KELSO, Wash. — The Walla Walla High School boys swim team qualified for three events at State while finishing fifth as a team in the Class 4A District 4 & 8 Championships here at Kelso High on Saturday.
The top four finishers in each of the district title events earned a spot at State.
Collin Gabriel was in all three of the Wa-Hi qualifying swims, including a pair of relays.
Gabriel joined teammates Luke Matlock, Luka Bona and Matt Reser on a third-place finish here in the 200-yard freestyle relay, earning a spot at State, and Zach Juhnke was with Gabriel, Matlock and Bona on a 400 freestyle quartet that placed fourth here and also qualified.
Meanwhile, Gabriel added an individual ticket to State with his fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle.
“We look forward to competing at the state (champioships) at King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way in two weeks,” Wa-Hi coach Nancy Rose said.
The Blue Devils shined here at districts, placing fifth as a team, with Camas first, followed by Union, Hanford and Richland.
Battleground, Skyview, Heritage, Chiawana,and Pasco rounded out the top 10.
With relays scoring double points, the Blue Devils cashed in.
While the 200 freestyle relay was third and the 400 freestyle team fourth, the 200 Medley Relay team of Junke, Brennan Creason, Sam Tacheny and Dawson Neely placed sixth.
Gabriel led the way in the individual events with his fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle, as well as sixth in the 50 freestyle, and the Blue Devils had several other successful swims.
Reser finished fifth in the 200 Freestyle and sixth in the 500 Freestyle, Bona was fifth in the 100 Butterfly and 12th in the 200 individual medley, Matlock was 10th in the 50 Freestyle, Creason was ninth in the 100 Breaststroke, Juhnke finished 11th in both the 200 IM and the 100 Backstroke, and Neely was 12th in the 50 Freestyle.
The Blue Devils also had freshman Oskar Erikson add 10th place points in the 100 Breaststroke, and junior Anthony McKeirnan 12th in the 500 Freestyle.
The two-day event started with preliminaries here on Friday, and Wa-Hi had 22 boys at it.
The top 12 finishers in each preliminary event qualified for district finals here Saturday, with the top six swimming for a championship, and the next six in consolation races.
Only those swimming for a district title had a shot at the state meet.
All three Wa-Hi relays passed the prelims, with the 400 freestyle team taking second place while the both 200 medley team and the 200 freestyle placed fifth.
As for individuals, nine Blue Devils qualified to return for the finals.
Gabriel was forth in the 100 Freestyleand 5th in the 50 Freestyle, Reser was sixth in both the 200 Freestyle and the 500 Freestyle, Bona was sixth in the 100 Butterfly and ninth in the 200 IM, and Matlock was seventh in the 100 Freestyle and 10th in the 50 Freestyle.
Creason qualified as ninth in the 100 Breaststroke while finishing 22nd in the 200 IM, and Erikson qualified as10th in the 100 Breaststroke while finishing 16th in the 200 IM.
Juhnke qualified as 12th in both the 200 IM and the 100 Backstroke, and Neely qualified 12th in the 50 Freestyle while finishing 14th (second alternate) in the 100 Freestyle.
McKeirnan qualified 12th in the 500 Freestyle while finishing 13th (first alternate) in the 200 Freestyle.
Meanwhile, Wa-Hi senior Ethan Haugen finished 14th (second alternate) in the 200 Freestyle and 16th in the 100 Backstroke, freshman Caleb Goin finished 15th in the 100 Freestyle and 16th in the 50 Freestyle, junior Sam Tacheny finished 16th in the 100 Butterfly and 18th in the 100 Backstroke.
Senior Jackson Owen finished 17th in the 50 Freestyle and 22nd in the 100 Freestyle, and junior Grady Lemma finished 18th in the 100 Breaststroke and 19th in the 200 IM.
Sophomore Simon Scheel finished 19th in the 100 Butterfly and 23rd in the 50 Freestyle, and sophomore Joel Redman finished 19th in the 100 Backstroke.
Senior John McKeirnan finished 22nd in the 100 Butterfly and 23rd in the 200 IM, sophomore Oliver Telander finished 22nd in the 100 Backstroke and 25th in the 200 IM, sophomore Peter Owen finished 25th in the 100 Butterfly.
Junior Patrick Jones finished 25th in the 100 Breaststroke, sophomore Nathan Feistner finished 26th in the 100 Breaststroke, and senior Erik Muro finished 29th in the 100 Breaststroke.
“Almost everyone swam personal bests,” Rose said.