Swimmers top defending state champion Cottage Grove

The Sweet Home boys upset the defending state champions Saturday at the Echo Hollow Invitational in Eugene, a meet that included several of the state’s top teams.

The boys won three events and placed second in four others to score 81 points, enough to edge Cottage Grove, last year’s 4A champion, which finished with 78 points. Marist was third with 42 points, followed by Blanchet (37), Central (36) and Junction City (31).

“This is one of the toughest invitationals in our (4A) classification,” Coach Doug Peargin said. “In the girls meet we had Cottage Grove and Marist, which were both in the top four in the state (last year).

The girls finished in a tie for fourth with Junction City. Cottage Grove took the team title with 97 points, followed by Blanchet (62), Marist (57), Sweet Home and Junction City (38) and Central (14).

Six Huskies finished with personal best times in their events, despite the fact that the Echo Hollow pool has historically been slower for Sweet Home than others the Huskies swim in, Peargin said.

“We had a real good meet,” he said. “We swam better than we’ve ever swum in that pool.”

Jayce Calhoon and Brinden Sanders were the two individual winners for the Huskies, along with the boys 200 medley relay team of Calhoon, Michael Simmonds, Sanders and Kieran Schaefer (1:48.4).

Calhoon, a sophomore, swam the seventh-fastest time in school history in the 200 intermediate medley, finishing second in 2:07.9. He won the 100 backstroke in 57.2.

Sanders won the 50 freestyle in 24:4.

Simmonds set two personal bests, in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.0) and the 500 freestyle (5:24.4), while Shawn Adams also posted two PRs, in the 50 (27.1) and 100 freestyle (1:00.6).

Sami Webb set a personal best in the 500 freestyle, finishing fourth in 6:28.7. Tee Whaley swam 1:36.87 for sixth in the 100 breaststroke for a personal record while Katie Kinney also PR’d in the 100 freestyle, finishing in 1:17.3..

Peargin noted that the first-place times in all 22 events at the meet would have qualified for the finals in the state meet last year.

With the season a little more than half over, the Huskies have four more meets before Districts at South Albany on Feb. 8-9. Sweet Home is scheduled to host Central and Marist on Friday, Jan. 11.

“I think we’re just about where we need to be at this point in the season,” Peargin said. “We’re starting to focus towards Districts and State.”

Stayton Invitational

The Huskies broke up their winter break with a trip to the Stayton Invitational on Dec. 27, as the boys dominated host Stayton (26 points) and Cascade (24) with 103 points as they had a first-place finisher in all but one event.

The girls had a tougher time of it as Cascade took first with 72 points, followed by Stayton (56) and Sweet Home (39).

“We always look foreward to the Stayton Invitational,” said Coach Doug Peargin. “It not only helps break up Christmas practices but gives us an opportunity to swim our only meet of the year in a meters pool.”

All high school district and state competitions are held in yard pools, “so swimming in a meter pool helps give our team a little over-distance practice – then, when we go back to our yard pools it makes it a little easier for us.”

Individual first-place winners for the boys were Jayce Calhoon in the 200-meter freestyle (2:09.8) and the 100-meter freestyle (1:00.6); Brinden Sanders in the 200-meter intermediate medley (2:39.5) and the 100-meter butterfly (1:15.5); Kieran Schaefer in the 50-meter freestyle (27.4) and the 400-meter freestyle (4:48.7) and Michael Simmonds in the 100-meter backstroke (1:17.3). The 200-meter medley relay team of Schaefer, Calhoon, Simmonds and Saunders took first in 2:15.1; the 200-meter freestyle relay team of Sanders, Sebas Mauer, Jon Lemar and Calhoon won in 1:55.8; and the 400-meter relay team of Schaefer, Lemar, Mauer and Simmonds were first in 4:34.0.

Justine Calhoon was the Husky girls’ only first-place winner, taking the 400-meter freestyle in 5:27.3.

Sarah Rosa was second in the 200-meter intermediate medley (2:54.3) and the 100-meter butterfly (1:18.9), while Laura Gourley was second in the 100-meter backstroke (1:24.5). The girls 400-meter relay team of Sarah Rosa, Justine Calhoon, Sami Webb and Faith Helfrich also finished second, in 4:56.3.