Hardware in store?
The McMinnville swim teams enter the OSAA Class 6A Swimming State Championships feeling like, well, they could walk on water.
The Grizzlies swept the team championships in commanding fashion on Feb. 14-15 at the McMinnville Aquatic Center. The boys won their seventh consecutive Class 6A Pacific Conference championship, while the girls took down the 2012-13 district champion, Tualatin, 413 to 315.
“Being a senior makes it special,” Mac senior Jacob Porter said. “Being able to come back and beat Newberg” – the only team Mac lost to in dual meet competition – “was really good too.”
“Districts is always my favorite day of the season,” Grizzlies senior Erika Sato said. “It’s so high-energy. When I’m up to the box, it feels like everyone’s cheering for me.”
The McMinnville boys finished second at state in 2011-12 but took sixth place in 2012-13 with 87 points. Sunset won its third straight state title last year and is an overwhelming favorite, with Jesuit expected to finish second.
“We have a very good shot at bronze,” Porter said. “We’ll give it what we have. We definitely want to score higher this year. It’s going to be intense.”
To do so, the Grizzlies will look to maximize the performance of their four relay teams. In an unusual move, Mac coach Jason Hafner organized a swim-off during Wednesday’s practice to decide who would make up the four relay teams.
If the district meet is any indication – McMinnville won three of the four relay races – there may not be a wrong way to stack the lineup.
“We’ve gotten used to each other’s turns,” senior Tristan Versteeg said. “It’s good to get used to how each other swims.”
The Mac girls finished 22nd at state in 2013, scoring eight team points. Exceeding that point total appears to be an attainable goal, though far from the only one.
“I’d like to make the finals in my individual events,” said Sato, who is seeded eighth in the 200-yard freestyle and seventh in the 100-yard freestyle. “The relays could make the finals. Maybe place in the top three.”
Preliminary races take place from 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center in Gresham. On Saturday, championship finals will take place from 1 to 5 p.m.