GRESHAM – The Crusaders finally got the trophy they had been chasing.
Salem Academy High School’s girls swimming team placed third in the OSAA Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state swimming meet Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College to earn the first state tournament trophy in the program’s history.
The Crusaders had entrants into the finals in six of 11 events Saturday and had best finishes of second by senior Keira Supple in the 100 backstroke and in the 200 medley relay to earn 31 points to place third behind Sweet Home and North Bend.
“It’s a dream come true, really,” said Salem Academy coach Maria Robertson, who has coached the program for all five years of its existence. “It’s everything they’ve wanted since they were freshmen, and they’ve just worked so hard and so hard and they’ve never let not getting a trophy get them down.
“For all of that hard work and all of that sacrifice and all of that time and energy and money, this is like perfect. It’s exactly what they worked so hard for, so they are happy, I’m happy, I’m proud of them. They’ve earned it.”
The Crusaders, who placed seventh, sixth and fifth at the state meet the past three years, had a number of swimmers and relay teams place better than their seeds.
Salem Academy’s senior-heavy, and experienced, relay teams did a lot of damage in the team race.
The all-senior grouping of Supple, Grace Warde, Emma Boles and Callie Hinson placed second in the 200 medley relay in 1:55.27, the team of Trinity Pierce, Molly Galagher, Warde and Hinson finished fourth in 200 free relay in 1:46.00 and the 400 free relay team of Supple, Gallagher, Hinson and Boles placed fourth in 3:51.80.
The team’s placing in the 200 free relay was the best the program did.
“Just the fact that we were able to get three relays into finals without having all of us on it, and for them to place that high, was for sure a big deal,” Boles said. “At least for me, I placed higher than I have all four years of high school. And I think that was really helpful, and both me and Keira finaling in both of our individual events as well as our relays, I think has made a difference.”
Supple wasn’t distraught that she didn’t win a second straight state championship in the 100 backstroke.
Instead she gave up a lead after 50 meters to La Grande senior Hannah Roberts and placed second in 1:00.01 to Roberts’ 59.64.
“It’s always a little bit disappointing, but I am so still happy that I got second,” said Supple, who also placed third in the 200 IM in 2:17.07. “That is still a huge accomplishment to me, and I am just really glad that I still was able to do it. There’s always disappointment, but I’m still proud of myself.”
Boles placed fourth in the 100 butterfly in 1:02.55 and fourth in the 100 back in 1:01.14.
Salem Academy’s boys, who won their district meet for the first time a week ago, placed a program-best sixth in the boys meet with 22 points.
Salem Academy freshman Ian Shultz came up with a surprising second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.39.
North Bend freshman Jerrad Perez-Duncan won the event in 1:01.42.
“I feel really good for making second place as a freshman, and I’m looking forward to first place in years to come,” said Shultz, who also placed sixth in the 100 free in 50.28
Salem Academy’s Taden Swing placed fifth in the 50 free in 22.93.
The Crusaders’ 200 medley relay team of Swing, Shultz, Elijah Leutwyler and Wilson McLean placed third in the 200 medley relay in 1:44.22 and the 400 free relay team of McLean, Caleb Warde, Swing and Shultz placed fourth in 3:24.83.
Noah Norris was a newcomer to North Marion’s swimming team and the 4A state meet, but he was accustomed to winning state championships.
The senior won state championships Saturday in the 50 free in 21.05 and 100 free in a meet record and all-American consideration time of 45.24 to lead North Marion to a fifth-place finish with 32 points.
He was noticeably upset that he didn’t set the state meet record in the 50 free, but the opposition of Catlin Gabel senior Tristan Furnary in the 100 free – who placed second in 47.74 – helped to push Norris to the fast time in that race.
“It was kind of just wanting to go 2-for-2, just like I did last year,” Norris said. “The (50 free) against Tristan, we’ve been racing since we were little kids and it’s always been a little rivalry. We’re friends and all, but when it comes to a competition we’re ready to get it. We both pushed each other and made each other swim our best.”
Norris won 5A state championships in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly while competing for Wilsonville last year.
Norris’ younger brother, Wesley, placed second in the 100 butterfly in 52.91 and sixth in the 100 backstroke in 57.30.
The Huskies’ 200 free relay team of Cole Durst, Wesley Norris, Conner Lader and Noah Norris placed third in 1:32.91.
“I really do like swimming on relays with Wesley because I’m kind of just able to see what he’s doing and help him out with his stuff,” Noah Norris said. “He’s improved a lot over the last year, two years, swimming with me and I think he’s going to continue getting faster.”
Blanchet sophomore Kisa Fukada placed sixth in the 100 free in 57.98 and sixth in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.72.
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