Sports

State-bound

The Oak Harbor High swim team accomplished just what they set out to do at Saturday’s Northwest District I 4A Swimming and Diving Championships at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

The Wildcats captured third place overall with 132 team points, finishing behind the much larger squads of Snohomish (359) and Marysville-Pilchuck (168).

“We knew we wouldn’t beat Snohomish or Marysville but we thought we had a chance against the other strong teams...all in all we were extremely happy,” OHHS head coach Erika Miller said.

Due to her team’s strong performance, Miller was voted Western Conference coach of the year by fellow league coaches.

“I missed the announcement because I was modifying some behavior,” she said. “But it was very exciting.”

The Wildcats already had two individuals and one relay with state qualifying times prior to the district meet and they added more on Saturday.

Junior Cameron Spence swam a personal best 54.87 in the 100 butterfly to capture fourth place, but more importantly make the state cut and earn his first individual appearance in a state meet.

Spence, who has gone to state as a relay alternate and competed in large club meets, said he’s not nervous about his first individual state appearance.

“You’re always nervous before a race, but it’s nothing new — I’m just going to have fun at state,” he said.

The 400 and 200 freestyle relays also made new state cuts finishing second and third respectively. Both teams consisted of senior Brian Hall, junior Evan Wilson, freshman John Hu and Spence. Alternates are Matt Bender, Mike Johnston, Spencer Livermore and Daniel Saiku.

Individually, Wilson already earned state marks in 500 free and 200 individual medley earlier this season, but he improved his times on Saturday and took district titles in both.

He beat his personal best and school record mark in the 500 free by four seconds with a 4:47.50 and improved his 200 IM time with a 2:01.24.

One year after making his first individual state appearance in the 200 IM, Wilson has big goals for his second time around.

“I’d like to go for a podium stand in at least one of them,” he said.

Wilson is ranked fourth in the 500 free and 11th in the 200 IM headed into the state meet.

Hu also bettered his previous state time in the 100 backstroke, taking second place at 57.05.

As a freshman, Hu is just starting to realize how big an accomplishment going to state is.

“It’s cool,” he said. “Everyone keeps telling me I’m lucky, so I guess I am.”

Ranked 11th in his event, Hu has high aspirations for his first trip to the big meet.

“I’m hoping to become state champ, or at worst come in second,” he said.

The Wildcats had already qualified their 200 medley relay of Hu, Wilson, Spence and Hall, in the second meet of the season. The group is ranked seventh headed into the state meet and is feeling confident about its position.

“I think we have a real good chance in the medley relay,” Wilson said.

The 4A state meet begins with prelims at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way. Top 16 finishers move on the finals at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18.

As for her team’s chances of coming out with some trophies, Miller remains very optimistic.

“I think when we get down there in that fast pool and get there in that competitive environment they’re going to go even faster than they did at districts,” she said.

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