David Douglas pulls ahead in the days final race to edge Gresham for the boys district crown

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - David Douglas Sam Redwine-Hixson comes up for a breath during the 500-yard freestyle final Saturday. Watching the scoreboard during the Mount Hood Conference boys district swim meet was like seeing the wheels turn on a slot machine. The lead would change hands five times before the day was done, coming up cherries for regular-season champion David Douglas.

Scots coach Jim Bowe knew his team had ground to make up after Friday’s qualifying races, so he leaned hard on his seniors to carry the load in the finals. He packed Lucky Le, Ray Miller, Sam Redwine-Hixson and Jonathan Merkley together on the 200-yard freestyle relay and gave them a focused task — win the race.

The quartet would do that and more, coming to the wall with a district-record time of 1:29.62, an effort that would vault the Scots to the top of the leader board with four races remaining.

“Those guys have been in the pool since they were 10 years old, so it was really good to see them do this together as a group,” Bowe said.

Gresham rallied late to take a one-point lead into the final relay, but Bowe anticipated such an ending and leaned on his seniors once more. Redwine-Hixson, Miller and Merkley put Gresham in its wake over the first three legs and rookie Raymond Pham brought home a second-place finish and the points needed to claim the district crown.

Barlow senior Nick Thorne put together a record-shattering effort in the 200 medley (1:51.60). He was racing the clock coming off the start blocks and had lapped all but one swimmer when he made his final turn for home. His finishing time beat the district mark by 1.57 seconds.

Look for expanded meet coverage in our Tuesday, Feb. 18, print edition and a full list of placers in the Friday, Feb. 21, edition.

View a photo gallery from Saturday’s final session at

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