Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Her events may have changed, but Breanna Sapienza's dominance has stayed the same.
The Cascade Christian junior will begin the defense of her Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state title in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday during preliminary competition at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
State finals are Saturday.
Other local swimmers in the hunt for state crowns include Phoenix junior Alyse Darnall in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, the Ashland boys 200 free relay squad and Ashland senior Gus Simms in the 100 fly.
Sapienza also won the 50 free championship last year, but she will not be defending that title. Instead, she swam the 100 breaststroke this season.
Sapienza is seeded first in both the 100 fly and 100 breaststroke out of 12 total swimmers. Her time of 55.52 seconds in the 100 fly — which she recorded at the District 4 Swim Championship finals — is a whopping 6.28 seconds faster than the time of second-seeded Sarah Clyde of Gladstone (1:01.80).
Last year, Sapienza set the 4A/3A/2A/1A record with a time of 54.63 in the event.
In the 100 breaststroke, Sapienza logged a 1:06.64 effort at districts. Behind her in the state seeding is North Bend/Oregon Coast Tech's Cassie Dallas (1:07.07). Phoenix freshman Lauren Speaks is fifth (1:13.77).
Also at the 4A/3A/2A/1A level, Darnall owns the state's second fastest times in the 100 free (54.05) and 100 back (1:01.23).
North Bend/Oregon Coast Tech's Alyssa Bennett is first in the 100 free (53.77) and Ridgeview's Rachel Haney first in the 100 back (58.77).
Last season, Darnall placed second at state in the 200 individual medley and fifth in the 200 free.
The Pirate girls 400 free relay squad — with junior Kylee Burks, junior Olivia Sanchez, Speaks, Darnall, freshman Emily Samudio, sophomore Daylin Snee, senior Mattie Ward and sophomore Dulci Kau all available — is seeded fourth (3:53.13). League rival Henley is first (3:48.33).
Burks is ranked seventh in the 50 free (26.71) and Sanchez, who placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke at state in 2012, is seeded eighth in the 100 fly (1:05.94) and 10th in the 500 free (5:51.90).
Speaks is 11th in the 200 IM (2:28.86).
Phoenix's boys and girls 200 free relay squads are both seeded 12th (1:42.25 and 1:53.23, respectively).
Cascade Christian sophomore Treyson Robbins owns the state's seventh fastest times in the 50 free (23.42) and 100 free (53.86).
At the 5A level, Ashland's state champion 400 boys free relay squad returns, but it only features one member (Simms) who competed in the crown-clinching swim. This year's unit — made up of Simms, sophomore Cole Harding, senior Alex Sukles, senior Miles Furuichi, senior Luke VanCampen, senior Jake VanCampen, junior Hoku Eggertsen and junior Elijah Ballantyne — is seeded second (3:26.98) out of 12 teams behind Summit (3:21.98).
The Grizzlies have the state's second fastest mark in the 200 free relay (1:32.60), with Harding, Sukles, Furuichi, Simms, Jake VanCampen, Brandon Vaughan, Luke VanCampen and Taos Cadarette-Stewart all available to swim. Summit is ranked first (1:31.64), but not by much more. Ashland took second in the event and Pendleton won last season at state.
Simms is seeded second in the 100 fly (52.13), an event that he captured third in at state in 2012. Springfield's Carlos Hunnicutt is seeded first (51.47).
Additionally, Simms is ranked fifth in the 500 free (5:00.24).
Ashland's Cole Harding is seeded 10th in the 50 free (23.37) and 11th in the 100 free (51.83).
The Grizzly girls 200 free relay squad will enter Friday's action seeded seventh (1:47.21).
In 6A swimming, North Medford sophomore Grace Jovanovic is seeded eighth out of 16 in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.61) and ninth in the 100 fly (59.54). Last year at state, she claimed sixth in both events.
South Medford junior Kaylee Cooper is seeded 11th in the 100 free (55.30) and 13th in the 200 free (1:59.66).
North Medford sophomore Lauren Hunter had the 12th fastest time in the state in the 100 back (1:01.45).
The Grants Pass boys 400 free relay squad is seeded 16th (3:31.24).
Watch live video of preliminaries and finals on osaa.org.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org