Richland boys lead district swimming charge

January 31, 2013 

If top seeds determined who would take the District 5/6/7 Boys High School Swimming and Diving Championship in Ellensburg, the Richland Bombers, with six No. 1s, would be the runaway winner in Class 4A.

The Bombers lead the field in the 200-yard medley relay, while Ashton Pollick (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke), Andrew Blanchard (100 butterfly), Scott Francis (100 freestyle) and Taylor Armstrong (50 free) received individual No. 1 seeds.

Moses Lake holds three No. 1 seeds, while Walla Walla, Davis and Wenatchee have one apiece.

Class 2A Prosser and Grandview also will compete today and Saturday in Ellensburg, while Class 3A Hanford and Sunnyside, lacking east-side competition, must head to districts next weekend in Kelso.

After years of facing Moses Lake, Davis, Wenatchee and Eisenhower in the CBBN, Richland coach Kathy Piper says she won’t be surprised by what those teams could do this weekend.

“It’s just gonna be a matter of who swims a little bit better,” Piper said. “Moses Lake has a little more depth than we do, but we always swim well at districts.”

Given how highly her freshmen are seeded, that streak likely won’t end anytime soon.

Francis tops the 100 free field with a seed time of 52.49 seconds, while Luke Jackson is second behind Walla Walla junior Patrick Giedeman in the 500 free and third behind teammates Pollick and Blanchard in the 100 back.

Luis Hernandez holds top-five seeds in the 200 free and 100 fly, and he will try to qualify this weekend for his first state meet.

“Those two events were the events where we thought we could get him seeded the highest,” Piper said, “and I think we made a good choice.”

While several Bombers have qualified for state, Giedeman is the only Walla Walla swimmer heading for Federal Way at this point.

Blue Devils coach Katharine Curles expects a few more Wa-Hi racers will join Giedeman at state after the district meet.

“All of us are seeded in the top 16, which bodes well for us and shows how strong our team is,” Curles said.

Among those who have a good shot at advancing are Russell Skorina (second, 100 breaststroke; third, 100 fly), Jayden Wallace (fourth, 50 free; third, 100 free) and Josh Bumgarner (third in 200 IM and 100 breast).

One obstacle that won’t stand in the Blue Devils’ way is the flu, which took its toll on the team in its regular-season finale against Wenatchee.

“We’re excited to get everyone healthy and get everyone going,” Curles said.

On the 2A side, Prosser’s Will Burgett snagged the No. 1 seed in the 50 free (22.38) and 100 breast (1:01.76), while the Mustangs are third in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

Burgett is the only Prosser swimmer to punch his state ticket, but Timothy Bowen (third, 50 free; seventh, 100 back), Sam Kawakami (third, 100 breast; fifth, 200 IM) and Ben Wildman (10th, 100 breast) might have the best chances to qualify on their own this weekend.

Meanwhile, senior Jared Churchill holds Grandview’s top individual seed, fifth place in the 100 fly. Micah Binfet is No. 6 in the 100 breast, and Mitchell Wagner is eighth in the 200 free and 500 free.

w Katie Dorsey: 582-1526; kdorsey@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @katies_dorsey

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