Tuesday, February 18, 2003/lk
BEND — All Jane Nichols wanted from her swimmers at last weekend’s district meet was their best effort.
All the HRV swimmers wanted was a chance to make a statement in the Intermountain Conference.
And, while it was not an easy road, both Nichols and the Eagles got what they desired. HRV made a huge splash in its new conference, setting a slew of personal records and sending four representatives to state in the process.
“I was very pleased with both the teams’ performances,” Nichols said. “There were a lot of super times, and we never gave up.”
The Eagle boys led at two different stages during the meet, and took the competition down to the final relay against eventual champion, Bend, before finishing second in the standings. Meanwhile, the girls team finished sixth.
HRV also earned two district titles in Bend — senior Erik Hidle in the 100 free and junior Henry Burton in the 100 fly — and earned the respect of the IMC’s best by battling to the bitter end.
“We did great after such a long road trip,” said Hidle, who will swim in both the 100 free and the 200 medley relay this weekend at state. “It was a pretty solid showing for our first year in the league, and we proved that we’re not just some little school that can’t compete with the best,” he said.
Burton and Hidle will be joined on the relay team by seniors Sean Jennings and Cody MacMillan. MacMillan just missed qualifying for state in the 100 breast with a third-place finish, and added a sixth place finish in the 200 free.
Jennings finished right behind MacMillan in the 100 breast, taking fourth, and also posted a seventh-place finish in the 100 fly. Burton added a second place in the 200 IM, while Hidle finished fourth in the 50 free.
Senior Daniel Chance also proved his worth for the Eagles, reaching the finals in both the 100 back (fourth) and 100 fly (sixth).
Younger swimmers like sophomores Adam Brown, Louis DeSitter, Jess Jennings, Chris Jennings and Jeremy Fogle added some much-need firepower for the boys team, which totaled 16 top-10 finishes.
“The meet was really exciting for the boys,” said Nichols. “Everyone swam exceptionally well and it was nice to see how much they’ve progressed since the start of the year.”
The same can be said about the girls team, which finished sixth out of seven teams. Senior Joyce Yang, sophomore Kelsey Hale and freshman Ariel MacMillan led the way, with each reaching the finals in at least one event.
MacMillan finished fourth in the 100 breast and fifth in the 200 IM, while Hale took fifth in the 100 fly, and Yang took sixth in the 100 free and eighth in the 50 free.
Additional girls team members who made their mark at district were freshman Kendra Mohar (10th in 500 free), junior Elsie Denton (11th in 200 free; 12th in 500 free), and freshman Nicole Shames (7th in 200 free; 11th in 100 free).
“The younger swimmers really learned a lot, and got an idea of what it’s like to compete at such a high level,” Nichols said. “It can be difficult to concentrate with all the distractions, and I thought they responded well.”
Yang is the lone graduating senior for the girls team, but although most of the team will be returning, Yang will be missed.
“Joyce was our sparkplug at districts,” Nichols said. “She and Kelsey have been our best cheerleaders all season long.”