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Newberg boys off to an impressive start


The Tigers down McMinnville for the first time since 2007 before winning the CVC Invitational

SALEM — As a team with state podium aspirations, the Newberg boys swim team got off to a strong start last week, beating McMinnville for the first time since 2007 before turning around to win the CVC Invitational.

The Tigers prevailed 101-69 on Dec. 12, taking advantage of the fact the Grizzlies were without its top two swimmers, who were competing at the junior national championships, but head coach George Sampson was pleased with the performance regardless.

“If we keep maturing the way we’re going, we’re going to have a really good district meet against McMinnville,” Sampson said. “That’s our plan.”by: SETH GORDON - Getting a lungfull - Bjorn Larsen twists as he nears the wall during the 100 backstroke even Thursday at the Chehalem Aquatic Center. Larsen won the event as the Tiger boys beat McMinnville for the first time since 2007.

Newberg won nine of the 11 races, including all three relays and two individual events apiece by Bjorn Larsen and David Flores Juarez.

A senior, Larsen was first in the 100 butterfly (56.16) and the 100 backstroke (1:00.6), while Flores Juarez, a junior, was first to touch in the 500 and 200 freestyle events in 5:02.70 and 1:54.17, respectively.

Also winning individual events for the Tigers were Corbin Day in the 200 individual medley (2:08.21) and Craig Beecher in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.81).

Beecher and Day each swam a pair of relays, joining Seth Miller and Spencer McMaster to win the 200 free relay, the most exciting race of the day. After McMaster cut the gap in the third leg, Day passed McMinnville on the anchor to pull out a win in 1:32.16.

“We saw our opportunity to get the win,” Day said. “He was ahead of me at the flip turn, but I told myself I was going to catch him right there.”

Day was also on the winning 400 medley relay (1:44.46) with McMaster, Flores Juarez and Larsen, with Flores Juarez, Beecher, Larsen and McMaster taking the 400 free relay in 3:24.67.

Young after graduating one of the strongest senior classes in program history, the Newberg girls were unable to overcome the Grizzlies’ far superior depth and fell 131-44.

Elizabeth Andrews captured the Tigers’ lone win of the meet, taking first in the 50 free in a personal-best time of 26.28.

Newberg rebounded well to take second place at the CVC Invitational and combined with the boys win, the Tigers placed second overall.

Andrews reset her personal best to place second in the 50 (26.19), was also second in the 100 free (59.04) and swam the anchor leg on the third-place 200 free relay (1:51.32).

Also swimming well were Casey Jentges, who was fifth in the 100 breast (1:20.55) and set a new PR in the 100 fly (1:13.55), and Madison Kent-Harrington, who placed fourth in the 200 free (2:17.20) and eighth in the 500 (PR — 6:11.01).

“The water polo kids swam with the swim club in the fall and they were very aggressive in the weight room,” Sampson said. “So the kids that played water polo are very strong and very fit and they’re swimming very fast. We are putting in a lot of early season yards. I believe they are going to improve continuously throughout the year.”

The boys won seven events in Salem, once again sweeping the relay events, finishing the 200 medley in 1:44.94, the 200 free relay in 1:32.39 and the 400 free in 3:25.36.

Individually, Flores Juares (1:51.48) and Miller (1:55.76) went 1-2 in the 200 free and freshman Gavin Gleaves took fourth in the 200 IM (2:14.84) before getting sick. The Tigers would have been even more dominant in the 500 free had Gleaves been able to compete, but still earned 49 points, as Florez Juarez won, Miller was third and Mitchell Lynott was sixth.

“(Flores Juarez) and Taj Mercer from Summit went stroke for stroke for 400 yards and then David pulled away in the last 100 to win. It was a great 500 and it’s not usual for a 500 to be start to finish. The kids were up yelling and screaming. Other than the relays, that was the best race of the night to watch.”

Larsen helped round out the effort by winning the 100 fly (57.30) and placing second in the 100 back (59.13), Day won the 100 free (50.93) was third in the 50 free (23.23) and Beecher was runner up in the 100 breast (1:02.25).