Wilsonville boys swim to victory at NWOC district meet
Frontline strength, team depth and desire to win — the Wilsonville boys swim team put it all on display at the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet.
The Wildcats used those attributes to great effect at the NWOC district meet — held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at Parkrose Swim Pool — eventually amassing 264 points to take the team title over runner-up Hillsboro's 227. The complete team scoring included: Wilsonville 264, Hillsboro 227, La Salle 168, Scappoose 155, Parkrose 136, Putnam 111, St. Helens 56, and Milwaukie 23.
"(The) biggest highlight of the meet was taking home the boys NWOC district trophy this year," said Wilsonville coach Brett Rodgers, "as well as the 200 medley and free relays advancing to state."
The Wildcats built their win on the strength of their relay teams and individual victories from sophomore Max Buchwald and senior Jay Thomas. In the 200 medley relay, the Wildcats swam to victory in 1 minute, 50.91 seconds (winning by more than nine seconds). In the 200 free relay, they grabbed first again with a 1:37.21. And in the 400 free relay, Wilsonville took third at 3:59.03.
Individually, Buchwald broke through to win the 200 individual medley with a mark of 2:10.18, while Thomas set the pace in the 50 free, winning in 24.55.
"Our boys had a stellar performance," Rodgers said. "We saw numerous PRs from both old and new swimmers today."
Third-place La Salle made its presence felt, too, getting two individual wins (from junior Emilio Silva and junior Nik Jelusic) and strong performances from its 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
"We got a lot of points from our junior boys," said La Salle coach Paul Collins, citing Silva and Jelusic, as well as junior Charlie Dougherty for his personal-best times in the 100 free and 100 back. "I had hoped our boys would win at least one of the relays, but that didn't happen."
Silva stepped up to take the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.51 to edge past Wilsonville's Thomas, while Jelusic sped to victory in the 100 breaststroke at 1:09.98. In the relays, the Falcons took third in the 200 free with a time of 1:29.08 and later placed second in the 400 free relay at 3:47.11.
For Putnam, junior Owen Roth took second and third in his two individual events, finishing second in the 500 free at 6:17.33 after earlier placing third in the 200 free with a 2:10.66.
For Milwaukie, each of its swimmers set PRs in their consolation races and most of those athletes will return next season.Â
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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