Two individuals, one relay go to state

Disappointment on Saturday shifted to a feeling of elation on Sunday for a select group of Oak Harbor swimmers.

One day after not advancing anyone through the sectional swim meet to the state meet, the Wildcats received three wild card berths to the 4A championships this weekend in Federal Way.

“We’re very excited,” OHHS swim coach Erika Miller said.

Two swimmers, Evan Wilson and Brian Hall, will compete in the 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle respectively, while the 200 freestyle relay team of Wilson, Hall, Russell Chesnut and Cameron Spence also earned a slot.

Although they didn’t make automatic cuts or finish in a required second place or better at Marysville-Pilchuck on Saturday, the Oak Harbor swimmers were close enough with their times to be asked to fill the vacant state allocations.

“Who knows what will happen now,” Miller said.

They may not have advanced anyone automatically to state on Saturday, but the Wildcats put forth a strong performance, capturing third overall with 160 team points. Snohomish (442) and Marysville-Pilchuck (309) took first and second.

The big news for Oak Harbor, however, was defeating Lake Stevens, who beat the Wildcats in a dual meet earlier this season and bumped OHHS to fourth place at last year’s sectional meet.

“That was a big one for us,” Miller said. “That made us real happy.”

Wilson, who was struggling with the flu, finished one place out of automatic state bids in the 200 IM (2:08.79) and the 500 free (5:09.07).

Spence also took third in the 100 butterfly (58:33), barely missing state, while Hall took fourth in the 50 free (23.25).

“I was tearing my hair out, we were so close,” Miller said.

Matt Bender earned points for the Wildcats in the 200 free and 500 free where he took seventh and eighth respectively.

Freshman Daniel Saiko, who never swam competitively prior to this year, took 11th in the 200 IM and earned himself a varsity letter in the process.

The state meet begins Friday, Feb. 18 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.

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