Girls pull off come-from behind district swim title; boys third

Scott Swanson


The New Era


into the final event, the 400 Freestyle Relay, at the district

swimming championships Saturday afternoon, Feb. 15, Sweet Home’s

girls knew they were trailing Salem Academy by a point.


Huskies’ “A” team of sophomores Makayla Nelson and Esther

Gunselman, with freshmen Jessica Coats and Lucie Davis, had swum the

race once before – in the preliminaries on Friday, and at a very

pedestrian pace of 4:08.76, well behind Salem Academy’s 3:57.20.

The Crusaders, last year’s champions, were the only team to beat

Sweet Home this season in dual meet competition.


were confident, but they didn’t include Coach Doug Peargin and the

team’s newest star, Davis, whose parents both are former NCAA

Division I college swimmers.


was the only one who doubted,” Davis said. “I worried that one of

us would choke or something. I just prayed and I knew that God is



story short, Sweet Home’s first three swimmers hung tight with

Salem Academy through the first three legs of the relay, when Davis

took over, powering past Salem Academy’s anchor swimmer to win by

2½ seconds in 3:49.74.


was what it took for the Huskies to take home their district title,

by five points over the Crusaders.


that was probably our closest win,” said Coach Doug Peargin,

thinking back over his 39 years at the helm. “I think we surprised

them. I don’t think they thought we had it in the tank.”


noted that Friday was the first time she and the other three had swum

the 400 relay together, though they had set a school record earlier

in the season in the 200 Freestyle Relay.


took it easy,” she said of the preliminary time. “We knew the

team score. We knew it was up to that last relay.”


said he wasn’t absolutely confident, but he hoped his team could

pull it off.


knew we were tough, but I knew they were tough. They have five good

girls and they thomped us in that first (medley) relay.”


Home’s boys finished third, with 160 points behind Philomath’s

223 and Salem Academy’s 201. But that was an “incredible”

accomplishment for the Huskies, Peargin said.


only nine boys on the team going to the meet, I sort of thought

because of lack of depth that we’d end up about fifth or sixth

place,” he said. “But when all nine of your boys place in at

least two events each, it’s hard to keep them out of the trophy



one boy in any event had placed one slot lower, we would have been



third-place trophy, just like the girls, came down to the last event,

the 400 Freestyle Relay, in which Sweet Home out-touched Blanchet

Catholic at the wall.


had to beat Blanchet and we did,” Peargin said. “When you’re

fighting for a trophy at the big meets, it often comes down to who

has the heart to take it to the next level, and we did. I knew we we

were in great physical shape. I knew we have some good athletes.”


Brandon Vasfaret and Nathan Hager teamed with juniors Jaeger Howatt

and Ryan Yon in that relay.


were just trying to make it through to state,” Howatt said.


led Sweet Home’s individual district titlists – all freshmen –

on both the boys and girls sides, with championships in two events,

the 200 and 500 freestyles, with Nelson right behind as runner-up in

both races. Coats won the 100 Butterfly and, on the boys side, Hager

was first in the 200 Freestyle and Vasfaret took the 500 Freestyle.


said she “didn’t even see the other girls until the end” of her

butterfly race.


was some tough competition, but I did my part. It was good.”


girls finished with 10 state qualifiers: in the 200 Medley Relay, in

which they finished second, the 400 Freestyle Relay, Davis and Nelson

in the 200 and 500 Freestyle, Coats in the 100 Butterfly and the 200

Individual Medley, and Gunselman also in the 100 Butterfly and in the

100 Backstroke. Sara Helfrich and Elea Hewitt will be alternates on

the relay teams.


boys had six qualifiers: the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relay teams,

Vasfaret in the 500 and 200 Freestyle, junior Jaegar Howatt in the 50

Freestyle and Hager in the 100 Freestyle.


said he managed to qualify in the 200, with a second-place finish,

despite swallowing “a whole bunch of water” in the race.


the second I did better. I did good,” he said.


said his goal this year was to win a district championship and now

he’s shooting for a state title – at least by the time he’s a



said the Huskies knew they had a chance on the girls side going into

the meet.


worried me the most about Salem Academy wasn’t the amount of talent

on the team, but with 37 swimmers, I knew they had the depth to

undercut us on points. With a 12-place scoring system, depth is real

important in this meet.”


Home had 17 swimmers in the meet and 13 placed, he said, and like the

boys, every one counted in the team title.


took all 13 places for us to end up winning district. If only one

girl in any event had placed one place lower than she did, we would

have wound up in second place.


proud of them. Not only did they swim like champions, but they also

conducted themselves like champions.”


4A/3A/2A/1A state championships begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21,

with preliminaries at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Finals

are at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. The top six finishers from

preliminaries advance to finals. Ticket booths at the college open

45 minutes prior to the event. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for

students for both prelims and the finals.


goes into the state meet as the favorite in the 500 Free and seeded

second in the 200.


not too worried about it, but I don’t want to not be worried,”

she said. “I have a lot of personal goals that I want to meet.”


is seeded third in the 100 Butterfly, which “I did not expect as a

freshman.” She faces some stiff competition in top-seeded Breanna

Sapienza of Cascade Christian, a three-time winner in the event, who

swam her district race (55.03) eight seconds faster than Coats’

1:03.04 on Saturday.


Coats is less than a second behind Olivia Dow of St. Mary’s, and

her seed time is comfortably ahead of the rest of the field.


said he expects stiff competition for the girls from St. Mary’s,

North Bend, La Grande and Henley.


about five teams that, if they swim well, will be right in the thick

of it, I’ll tell you,” he said. “Some of those teams, none of

them graduated anybody last year and they all just qualified in, like

we did.”


advantage for the Huskies, he said, is that they will swim the second

heat in the preliminaries in both relays Friday night.


kids can see what we have to do to come back (on Saturday night in

the finals),” he said.


the boys side, the major emphasis will be swimming on Saturday, team

members said.


said their sixth-place seeding was “kind of a shock to us. It was

pretty good. We did not really expect it.”


said he believes the Huskies “have a good shot” in that relay at

making the finals.


want to swim Saturday,” Howatt said.


District 3




Medalists and


Home Scorers


State Meet Qualifier


Scores – (1) Sweet Home 217; (2) Salem Academy 212; (3)

Philomath 191.5; (4) Ridgeview 145; (5) Stayton 121; (6) Blanchet

Catholic 110.5; (7) Central 66; (8) Sisters 58; (9-tie) Cascade and

Junction City 29.


Medley Relay – (1) *Salem Academy 1:55.14; (2) *Sweet Home

(Makayla Nelson, Jessica Coats, Esther Gunselman, Lucie Davis)

1:57.54; (3) *Ridgeview 2:00.99; (4) *Philomath 2:01.96; (5) Blanchet

2:13.94; (6) Stayton – No Points/False Start.


Freestyle – (1) *Lucie Davis (SH) 1:59.37; (2) *Makayla Nelson

2:03.37; (3) *Megan Waguespack (BC) 2:15.31; (4) Madi North (BC)

2:28.36; (5) Alia Campbell (BC) 2:30.55; (6) Anna George (P) 2:36.70;

(10) Megan Oberg (SH) 2:39.06.


Individual Medley – (1) *Rachel Haney (R) 2:15.73; (2) *Kiera

Supple (SA) 2:18.84; (3) *Jessica Coats (SH) 2:21.20; (4) Grace Ward

(SA) 2:26.07; (5) Elea Hewitt (SH) 2:31.36; (6) Laurel Luke (P)

2:38.91; (8) Sara Helfrich (SH) 2:42.86; (11) Natasha Benson (SH)



Freestyle – (1) *Kendra Sheeder (P) 25.79; (2) *Emily Christen

(Sis) 26.17; (3) *Mary Stewart (Sis) 26.21; (4)*Callie Hinson (SA)

26.83; (5) Alyea Hill (Stay) 26.83l; (6) Kyla Daniels (SA) 27.19; No

Sweet Home Finalists.


Butterfly – (1) *Jessica Coats (SH) 1:03.04; (2) *Haley

Houghton (R) 1:03.85; (3) *Emma Boles (SA) 1:04.01; (4) *Mary Stewart

(Sis) 1:04.11; (5) *Laurel Luke (P) 1:07.57; (6) *Esther Gunselman

(SH) 1:08.34; (7) Elea Hewitt (SH) 1:09.23.


Freestyle – (1) *Julie Wallace (Stay) 56.59; (2) *Aleya Hill

(Stay) 57.77; (3) *Kendra Sheeder (P) 58.27; (4) Joelle Debban (SA)

59.15; (5) Callie Hinson (SA) 1:00.69; (6) Anna George (P) 1:04.03;

(12) Megan Oberg (SH) 1:13.88.


Freestyle – (1) * Lucie Davis (SH) 5:16.84; (2) *Makayla Nelson

(SH) 5:30.86; (3) *Haley Houghton 5:42.20; (4) *Caitlyn Linton (Stay)

5:42.86; (5) Megan Waguespack (BC) 5:52.69; (6) Lauren Hindman (P)

6:05.84; (8) Sara Helfrich (SH) 6:26.29; (12) Livvie Hindmarsh (SH)



Freestyle Relay – (1) *Philomath 1:49.66; (2) *Ridgeview

1:49.78; (3) *Salem Academy 1:50.59; (4) Stayton 1:53.00; (5) Sweet

Home (Maddee Hawken, Sara Helfrich, Natasha Benson, Elea Hewitt)

2:03.54; (6) Sisters No Points/Disqualified; (9) Sweet Home (Megan

Oberg, Britney Romero, Kira Doding, Livvie Hindmarsh) 2:12.71.


Backstroke – (1) *Rachel Haney (R) 58.57; (2) *Kiera Supple

(SA) 1:00.05; (3) *Emma Boles (SA) 1:04.57; (4) *Emily Christen (Sis)

1:06.38; (5) *Esther Gunselman (SH) 1:06.57; (6) *Caitlyn Linton

(Stay) 1:06.80.


Breaststroke – (1) *Grace Warde (SA) 1:12.50; (2) *Lauren

Hindman (P) 1:15.21; (3) Casee Lantz (R) 1:16.89;l (4) Taniaya Wagner

(Stay) 1:21.54; (5) Katie Pratt (BC) 1:23.45; (6) Kyrie Prescott (R)

1:23.80; (No Sweet Home Finalists).


Freestyle Relay – (1) *Sweet Home (Makayla Nelson, Esther

Gunselman, Jessica Coats, Lucie Davis) 3:49.74; (2) *Salem Academy

3:52.15; (3) *Stayton 4:05.99; (4) *Blanchet Catholic 4:21.36; (5)

*Philomath 4:23.82; (6) Central 4:36.61; (7) Sweet Home “B”

(Maddee Hawken, Sara Helfrich, Livvie Hindmarsh, Elea Hewitt)



Medalists and


Home Scorers


Scores – (1) Philomath 223; (2) Salem Academy 201; (3) Sweet

Home 160; (4) Blanchet Catholic 156; (5) Sisters 140; (6) Cascade 88;

(7) Central 81; (8) Junction City 59l (9) Ridgeview 66; (10) Stayton



Medley Relay – (1) *Salem Academy 1:49.32; (2) *Philomath

1:49.41; (3) *Sisters 1:49.65; (4) *Blanchet Catholic 1:50.81; (5)

*Cascade 1:54.40; (6) Salem Academy “B” No Score/Disqualified; No

Sweet Home team in finals.


Freestyle – (1) *Nathan Hager (SH) 1:54.88; (2) *Owen Hucke (R)

1:58.25; (3) Ryan Sherman (JC) 2:03.31; (4) Ryan Yon (SH) 2:11.65;

(5) Bradley Derosiers (BC) 2:!2.06; (6) Zach Johnson (BC) 2:21.29.


Individual Medley – (1) *Jeremy Darst (BC) 2:10.19; (2)

*Vincent Kelly (BC) 2:15.32; (3) *Chris Strahan (Stay) 2:15.68; (4)

*Brandon Vasfaret (SH) 2:18.07; (5) Clay Youker (P) 2:18.24; (6) Ben

Michaud (P) 2:32.91; (11) Sean Wolthuis (SH) 2:41.24.


Freestyle – (1) *Micah Lautwyler (SA) 22.89; (2) *Trevor Barry

(Sis) 24.12; (3) *Jaegar Howatt (SH) 24.28; (4) Shane Clark (SA)

24.67; (5) Joshua Navarro (Cas) 24.71; (6) Jordan Emerich (SA) 24.28.


Butterfly – (1) *Vincent Kelly (BC) 58.81; (2) *Clay Youker (P)

59.60; (3) *Shane Clark (SA) 1:00.37; (4) Chris Strahan 1:01.99; (5)

Bailey Jones (P) 1:04.63; (6) Ted Warnock (P) 1:05.36; (8) Sean

Wolthuis (SH) 1:12.23.


Freestyle – (1) *Patrick Williamson (P) 51.63; (2) *Nathan

Hager (SH) 52.33; (3) *Owen Hucke (R) 53.61; (4) *Nathan Glade (Cen)

53.78; (5) Jonah Leutwyler (SA) 54.39; (6) Jaegar Howatt (SH) 54.73.


Freestyle – (1) *-Brandon Vasfaret (SH) 5:25.11; (2) *Ryan

Sherman (JC) 5:50.83; (3) Ryan Yon (SH) 5:53.90; (4) Scott Veldman

(P) 6:05.74; (5) Bjorn Syverson (Cas) 6:06.36; (6) Joel Markham (SA)

6:20.60; (10) Grant Jones (SH) 6:28.10.


Freestyle Relay – (1) *Sisters 1:37.00; (2) *Philomath 1:37.19;

(3) *Sweet Home (Nathan Hager, Brandon Vasfaret, Ryan Yon, Jaeger

Howatt) 1:39.71; (4) Cascade 1:42.88; (5) Junction City 1:42.95; (6)

Ridgeview 1:43.14; (10) Sweet Home “B” (Tanner Goble, Tadyn

Bentley, Adam Barber, Sean Wolthuis) 1:50.18.


Backstroke – (1) *Jeremy Darst (BC) 57.11; (2) *Brennan Miller

(Sis) 58.72; (3) *Micah Leutwyler (SA) 1:00.75; (4) Aaron Grumbo (SA)

1:07.10; (5) Nondo Neusteuer (P) 1:08.85; (6) Reid Priewe (P)

1:11.38; No Sweet Home Finalists.


Breaststroke – (1) *Patrick Williamson (P) 1:04.84; (2) *Nathan

Glade (Cen) 1:06.29; (3) *Brett Kelly (R) 1:07.04; (4) *Jonah

Leutwyler (SA) 1:07.97; (5) Ian Baldessari (Sis) 1:09.54; (6) Ryan

Rosas (Cent) 1:11.27; No Sweet Home Finalists.


Freestyle Relay – (1) * Salem Academy 3:32.67; (2) * Sweet Home

(Nathan Hager, Brandon Vasfaret, Ryan Yon, Jaegar Howatt) 3:37.55;

(3) Blanchet Catholic 3:38.11; (4) Sisters 3:50.01; (5) Philomath

3:52.95; (6) Central 4:00.91; (10) Sweet Home “B” (Tanner Goble,

Adam Barber, Grant Jones, Tadyn Bentley) 4:25.14.