PAC Boys Help Grant Win State

Boys swimming: Grant nips favorites, wins closest state meet since 1998

, February 21, 2010 5:20 p.m.

GRESHAM — If not for a faulty relay exchange in a relay at last week’s Metro League meet, Westview might have repeated as team champion at the OSAA Class 6A boys state swim meet Saturday night.

If not for a false start in the evening’s first event, the 200-yard medley relay, Roseburg might have won the title.

In the end, after the could-haves, would-haves and should-haves, Grant was the team to capitalize on its opportunities and blow up the form charts, and the Generals walked out of Mt. Hood Community College with their first state title since 1956.

Grant of Northeast Portland scored 104 points to defeat Newberg (100), McMinnville (92) and Westview (91). The finish was the closest in the large-school boys classification since 1998, when McMinnville beat Sheldon 168-165.

The title was a pleasant surprise for Grant coach Laura Tyrrell.

“We came in thinking we’d be top-five for sure, and last night we had a fabulous prelims,” said a sopping wet Tyrrell, moments after her athletes threw her into the pool in celebration. “All our kids swam up, so last night we kind of looked over the numbers, and it looked like we were easily in third with the possibility to win, but everything had to go our way.”

The meet wasn’t decided until the final event, with the top five schools all having entrants. But when Grant sophomore Henry Fellows touched the wall in fourth place, the Generals knew the first-place trophy was theirs, touching off a wild celebration. 

“I knew we won state because all my relay buddies were screaming at the top of their lungs like we’d just won the relay,” Fellows said.

Roseburg came in as one of the team favorites, but the medley relay disqualification dashed the team’s title hopes. Roseburg, which finished in fifth place with 85 points, had apparently finished first in the event before learning of the disqualification.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” coach Gabe Mazurkiewicz said.

And who won that relay instead of Roseburg? Grant.

“That kind of set us up and took them out of the picture, ’cause they were one of the teams that was ahead of us (on paper),” Tyrrell said.

That reversal of fortune touched off a wild night of teams constantly jockeying for position. Grant led until Newberg used the 200 freestyle relay to jump in front, while the Generals dropped back to fourth place.

But Grant answered in the next event — the third to last of the meet — the 100 backstroke. Fellows placed fourth and sophomore Will Tyrrell, Laura Tyrrell’s son, took sixth, moving the Generals back into the top spot.

And the 2010 title might be just a start for Grant, which can bring everyone back next year except for seniors Jordan Green (medley relay) and Robert Macy (400 freestyle relay).

Westview’s Steven Ung was chosen the outstanding male swimmer of the meet. Ung won the 50 freestyle in 20.67 and the 100 freestyle in a personal-best time of 45.13, besting Newberg senior Craig Cheney. The Purdue-bound senior also anchored the Wildcats’ victorious 400 freestyle relay squad (3:12.44), which led nearly wire-to-wire.

“I just wanted to end on a good note,” Ung said. “I knew we could take that relay.”

Central Catholic senior Will Gunderson also won two individual events. He repeated as champion in the 200 individual medley (1:53.19) and also won the 100 backstroke (51.03).

No meet records were broken this year after eight were broken in 2009.

-- Amanda Miles: amandamiles@news.oregonian.com