his mind-set — which echoed that of his team: "We've gotten better to compete against these bigger schools. Because (Class 4A) Newport is gone and they were like our biggest competition, our biggest competition is now Parkrose, and we're focused on beating them."
Reynolds and Posvar went 2-3 in the 200 free in 2:03.60 and 2:04.69.
Sharp took third in the 50 free with a 23.35.
Wilson grabbed third in the 100 backstroke (1:02.20).
Sharp and Reynolds placed 4-5 in the 100 free, with Sharp touching at 54.51 and Reynolds at 54.94.
Kongja was fourth in the 100 butterfly at 1:01.36.
Wilson took fourth in the 100 backstroke with a 1:02.20.
The 200 medley relay team of Wilson, Kongja, Posvar and Sharp placed fourth at 1:50.41.
Posvar was fifth in the 500 free in 5:54.27.
"They came ready," Richmond said of his boys. "We've been talking about winning this meet all year. We were gearing the guys up. This is the best team we've ever had."
• While La Salle Prep, Hillsboro and St. Helens took the girls' headlines, the Indians had their moments, too.
Foremost among them was junior Kelsey Ela's runner-up finish in the 100 free. Ela raced home in 1:04.56, trailing only St. Helens champion Molly Wheeldon's 1:03.17.
"(We got a) highlight from Kelsey Ela in the 100 free, where she placed second and missed an automatic (state) berth by only a second," Richmond said.
The Indians' closing 400 free relay consisted of senior Maddy Thorne, Ela, senior Montana Poppenhagen and junior Rachel Lauridsen and posted a 4:41.56.
Other Scappoose highlights included: the 200 free relay of Thorne, Ela, Poppenhagen and Lauridsen, which took fifth in 2:02.16, and the 200 medley relay of senior Lauren Whisenhunt, freshman Anna Cox, junior Stephanie Barnes and sophomore Amanda Walsh, sixth at 2:34.61.
"The 400 quartet raced really well," Richmond said. "I was impressed with the effort and stepping on the gas in (the last event). They were tired but raced strong and got the top finish of any girls relay all day."
Tanner Russ contributed to this story.
Scappoose 5A swim qualifiers
50 freestyle — Will Blair, Bryant Sharp
100 freestyle — Blair
200 freestyle relay — Nash Wilson, Quincy Reynolds, Cadmen Posvar, Blair, Panachai Kongja, Sharp, Isaac Reed, Brisyn Maller
400 freestyle relay — Wilson, Reynolds, Posvar, Blair, Kongja, Sharp, Reed, Maller
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