GRESHAM — Meredith Wells leaned on the end of the pool in lane 2, exhaustion setting in after finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke and touching the wall fifth for Crescent Valley’s 400 relay in back-to-back races.
Only later would she get the news that her effort in the relay was for naught.
There was going to be a day when Crescent Valley’s best wasn’t going to be enough. It came Saturday as the Raiders saw their run of 5A state girls swimming championships come to an end.
They finished fourth overall, touched out at the wall over and over. Summit performed like champions as the Storm overtook CV for the first time, winning the team title with 67 points.
Surprising Sherwood nabbed second with 42 points, Bend was third with 36, CV fourth with 33 and West Albany fifth with 31.
“We did give it everything that we had,” said Wells, a senior. “We’re all disappointed that it ended. It would have been great if it could have gone on forever, but it was going to end at some point. We all gave it our best and that was the best that we could do, so we have to be happy with it.”
The Raiders faced a big challenge to win a sixth straight title. Summit was favored entering the meet.
“There were one of two things that could happen - one that we didn’t bring enough talent and the other that the other teams in the state brought more talent,” CV coach Rex Watkins said. “Summit brought more talent.”
“It’s definitely disappointing,” senior Erika Twenge said. “This was a great season, I think. I learned a lot about the meaning of team. I got a lot out of that.”
Twenge finished third for CV in both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly and gave the Raiders a great leadoff leg on the 400 relay, but her 54.79 second leg was for naught due to an early exchange that disqualified the Raiders and cost them valuable points.
Freshman Allison Wells, Meredith’s younger sister, finished fifth in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke in her first state meet.
West Albany came close to the Raiders on the strength of Jessie James repeating as champion in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, and sophomore Brittney Baker, freshman Kenzie Baas and relay performances in the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free.
James set state records as a junior for Corvallis in 2011. She did get season-best times in both finals, but fell short of the records.
“It felt good to put on a fast suit and swim a lot faster than yesterday,” James said. “Swimming with not being tapered or rested, that makes me feel good.”
James had a two-hour training session Friday morning. Her only rest for the state meet came Saturday morning.
Losing the title was less of an issue for the Raiders — who didn’t win an event for the first time in six years — than saying good bye as a team.
Being beaten wasn’t the issue — they didn’t beat themselves, even with the relay faux pas — for the Raiders. For the first time they just didn’t have enough swimmers in the finals. That was a testament to the rest of the state.
“Our girls weren’t lacking in heart or attitude,” Watkins said. “We just weren’t real deep this year. We had girls swim best times (on Friday) and not make the finals in events that they’ve swam here for two or three years. That just shows that the rest of the competition has gotten better.”