Seasoned well beyond his years, Crater freshman Marcus Reyes-Gentry entered his first Class 5A swimming state championships with a plan, and nothing was going to deter him in the pool Saturday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
With the top 5A times in the 500 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke entering the swim meet, the 14-year-old lived up to his billing by pulling off a rare double victory to secure the first swimming state titles in Crater High history.
“I’m very stoked about it,” said Reyes-Gentry of his championship efforts. “It was really fun. In the prelims (Friday) I didn’t swim too good but I was kind of saving up for today. Today I went all out and I was able to win my events by a good margin.”
In his first event, the 500 free, Reyes-Gentry posted a winning time of 4 minutes, 42.70 seconds to easily outdistance nearest competitors Finn Conaway of Churchill (4:57.09) and Ian Kerr of Springfield (4:57.29).
“The first 300 (yards) I felt pretty comfortable,” said Reyes-Gentry, “but my racing suit, it’s very tight, so at the 300 mark it was putting a lot of pressure on my legs and they started crarmping up pretty bad. After that I was jut racing the clock and trying for a good time.”
Reyes-Gentry held about a 25-yard lead throughout the long distance race and was never really challenged.
In the 100 back, it was all about speed and trying to hit a 52-second mark he had mapped out.
“In the 100 back I wasn’t really thinking about much I was just going really hard,” he said. “At the first 50 it was pretty close and I really pushed it hard in the last 50 yards.”
He pushed it so hard, in fact, that Reyes-Gentry won in a season-best time of 51.76 to eclipse his goal by three-tenths of a second.
“Marcus is absolutely cool as a cucumber, he really is,” said Crater assistant coach Mike Heckert, on hand to make up for head coach Sean Pfister’s need to remain home with newborn twins. “It’s a pleasure to be there and help him when he’s swimming.”
“He went there with a plan in mind and an idea how this was going to turn out in the beginning and he made it happen,” added Heckert, who previously served as Crater’s head coach. “You know what they say: make a plan and work the plan, and it’s not often done as nicely as it was done this time.”
Reyes-Gentry may have been the only Southern Oregon to come home with championship medals, but there were several notable efforts turned in during the 6A, 5A and 4A/3A/2A/1A championships.
In the same 5A boys 100 back that saw the Crater freshman win going away, Ashland junior Chris Frownfelter finished in a second-place tie with Hillsboro senior Nathan Claxton after each touched the wall in 54.31. Frownfelter also placed second in the 100 free in 48.42, finishing just behind Springfield senior Elijah Dapkus (48.36).
Frownfelter also swam a leg on a pair of placing relay teams for the Grizzlies, with the 200 medley relay placing fifth (1:44.06) and including Oliver Del Rio, Hunter Oliver and Baylor Wiggins and the 400 free relay taking sixth (3:23.22) with Harry Ross, Oliver, Wiggins and Frownfelter.
At the 6A level, North Medford junior Daniel Olson placed seventh in the 50 free with a time of 21.72 seconds. Central Catholic’s Spencer Adrian won the event in 21.20.
The day got off to a good start for locals in the 4A/3A/2A/1A state meet, with St. Mary’s senior Jasper Zhu and freshman Asa Frisbee joined by Phoenix senior Alec Shepherd in each placing among the top five swimmers in two individual events.
Zhu finished second in the 50 free at 22.25 to La Grande senior Garren Dutto (21.73), while Shepherd finished fourth in the race at 22.54. In the 100 free, Zhu finished third in 48.72 as Dutto again touched first (47.63), while Shepherd was fifth (49.28).
Frisbee’s day began with a third-place showing in the 500 free (5:09.29) and he went on to place fifth in the 100 back (59.11).
Zhu and Frisbee also swam legs on a pair of placing relay teams for the Crusader boys, with the duo joined by Charlie Reade and Noah Stillwell to finish fifth in the 400 free relay (3:33.65) and sixth in the 200 free relay (1:37.41).
Cascade Christian junior Braedon Scaglione finished third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.86, with Valley Catholic sophomore Luca Foord winning in 58.93.
Crescent Valley’s girls and Springfield’s boys won the 5A team titles with 79 points and 53 points, respectively. Ashland’s boys placed sixth with 15.5 points and Crater was seventh with 14 points.
At the 4A/3A/2A/1A level, Sweet Home (69) won the girls title and Newport (90) breezed to the boys crown. The St. Mary’s boys were fifth with 21 points, with Phoenix 13th (5) and Cascade Christian 15th (4).
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry