La Salle girls power past Wilsonville to win NWOC district swimming
The Wilsonville girls swim team struck first at the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet.
But La Salle struck back late, struck back hard and swam off with the team title at the event, held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at Parkrose Swim Pool.
By the meet's end, the Falcons finished with 277 points to edge out the Wildcats' runner-up total of 239. The complete team scoring included: La Salle 277, Wilsonville 239, Hillsboro 169, St. Helens 144, Putnam 142, Scappoose 126, Milwaukie 65, and Parkrose 42.
"I was a little nervous early in the meet as I tracked our scores," said La Salle coach Paul Collins. "It seemed like the girls were neck and neck with Wilsonville … (but) our best events were late in the meet."
Indeed, La Salle's four wins came in the final four events of the day, starting with the 200-yard freestyle relay team and its finishing time of 1 minute, 48.93 seconds.
After that, the Falcons saw freshman Kayla Chapman win the 100 backstroke at 1:03.10, while freshman Rowan Mozena and senior Meiruh Tengsico went 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke with Mozena posting a 1:17.44 and Tengsico a 1:18.44.
And finally, the Falcons closed the meet with their best performance of the day, speeding away to win the 400 free relay by more than 26 seconds with a time of 4:10.50.
Those efforts helped La Salle win the meet by 28 points after going undefeated in its 2021-22 dual meets.
Wilsonville, meanwhile, won five of the meet's first seven events, getting two individual victories each from senior Riley Lawler and junior Helena Jones to share honors as Girls Swimmer of the Meet.
"The Wildcat girls had a great meet (finishing) second overall," said Wilsonville coach Deb Mandeville. "The girls team was also excellent in the relays on Saturday."
Lawler took the 200 freestyle in a personal best of 2:04.58 and came back to win the 500 free with another PR of 5:36.45.
Jones, meanwhile, did her part in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, winning the 50 free by more than four seconds at 23.44 (and finishing just .18 behind the Class 5A state meet record), then going 51.00 to take the 100 free by more than nine seconds (and bettering the current 5A state meet record of 51.33).
The Cats' other win came in the 200 medley relay, where senior Caitlin Jew, freshman Gabby Maoz, Lawler and Jones went 1:59.00.
Putnam's top finishes came from sophomore Ruby Bentz, who placed second in the 200 individual medley at 2:25.65, and took second again in the 100 butterfly at 1:07.35.
Milwaukie's best finish came from freshman Helen Beecher; she took second in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:56.73.
Next up, the NWOC's state qualifiers will swim in the Class 5A state meet, set for 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
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