Redmond’s boys swim team is relishing a victory a decade in the making.
The Panthers took the Feb. 8 Intermountain Conference District Championships in Hood River. It was their first boys or girls district swimming title since at least 2009 and the first for a Redmond Class 5A school since Ridgeview opened in 2012.
“It was a really great feeling,” said senior Augie Tobish, who will be headed to state for the third time, but the first as a district championship team member. “It felt like all four years of swimming really paid off.”
Redmond, with 101 points, edged out Pendleton by two points. With 51 points, Ridgeview finished fourth in the five-team event.
The meet was tight until the end, Tobish said.
“We didn’t even know we were going to win it until the last second,” he said. “We didn’t know if Pendleton was going to come out ahead until the final announcement.”
With two individual victories, freshman Ryan Konop was the star of the meet for the Panthers. He won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.49 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of Hood River Valley’s Luke Southall. That qualifies him fifth at the state preliminaries Friday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
Konop’s first-place time of 58.3 seconds in the 100 backstroke was nearly six seconds ahead of second-place Andrew Williams of Pendleton. That qualifies him seventh at state.
Konop also qualified for state in the 200 freestyle relay, along with Augie Tobish and sophomores Gavin Tobish and Jacen McGowan. The team finished third at districts with a time of 1 minute, 36.52 seconds, qualifying 10th of 12 teams at state.
Konop credits good mental preparation and taking care of himself with his performance. He looks to improve on his time and standing at state, he said. Regardless, he was excited about the district result.
“Just the feeling you get as a team,” he said. “You know you put the work in and got a positive result.”
Augie Tobish had second-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyles and joined Konop, McGowan and Spencer Brakebill in finishing second in the 200 medley relay. Those performances came up just short qualifying for a wild card spot at state (district winners qualify automatically). Redmond coach Denise Maich said the medley relay team missed out on a state appearance by a half second.
“That’s kind of a hard pill to swallow, knowing you’re so close but so far away,” she said.
Maich is hopeful that Konop can finish in the top six in his two individual preliminary races, giving him a spot in Saturday’s finals.
While Redmond actually qualified more swimmers for state in 2017, when it finished fourth at the IMC meet dominated by Bend teams, the Panthers were able to do better as a team this year through earning more top 6 finishes that gained them points.
In the fall, Ridgeview took advantage of the move of three Bend schools to Class 6A by winning league titles in volleyball and boys and girls soccer. After not winning a league championship since the 2016-17 wrestling season, Redmond is catching up. Along with the boys swimming victory, the Panthers were leading IMC girls basketball midway through conference season.
With only three seniors moving on, Maich hopes this is just the beginning.
“I’m hoping we can keep winning district titles,” she said. “They’ve shown they can win it.”
For Ridgeview, Kendall Nave had two second-place finishes, in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, while Drew Harding finished second in the 500 freestyle for the Ravens.
On the girls side, Ridgeview finished fourth with 32 points to 29 for fifth-place Redmond. Hood River won with 134 points.
Aria Mascall had two third place finishes for the Ravens, in the 100 backstroke and as part of the 200 medley relay with Melissa Villagrana, Gwen Arthur and Jillian Ferraro. Arthur also finished third in the 200 individual medley.
Caitlyn Owen had the Redmond girls’ top finish, placing third in the 100 breaststroke.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, email@example.com