Ashland races to Southern Sky crown
ASHLAND — Ashland's Lucas Opgenorth and Crater's Anya Martinez have made the trek north to the Oregon state swimming championship meet something of an annual pilgrimage. Now, Troy Robinson will have a chance to dip his feet in the water as well.
In a meet that featured no significant upsets, Opgenorth and Robinson each won a pair of individual events and paced two winning relay teams as the Ashland boys easily captured the Southern Sky Conference district championship at the Southern Oregon University natatorium on Saturday.
The pair will get a chance to test themselves against the state's best next weekend at the Class 5A state championships at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Winners in each event qualify for the state meet. Additional qualifiers, based on times, may be added early next week.
"I'd like to see Lucas and Troy both get into the finals," Ashland coach Steve Mitzel said.
Martinez won two individual events and a relay on the girls side, but the Crater standout wasn't enough to keep Ashland from claiming the girls title.
Ashland captured six of the 11 boys races to easily win the team title with 369 points, followed by Klamath Union (225), Crater (209) and Mazama (77). While the Grizzlies don't appear to have anyone who can match Dash King's two state titles of a year ago, they haven't suffered for a lack of depth.
"What we lost in Dash, we made up for in the improvement of all of the rest of the people on the team," said Opgenorth, who qualified for state in the 500 freestyle last year but didn't make it out of preliminaries.
Opgenorth switched from the 500 to the 200 late in the season and withstood a challenge from Crater's Jeremy Selland to win that event in 1:55.64.
"I was keeping an eye on him," Opgenorth said of his Crater rival. "I didn't want to get too far ahead of him, because I was concerned that he might be conserving his energy more than I was and would make a move on me."
"The 200 is more of a sprint, whereas the 500 is much more based on pacing," Opgenorth said. "It's kind of a unique beast in that sense that you have to walk that line between a sprint and conserving your energy."
Opgenorth seemed much more at home in the 100 butterfly, which he won by almost five seconds.
"He's a great utility swimmer," Mitzel said. "When it comes to racing, he just wants to beat the guy in the lane next to him."
Robinson, Ashland's lone senior and a member of the school's state championship water polo team, doubled by winning the 100 backstroke (59.65) and 200 individual medley (2:14.64). He also teamed with Opgenorth, Jake Gavin and German exchange student Robin Haase to win the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
"For him to break the (one-minute) plane and to get first and get to go to state in two events and two relays, that's about as good as it gets," Mitzel said. "I allowed him to pick his events this year and he started working on them early."
"He was doing backstroke work in the middle of freestyle sets. I could tell he really wanted to make an impact. He's a water polo guy who likes to swim between seasons. "
Crater's Selland, who was swimming for the first time all season after overcoming a left shoulder injury, let Opgenorth go in the 200, but came back less than an hour later to punch his ticket to state by winning the 50 freestyle in 23.19.
"Jeremy was instructed not to pursue him," Crater coach Mike Heckert said. "If we had done that over 200 yards, he likely wouldn't have had a shoulder to swim the 50. By having him push hard in the 50, we put less fatigue on the shoulder."
Klamath Union's Charles Warrington also advanced to state for the fourth consecutive season, setting season bests in winning the 100 free and 100 breast and anchoring the winning 200 free relay team.
The Ashland girls earned their team title despite winning only two of 11 races. But the deepest team in the Southern Sky Conference piled up points with four runner-up efforts and five third-place finishes for a total of 294 points, besting Crater (214), Mazama (213) and Klamath Union (203) in a meet that saw all four schools win at least twice.
"Our goal was to win the conference championship and we did it with a lot of youth," Mitzel said.
The individual stars among the girls were Crater's Martinez and Mazama's Nycole Klauder, who each won a pair of individual events and anchored a winning relay. Klauder lapped two other swimmers in setting a district record in winning the 200-yard individual medley in 2:19.48 and also captured the 100 backstroke.
Martinez, who will be making her fourth consecutive trip to state, easily won both the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and anchored a win in the 200 freestyle relay, setting a season-best time of 1:13.65 in the 100 breast.
"That's exactly what I expected from her," Heckert said of Martinez. "She is the consummate professional."
On a day that featured races won by considerable margins, the most drama was created in the rivalry between Ashland's Kaylee Tracy and Mazama freshman Mandy Warrior. Warrior got the upper hand early, winning the 200 freestyle and anchoring the Vikings' win in the 200 medley relay. But Tracy came back to punch her return ticket to state, coming from behind to set a meet record in winning the 100 freestyle in 59.13. She later anchored Ashland's win in the 400 free relay.
"It's really a blur," she said. "In the last 25 (yards of the 100 freestyle), it was kind of like I had nothing to lose by pulling it all out, so I just kept going. I wasn't looking at her (Warrior) at all in the last 25."
In the 400 relay, Brietta Powers and Eliana Pool staked Ashland to a half-pool length lead when Tracy dived in for her anchor leg and the junior wasn't about to let Warrior chase her down.
"Every year she gets better and gets deeper into the state championship and this year our goal is to get her into the finals," Mitzel said.
Southern Sky District Meet
TEAM SCORES — Ashland 369, Klamath Union 225, Crater 209, Mazama 77.
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. Ashland (Troy Robinson, Jake Gavin, Lucas Opgenorth, Robin Hasse 10), 1:49.39; 2. Klamath Union, 1:52.52; 3. Crater, 1:54.27; 4. Mazama, 2:22.83.
200 FREESTYLE — 1. Lucas Opgenorth, Ash, 1:55.64; 2. Jeremy Selland, Cra, 2:01.06; 3. Alex Dassoff, KU, 2:05.61; 4. Wynn Michael, Ash, 2:09.67; 5. Parker Massie, Ash, 2:18.30; 6. Kyle Wilkins, Cra, 2:21.36.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. Troy Robinson, Ash, 2:14.64; 2. Ryan Warrior, Maz, 2:21.95; 3. Zach Torres, KU, 2:27.65; 4. Nicholas Heckert, Cra, 2:30.32.
50 FREESTYLE — 1. Jeremy Selland, Cra, 23.19; 2. Robin Hasse, Ash, 23.48; 3. Alex Harris, Ash, 26.24; 4. Forrest Kollar, Ash, 26.29; 5. James Compeau, Ash, 27.83; 6. Aaron Mattson, Cra, 29.53.
100 BUTTERFLY — 1. Lucas Opgenorth, Ash, 1:01.52; 2. Johnathan Plumlee, Ash, 1:06.32; 3. Zach Torres, KU, 1:06.59; 4. Kyle Wilkins, Cra, 1:15.00.
100 FREESTYLE — 1. Charles Warrington, KU, 50.79; 2. Robin Hasse, Ash, 51.93; 3. Jonathon Melbo, Cra, 53.77; 4. Ryan Warrior, Maz, 54.46; 5. Jake Gavin, Ash, 55.05; 6. Johnathan Plumlee, Ash, 56.97.
500 FREESTYLE — 1. Karl Britsch, KU, 5:39.95; 2. Parker Massie, Ash, 6:15.08; 3. Mahkah Wu, Ash, 6:21.01; 4. Cameron Swanson, Cra, 7:15.42; 5. Forrest Georgevitch, Ash, 7:59.73.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Klamath Union (Zach Torres, Alex Dassoff, Karl Britsch, Charles Warrington), 1:38.31; 2. Crater, 1:40.35; 3. Ashland, 1:41.37.
100 BACKSTROKE — 1. Troy Robinson, Ash, 59.65; 2. Jonathon Melbo, Cra, 1:01.06; 3. Karl Britsch, KU, 1:02.42; 4. Noah Smith, Ash, 1:12.72; 5. Forrest Kollar, Ash, 1:15.83; 6. Josh Baumgart, KU, 1:17.07.
100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. Charles Warrington, KU, 1:05.71*; 2. Jake Gavin, Ash, 1:09.57; 3. Alex Dassoff, KU, 1:13.67; 4. Nicholas Heckert, Cra, 1:15.57; 5. Alex Harris, Ash, 1:18.70; 6. Mahkah Wu, Ash, 1:19.23.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Ashland (Lucas Opgenorth, Troy Robinson, Robin Hasse, Johnathan Plumlee), 3:34.26; 2. Crater, 4:27.70; 3. Klamath Union, 4:57.25.
TEAM SCORES — Ashland 294, Crater 214, Mazama 213, Klamath Union 203.
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. Mazama (Nycole Klauder, Mandy Warrior, Taylor Gill, Tess Starley), 2:08.01; 2. Crater, 2:09.13; 3. Ashland, 2:13.27; 4. Klamath Union, 2:19.17.
200 FREESTYLE — 1. Mandy Warrior, Maz, 2:10.34; 2. Kaylee Tracy, Ash, 2:12.65; 3. Mia O'Dougherty, Ash, 2:33.27; 4. Devin Barton-Diaz, Cra, 2:34.27; 5. Hayley Young, KU, 2:44.37; 6. Tess Starley, Maz, 2:48.40.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. Nycole Klauder, Maz, 2:19.48**; 2. Ayla Wood, KU, 2:51.52; 3. Kinsey Parker, Cra, 3:04.46; 4. Alice Sun, KU, 3:04.94.
50 FREESTYLE — 1. Anya Martinez, Cra, 26.44; 2. Brietta Powers, Ash, 28.02; 3. Taylor Gill, Maz, 28.58; 4. Teal Rice-Narusch, Cra, 28.76; 5. Veronica Miller, KU, 29.02; 6. Livy Krevitz, Ash, 29.17.
100 BUTTERFLY — 1. Kelly Mauser, KU, 1:14.23; 2. Amber Parker, Cra, 1:21.05; 3. Taylor Gill, Maz, 1:21.93.
100 FREESTYLE — 1. Kaylee Tracy, Ash, 59.13*; 2. Mandy Warrior, Maz, 59.20*; 3. Eliana Pool, Ash, 1:04.01; 4. Brietta Powers, Ash, 1:04.49; 5. Livy Krevitz, Ash, 1:05.43; 6. Kinsey Parker, Cra, 1:11.44.
500 FREESTYLE — 1. Kelly Mauser, KU, 6:32.35; 2. Devin Barton-Diaz, Cra, 6:58.33; 3. Tess Starley, Maz, 7:24.32; 4. Jennifer McKernan, Ash, 7:24.67; 5. Amie Jacobson, Ash, 7:32.10; 6. Meris B, Ash, 8:07.14.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Crater (Amber Parker, Teal Rice-Narusch, Kinsey Parker, Anya Martinez), 1:52.28; 2. Ashland, 1:59.58; 3. Klamath Union, 2:08.04; 4. Mazama, 2:28.63.
100 BACKSTROKE — 1. Nycole Klauder, Maz, 1:03.00*; 2. Sarah McLain, Ash, 1:19.21; 3. Mariah Haberman, Ash, 1:19.64; 4. Halie Budden, KU, 1:21.00; 5. Katie Jones, Cra, 1:29.77; 6. Alex Royal, KU, 1:30.06.
100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. Anya Martinez, Cra, 1:13.65; 2. Amber Parker, Cra, 1:25.58; 3. Amie Jacobson, Ash, 1:29.80; 4. Deborah Silbowitz, Ash, 1:30.48; 5. Alice Sun, KU, 1:33.46; 6. Danielle Welch, Maz, 1:43.02.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Ashland (Eliana Pool, Livy Krevitz, Kaylee Tracy, Brietta Powers), 4:08.99; 2. Mazama, 4:17.25; 3. Klamath Union, 4:33.56.
* — eclipsed previous district meet record
** — eclipsed district record