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Shepherd brings home second in state 50 freestyle

GRESHAM — Betting on bulk paid off for Phoenix sophomore Ethan Shepherd.

The Pirates’ standout swimmer highlighted Saturday’s Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state swimming championships at Mt. Hood Community College for Rogue Valley athletes, earning runner-up honors in the boys 50-yard freestyle before taking fifth in the 100 free.

“I’m excited about my finishes, but I’m more excited about next year,” said Shepherd, who added 15 pounds to his frame this past offseason. “Last year my dad put me on a weights program. Technique, it only goes so far before it starts to stagnate. I felt real good this year at 155 pounds.”

La Grande junior Bryce Ebel won the 50 free in 22.45 seconds, barely edging out Shepherd, who turned in a mark of 22.63 seconds. In Friday’s preliminary round, Shepherd set a personal best with a time of 22.43 seconds.

Catlin Gabel’s Trista Furnary won the 100 free in 45.84 seconds, easily besting runner-up Pat Williamson of Philomath, who finished in 49.38 seconds. Shepherd was 5 seconds back of Furnary in 50.87.

Cascade Christian sophomore Christian Scaglione, who was making his state debut, also turned in a top-three boys finish. Scaglione, who just missed making the 50 free finals, was third in the 100 breaststroke Saturday in 1 minute, 2.2 seconds. Philomath’s Pat Williamson won in 1:03.02.

“I was pretty upset about not making the 50 free finals,” said Scaglione, whose Friday preliminary time of 23.99 seconds was five-hundredths of a second off of the sixth and final qualifier for the 50 free finals. “That was good motivation for this race.”

St. Mary’s sophomore Olivia Dow shined for area girls, placing fourth in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

“It’s all about taking that step up,” said Dow, who last year took fifth in the 100 breast and seventh in the 100 butterfly.

She also helped St. Mary’s set a small-school girls state record in the 200-yard medley relay in 2014.

“Last year I was really, really nervous and just excited to be here,” she said. “This year, I was really trying to do my best and take a step up on the podium.”

Sweet Home freshman Lauren Yon won the girls 200 IM going away, posting a time of 2:09.25. Dow was almost 8 seconds back in 2:17.21. Cassie Dallas, a junior from North Bend, was the winner in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.98. Dow’s fourth-place effort came in 1:08.81.

Dow’s teammate, Grace Jovanovic, also posted a pair of podium finishes. The Crusader senior took fourth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 100 fly.

North Bend won the 4A/3A/2A/1A girls championship by the narrowest of margins, topping runner-up Sweet Home 75-74.5. La Grande (32 points) and Klamath Falls’ Henley High (29) rounded out the top four. St. Mary’s placed eighth with 11 points.

Catlin Gabel, a private school from southwest Portland, cruised to victory at the small-school boys meet, besting second-place La Grande 63-46. Sweet Home was third with 42 points and Philomath took fourth with 26 points. Phoenix ended the meet in 12th place with seven points.

At the Class 6A state meet, which was held earlier in the day at Mt. Hood Community College, North Medford senior Lauren Hunter capped her prep career with a couple races in the B finals.

She was eighth in the 50 freestyle in 25.15 and 12th in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.13.