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South Medford boys qualify with state's fastest relay time

GRESHAM — The South Medford boys 200 freestyle relay set the fastest qualifying time and the Panther boys and girls had successful performances in other events during the first day of the Class 6A swimming state championships Thursday at Mount Hood Community College.

The meet concludes with the finals and consolation finals in all events Saturday at the same site.

Of the 14 events South Medford boys and girls competed in on Thursday, the Panthers reached the championship finals in 10 and the consolation finals in two others. The six fastest times in each event move into the finals, with the next six in the consolation finals.

"We were on fire," said South Medford coach Doug Stewart. "Things went better than expected."

The Panther boys 200 freestyle relay came into the meet with the fastest time in the state and they bettered that mark with a school record time of 1 minute, 27.89 seconds. The team consisted of Clark Snyder, Lucas Goossens, Ryken Robbins and Aaron Ghiglieri. Newberg was second at 1:29.21.

The South Medford boys 400 freestyle relay, with Matt Gardner replacing Goossens, qualified for the finals with the third-fastest time (3:18.85).

Freshman Ghiglieri moved on to the finals in two events — the 50 and 100 freestyle. Ghiglieri, who was seeded second in the 50, placed fourth in the preliminaries at 21.72. He tied for fourth (47.38) in the 100.

Snyder will swim Saturday in two consolation finals — the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly The junior broke his own school record by qualifying seventh in the 200 (1:48.92) and ninth in the 100 fly (54.08).

Senior Kelsey Hoeper and freshman Sarah Reierson both qualified for the finals in two individual events and one relay.

Hoeper broke a pair of long-standing South Medford records in qualifying second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free.

Her 50 free time of 24.49 broke the record of 24.93 set by Laurel Naversen in 1989. Hoeper broke Naversen's 100 free record of 53.85 with a 53.20.

Hoeper reached the consolation finals at state in both events last year.

"Her performance brought tears to my eyes," said Stewart. "She wanted to perform so well at this level and finally she has."

Reierson broke her own school record by qualifying third in the 200 individual medley (2:13.56). She finished fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.00).

South senior Melissa Ghiglieri advanced to the finals by qualifying sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.44).

The girls 400 freestyle relay, seeded ninth entering the meet, captured the fourth-fastest spot with a season-best time of 4:41.51 in the prelims. The team is composed of Melissa Ghiglieri, Paige Granger, Reierson and Hoeper.

CLASS 4A/3A/2A/1A — At Gresham, Phoenix senior Kayla Heath advanced into the finals in two individual events and one relay.

Heath was third-fastest in the 50 freestyle (25.62) and second in the 100 backstroke (1:04.90). Heath came into the meet with the top time in the 50 free and third-best in the backstroke.

In the 400 yard freestyle relay, the Pirate girls entered the meet seeded fifth and they finished fifth in the preliminaries with a time of 4:10.96. The Pirate team is Heath, Nicole Knutson, Tessa Lockett and Dana Fong.

The Phoenix boys 200 freestyle relay team — Ben Ward, Graham Thirkill, Gresham Prehn and Jonathan Hernandez — finished 11th (1:41.18).

Hidden Valley senior Chase Kearney and junior Matt Pepitone made it into the finals.

Kearney was fourth-best in the 50 freestyle (23.46), while Pepitone was fifth-fastest in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.20).