After rolling through its first six league matches, the Richland boys swim team craved a challenge.
In a field full of in-state and out-of-state powerhouses at Saturdays Kentridge Invitational in Federal Way, the Bombers more than held tough.
Richland finished 10th out of 33 teams with 174 points 21 better than last year and 31⁄2 ahead of former conference rival Moses Lake at the King County Aquatic Center, site of next months WIAA Boys State Swimming and Diving Championships.
Nebraskas Omaha Creighton Prep repeated as team champion, winning seven of 12 events and finishing with 750 points. Hanford was 16th with 95 points, and Prosser was 29th with 24.5.
Were looking solid, Hanford/Richland coach Kathy Piper said via telephone. It was a good trip. It was a big meet. Those Nebraska kids are just amazing.
Richland had a few highlights of its own.
Junior Ashton Pollick clocked Class 4A state-qualifying times when he finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (54.73 seconds) and seventh in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 2.23 seconds).
Last year at Kentridge, he was ninth in the 100 back with a time of 57.14. He will swim that and the 200 IM at state. He won the B finals of both events last year.
Of his 200 IM performance Saturday, Pollick said: I was only a second off my best time, so Im feeling good about it. Once we get closer to state and start going down in yardage, Ill be faster and a lot more well rested.
Freshman teammate Luke Jackson placed fifth in the 500 freestyle, notching a state-qualifying time of 4:59.50. He entered the day seeded 15th at 5:07.50.
Bombers senior Andrew Blanchard took sixth in the 100 butterfly in 53.67, just below his seed time of 53.70.
Richland also qualified its 200 medley and 200 free relays for state.
Meanwhile, Hanford junior Will Wertz was sixth in the 200 free with a Class 3A state-qualifying time of 1:48.00 though not his fastest time of the season.
I was just trying to stay under 1:50, and I was right around that area, said Wertz, who wants to break 1:40 at state.
He wont do the 100 breaststroke for his second state event, choosing to stick with the 100 free, but he took eighth in the breast at Kentridge with a 1:03.71.
Prosser junior Will Burgett, who was seventh in the Class 2A 100 breast at state last year, showed hes a contender again with a fourth-place finish Saturday. He was timed in 1:01.76, better than his 2012 state time of 1:02.57.
At King County Aquatic Center, Federal Way
Team scores1, Omaha Creighton Prep (Neb.) 750; 2, Mercer Island 467; 3, Lakeside 456.5; 4, Issaquah 308; 5, Kamiak 279; 10, Richland 174; 16, Hanford 95; 29, Prosser 24.5.
Winners and locals in top eight: 200 medley relay1, Omaha Creighton Prep A (Andrew Hansen, Szymmy Day, Ryan Tate, Carter Deras) 1:38.55. 200 free1, Jacob Molacek (OCP) 1:39.51; 6, Will Wertz (H) 1:48.00. 200 IM1, Tommy Thach (Kennedy Catholic) 1:53.06; 7, Ashton Pollick (Rich) 2:02.23. 50 free1, Sean Tate (OCP) 21.22. Diving1, Brian Donohue (KC) 240.00. 100 fly1, Molacek (OCP) 49.92; 6, Andrew Blanchard (Rich) 53.67. 100 free1, Thach (KC) 46.38. 500 free1, John Stupey (Kam) 4.40.70; 5, Luke Jackson (Rich) 4:59.50. 200 free relay1, Omaha Creighton Prep A (Molacek, S. Tate, R. Tate, Deras) 1:25.46. 100 back1, Thane Maudslien (KC) 51.16; 4, Pollick (Rich) 54.73. 100 breast1, Day (OCP) 59.06; 4, Will Burgett (Pro) 1:01.76; 8, Wertz (Han) 1:03.71. 400 free relay1, Omaha Creighton Prep A (Molacek, R. Tate, Mike Bauwens, S. Tate) 3:09.09.
11-dive meet: Hanfords Sam Hart won Fridays Class 3A meet, scoring 197.15 points in Wenatchee.
Sunnysides Fox Rodriguez (184.6) placed second, and Hanfords Porter McMichael (173.75) was third.
In the Class 4A meet, Mitchell Piper was Richlands top finisher, taking sixth place with 223.35 points. Davis Victor Carrasco won at 287.05, but no one hit the state-qualifying threshold of 300 points.
4A (winner and locals)
1, Victor Carrasco (Davis) 287.05; 6, Mitchell Piper (Rich) 223.35; 7, Matt Powers (Rich) 211.30; 8, Stuart Moore (Rich) 203.75; 9, Gibson McGeorge (Rich) 202.95; 10, Brian Pulsipher (Rich) 187.80.
3A (winner and locals)
1, Sam Hart (Han) 197.15; 2, Fox Rodriguez (Sun) 184.6; 3, Porter McMichael (Han) 173.75.