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Crusaders boys' swimming nearly upends Apollos

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge boys swimmer Patrick Mulare set two new state records in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke at the 6A state championships on Saturday.

Four years is a lengthy period—too long if you ask Jesuit’s Sean Calkins—to go without some sort of championship.

The Crusaders stoutheartedly stuck it to Sunset at the 6A boys’ swimming championships at Mount Hood Community College on Saturday, staying with the three-time defending champs all the way up to the day’s final race of the afternoon.

Jesuit gave Sunset a fright and nearly dynamited the Apollos’ date with destiny, but ultimately just didn’t have the senior horses to cross the finish line in first place, losing 179-169.

“It would’ve been nice to wreck the reign of Sunset,” said Calkins. “But, they raced well. We raced well. There wasn’t much we could do, but second place is great. I’m pretty happy about it.”

However, once Sunset’s senior starts Jonathan Zoucha and Josh Noll graduate, Calkins believes the Metro League and state title will be up for grabs. And, the sophomore thinks Jesuit’s going to take it based on the fact the Crusaders have time on their side.

“I think they’re going to lose, finally,” said Calkins of Sunset. “I think Jesuit’s going to win it for a couple of years, which will be nice. We have more years to go. The freshmen have three more. I have two. We’ll lose a couple seniors, but I know of some club swimmers who are coming in, so we’ll have more freshmen. I expect a really good year next year.”

Calkins gave it up to Jesuit’s freshmen studs like Anthony Nosack, Jaume Martinez-Calvo and Jorge Casas for performing valiantly during the relay events.

Both the 400 free and 200 medley relay teams placed inside the top-four on Saturday and Nosack was second in the 100 breaststroke.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit freshman Anthony Nosack took second in the 100 breaststroke at the 6A state championships on Saturday. The Crusaders took second as a team.

“Whoever was in finals really stepped up,” said Calkins. “They moved up in places all day yesterday during prelims. We made it hard on Sunset. We just weren’t going to give it to them. They were good races, but the freshmen were big. They really did well today.”

Going into the 200 free, Jesuit’s Jackson Wall was seeded towards the bottom of the A finals, but the senior beat three competitors with better prelim times to grab third place overall (1:44.35). Wahl also took fifth in the 100 backstroke.

“The third 50 in the 200 was kind of tough, but I busted through and got it done,” said Wahl. “I was trying to get the school record. It didn’t happen, but it was still a seasonal best.”

After training for months on end, getting up at 5 a.m. every morning for extra laps in the cold, unforgiving pool and putting aside a sort of manageable social life for the good of the team, the Metro swimmers were able to reap the rewards of being a state competitor. Only so many swimmers get to go since state berths are so rare and qualifying times are tough to reach. The end journey of suiting up under the domed lights of MHCC was fulfilling for many.

Jesuit senior Ben Buchalski took fifth in the 100 free. Calkins was third in the 500 free and fourth in the 100 backstroke.

“This is what everyone trains for,” said Wahl. “Districts is good and fast. Everyone tries hard there. But what it all comes down to is who wins state. It’s good stuff. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a club swimmer. As long as you put in the hours and the hard work, you’re pretty much set. You can do as good as you need to, to take home the gold.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit senior Jackson Wahl scored 12 points for the Crusaders by taking third in the 200 freestyle.

Having set two new state records in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke earlier in the day, blowing away both fields by two body lengths, Southridge’s Patrick Mulcare found himself in the unfamiliar position of trailing going into the final leg of the 200 free relay.

Ask Mulcare, however, and the junior superstar wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Down going into the final 25 yards to McMinnville’s Brad Hessel, the transfer from Ohio sprung off the wall like a rabid toad and stalked Hessel down the backstretch to the photo finish first place win (1:27.68).

When Aaron Loprete touched the pad and Mulcare leapt into the pool, it looked like Southridge had no chance at all for even a top-three finish. But, Mulcare mowed his split and killed his turn off the wall to close the gap with Hessel.

“There’s nothing better than coming from behind for a win,” said Mulcare. “Relays are some of the best parts of swimming just for that. There’s really nothing better than pulling through for your team.”

Matt Braun led off the winning relay squad, passed off to David Stiling and then Loprete for the Skyhawks’ first ever boys’ swimming relay win.

“It takes a special swimmer to do that,” said Stiling of Mulcare. “It’s pretty special to be a part of the first relay to win state for Southridge. That was pretty cool.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior Alex La Rosa qualified for two state final races on Saturday and placed sixth in the 100 fly.

“It was awesome,” added Loprete. “To come from behind to get it, makes it that much more sweet. It was a great way to cap off a great relay.”

Mulcare was indeed exceptional at state, winning the 200 IM by more than six seconds and breaking the state record that was set by Sheldon’s Ben Brink in 1999.

In the 100 back Mulcare was comparably outstanding, racing to a 48.53 win, breaking a state record that stood for 14 years and was set by Sunset’s Trent Staley in 2000.

“Today was definitely a great day,” said Mulcare. “I was a little bit slower than I should’ve been in the 200 IM, but it still a good swim. The 100 back was right on point. Both relay splits were both fast and where I wanted to be for a non-taper meet. It was more of a swim fast, have fun kind of vibe.”

Braun set two personal records in the 50 (21.77 second place) and 100 free (47.21) for the Skyhawks

“Both fields were really fast,” said Braun. “That gave me a little more energy to make sure I outouched them at the wall. I just had to swim my own race.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview freshman Myron Shen pulled away from the field to take home his first 6A state championship in the 500 free on Saturday.

Westview freshman star Myron Shen has set the bar so high for himself, that his first state championship in the 500 was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a sigh. Shen said he was hoping for a best time, but said he was four seconds off at 4:41.

“To be honest, I expected better,” said Shen. “Overall, I guess it was fine. At the beginning, I thought it was pretty smooth. But at the end, I tried sprinting and just didn’t have the energy.”

Shen said he stayed with the pack for a while to see who wanted to take the early lead and which competitors were the biggest threats. Then, once Calkins and Lakeridge’s Liam O’Shea started to close on him, Shen skimmed away and put about half a body-length of space between himself and the rest of the field.

“I didn’t want them to be too motivated at the end and say ‘I got Myron’,” said Shen. “I’d be really happy to get a couple more state titles. That’d be great, and get my junior national time.”

Westview junior Alex La Rosa made the ‘A’ finals in the 100 backstroke (sixth place) and 100 butterfly (52.09) for the Wildcats.



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