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Boys take first overall, girls take fourth at big Lincoln County invitational meet

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVE RICHMOND - The Scappoose boys swimming team won the Newport Invitational for the first time in program history. The start of the season has been something special for the Scappoose boys' swimming team.

The same goes for the girls as well. The Indians, just a month into the regular season, are showing out on both sides of the ledger, handling their business in duals and big invitationals alike. With each passing meet and every new accomplishment, Scappoose is looking more and more like legitimate contenders for a Northwest Oregon Conference title and Class 5A state meet acclaim.

The boys kept their historic run together winning The Newport Invitational on Dec. 20 for their third straight invitational triumph to start the season. This is the first time the Indians have won at Newport's biggest home meet. The girls took home the crown in 2012. Newport is a swimming-crazed town, a community that truly invests in its youth programs and ensures the high school team is among the best in 4A. High school athletics, in general, are huge on the coast. They're the only game in town, literally and figuratively. Newport rolls out the red carpet when it hosts its invitational. The Cubs take pride in winning their extravagant home event and treat it like a postseason meet. The arena is smaller than most, with patrons sitting close to the pool lanes, yelling and cheering on the swimmers as they whirl up and down the lanes. It's an older facility with wooden walls and ceilings that are great for sound and creating a raucous vibe. To go into Lincoln County and knock off not only Taft and Newport but 4A power Valley Catholic was vital for the Indian boys who totaled 313 points in the victory.

"This is the biggest early-season meet we compete in, so to win it for the first time and beat two really good teams in Newport and Taft was big for our boys," Scappoose head coach David Richmond said. "They remain unbeaten on the season and continue swimming strong times early in the season."

The Scappoose girls also had another solid meet placing fourth and were only four points out of second place despite missing six girls to illness. Newport and Taft took first and second, respectively. Valley Catholic finished third.

PMG MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Scappoose star swimmer Will Blair and the Indians are undefeated this season. "We have been battling illness for weeks and the kids who could compete really put an out a great effort," Richmond said. "I think one of the most encouraging things is that many of our kids were/are still battling illness and we put away Taft and Newport by considerable margins. I think that shows our depth on the boys' side. Our league has some deep teams and there may be some deeper than us. We'll need to continue to improve and get better to repeat this year."

Scappoose is gaining steam and momentum in one of the more important stretches of the season. The Indians are training hard and competing often, sometimes twice a week with duals on Tuesdays and invitationals on Fridays, not to mention navigating the holiday season and academic requirements. They've handled the slate with grace and poise, proving they can manage it all and still succeed in the water.

"Our confidence level right now is at a high level," Richmond said. "This group of boys supports each other, celebrates together and encourages each other while pushing teammates to step up in big moments. They want to bring their best in the biggest moments. Lastly, without question, we need to work on the details. We're not seeing enough attention to technique in some instances, particularly turns. It will be a greater and greater emphasis as we move along. We don't focus much on dual meets and switch up our events quite a lot. We get into more of our dual meet part of the season in January."

PMG MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Scappoose head coach Dave Richmond is pleased with his teams progress and sees even more room for improvement. In Newport, Will Blair and team captain Bryant Sharp led the way along with Nash Wilson and Cadmen Posvar. Brisyn Maller swam close to his personal best in the butterfly in just his first attempt this season. There were 20 personal bests alone in relay splits this meet which was great to see, according to Richmond. Owen Reynolds shaved eight seconds off his personal best in the 200 free. Max White took four seconds off his personal record in the 200 free. Austin Hassell and Ambrocio Torres both trimmed six seconds apiece off their splits in the 100-yard freestyle relay. Teammate Gustavo Villaluazo took three seconds off his own time in the relay. Miah Garrett was a force, ripping seven seconds away from his 100 free personal best and four more off his 50 free finish. Leia Jackson took three seconds off her 100 free time and dropped a stunning six seconds off her 50 free personal best

"I like what I am seeing from the first-year swimmers," Richmond said. "They are taking chunks of time off in a hurry."

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