Pizza powers Oak Harbor swimmers by Marysville-Pilchuck

Ah, the power of pizza.

Buoyed by the promise that coach Erika Miller would buy them pizza if they defeated unbeaten Marysville-Pilchuck, the Wildcats' girls' swim and dive team nipped the Tomahawks 94-92 Wednesday at John VanderZicht pool.

The win placed Oak Harbor on top of the Wesco North standings with a 3-0 record, 8-0-1 overall. Marysville-Pilchuck is now 4-1.

Miller couldn't remember when Oak Harbor last defeated the traditionally strong Tomahawks, but said, "It's been a long, long time."

The meet featured two evenly matched teams, and in only three of the 12 events did one team go one-two.

Oak Harbor trailed all the way through the 10th event, falling behind by as much as 16 points, 47-31, after the fifth event when Marysville-Pilchuck earned its only one-two finish by taking the top two spots in diving.

The Wildcats chipped away at the league by winning four of the next five events, cutting the lead to two, 79-77, going into the 11th event, the 100 breaststroke.

After Tori Nickerson (1:24.77) and Rachel Weinstein (1:25.42) went one-two and Cassie Stanford (1:33.04) placed fifth, Oak Harbor had its first lead, 88-84, going into the final event, the 400 free relay.

Marysville-Pilchuck needed to take two of the top three spots in the relay to recapture the lead.

Miller said her team was up to the challenge and was already "tasting the pizza." She said the girls told her to get her wallet out because they were going to bring home the bacon (most likely Canadian).

In the relay, Oak Harbor's "A" team of Therese Desquitado, Nickerson, Ciara Hu, and Laura Rosen finished second in 4:29.40.

The key, however, was the effort of the "B" squad which needed to finish third overall and ahead of the Tomahawks' No. 2 team. Lily Doyle, McKenna Yockey, Stanford, and Rachel Mueller swam away with third and the meet in 4:45.38, three seconds ahead of the fourth-place Tomahawk "B" team. Pepperoni, anyone?

Miller called Yockey's leg of the relay the "swim of the meet" as the senior knocked four seconds off her best time in the event.

Besides the impressive team victory, two Oak Harbor swimmers met state qualifying times while winning their events. Rosen won the 400 free in 4:37.8, surpassing the state time of 4:40.27. Hu hit the state time of 1:07.99 on the button while taking the 100 butterfly.

The two swimmers went one-two in the 200 individual medley. Rosen won in 2:31.39, followed by Hu in 2:31.54.

Other Oak Harbor wins came in the 100 backstroke from Akasha Trisler (1:12.81) and the 200 free relay (Karina Concepcion, Desquitado, Weinstein, and Rosen; 2:02.4).

The Wildcats have another tough meet Monday when they host the two Snohomish teams at 6 p.m. The Panthers, like Marysville-Pilchuck, are one of the league's most consistently strong programs. Glacier Peak is currently tied with Oak Harbor in the Wesco North standings at 3-0.

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