Lucas Opgenorth kicked the wall and pointed his torso in the opposite direction. To his left, he could feel the presence of Crater's Jeremy Selland, his lone true rival in the boys 500-yard freestyle swimming race.




In his other events &

the 100-yard butterfly and the medley relay &

Opgenorth would have long since been home free, relaxing on the pool deck. But this distance stuff was a different challenge altogether.




Just a sophomore, Opgenorth had only swam the distance twice in competitive meets before Saturday, all coming since the winter break.




Now here he was, a district championship, state meet berth and potential team title hanging in the balance and a more experienced distance swimmer &

one who had beaten him in the same race just a day earlier &

chasing him down with still 150 yards to go.




"I started swimming it as kind of a joke," Opgenorth recalled of the longest event on the program. "For the last two weeks, I've been training to become a distance swimmer. This is my third time swimming it."




His muscles burning with every kick, Opgenorth clung to the lead and outlasted Selland by less than a second to win in 5 minutes, 14.63 seconds in the Class 5A District 5 championship at the Southern Oregon University pool on Saturday.




"Today, I knew if I went out and stayed in the lead and made my move with about 100- to-125 yards to go, I could probably take it," he said. "I definitely surprised myself by dropping five seconds off my time from yesterday."




Opgenorth's victory was the biggest upset of a fine day for the Ashland boys team, which captured six of 11 events en route to winning the team title with 317 points. Favored Crater was second with 274 after winning four events. Klamath Union (189) and Mazama (94) rounded out the field.




Crater, behind two victories each from Callie Kinser and Anya Martinez, edged out Ashland on the girls side to win the team title.




The winners of each race qualify for the Class 5A state meet beginning Friday in Cottage Grove. Additional qualifiers, based on time, were announced Sunday.




Crater coach Mike Heckert was hopeful Selland could squeak into the state 500 freestyle field after posting a time of 5:15.37.




"I didn't expect to win it," Ashland coach Steve Mitzel said. "I expected to give Crater a run for their money. We brought 10 swimmers, they brought 10 swimmers. I think on any given day, we can go head-to-head in about any event."




Tuning up for a run at a state championship next weekend, Ashland senior Dash King won both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races with barely a challenge. His time of 49.72 in the 100 was .16 off his personal best. His 22.33 in the 50 free was .04 slower than his best.




"I was hoping for about a second faster in the 100, but I'm very happy with my time," King said.




Opgenorth added a win in the 100 butterfly and both he and King were part of victorious teams in the 200 medley and 400 free relays.




"I knew the relays would have a huge impact and our goal was to win the 200 medley," Mitzel said. "That set the tone for the rest of the day."




Crater was certainly not without stars of its own. Senior Kyle Kinser won both the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke &

cracking the one-minute mark at 59.14 in the backstroke &

and also led the winning 200 free relay team.




Klamath Union sophomore Charles Warrington won the 200 individual medley for the Pelicans' lone triumph.




Heckert had plenty to smile about on the girls side.




Kinser and Martinez helped the Crater girls slip by Ashland, 255-246, for the team title. Crater won six finals while Ashland took four. Klamath Union was a close third (243) and Mazama (201) was fourth.




Martinez, a junior, clinched the team title with a splendid 100 breaststroke, winning in 1:13.22 &

almost 15 seconds ahead of the field.




"She's come back so nicely," Heckert said of Martinez. "She started (the season) with shoulder injuries and she's coming along real nicely."




Martinez is one of two Comets who could contend for medals at the state meet. Kinser, a senior, blitzed the field in both the 50 free and 100 butterfly.




"It's really difficult when you're that far ahead of the field," Heckert said of Callie Kinser. "I think at state she's got a 24 (seconds in the 50 freestyle) in her. I think both girls have got something to gain this week."




Ashland's Kaylee Tracy also doubled, winning both the 200 and 500 freestyle.




"That was a big gamble for me," Mitzel said of starting Tracy in the longer events. "Kaylee is a better 100 swimmer, but we've got Kristin Frazier (who won the 100 free) and Eliana Pool (second in the 50, third in 100). All of them are able to swim the 100, too. So I put Kaylee in the 200 and the 500 and she did an amazing job. She exceeded my expectations and her own expectations in both events."




The same was true for Opgenorth, who swam on relay teams at last year's state meet as a freshman, but now will also swim two individual events, including the 500.




"Today, I realized I might actually be a decent distance swimmer," Opgenorth said.




District 5 Championships




GIRLS




TEAM SCORES &

1, Crater, 255. 2, Ashland 246. 3, Klamath Union, 243. 4, Mazama, 201.




INDIVIDUAL RESULTS




200 MEDLEY RELAY &

1, Crater (Nicole Pecheny, Callie Kinser, Anya Martinez, Amber Parker) 2:02.38; 2, Klamath Union, 2:21.35; 3, Ashland, 2:24.91; 4, Mazama, 2:39.01.




200 FREESTYLE ""1, Kaylee Tracy, Ash, 2:17.52. 2, Avery Dumbeck, KU, 2:19.17. 3, Amber Parker, Cra, 2:36.35; Meghan Gill, Maz, 2:39.15; 4, Kelly Mauser, KU, 2:44.77; 5, Haley Young, KU, 2:47.46.




200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY &

1, Anya Martinez, Cra, 2:24.50. 2, Abby Ferrier, KU, 2:51.40. 3, Ayla Wood, KU, 2:58.60; 4, Naomi Ferrari, Maz, 3:18.35; 5, Cyndi Ford, Maz, 3:20.07; 6, Kelsey Dill, Maz, 3:41.93.




50 FREESTYLE &

1, Callie Kinser, Cra, 26.10. 2, Eliana Pool, Ash, 28.92. 3, Teal Rice-Narusch, Cra, 29.99; Veronica Miller, KU, 30.47; 5, Seena Frantz, Ash, 30.61; 6, Annika Hearn, Ash, 31.39.




100 BUTTERFLY &

1, Callie Kinser, Cra, 1:06.20. 2, Cyndi Ford, Maz, 1:40.73.




100 FREESTYLE ""1, Kristin Frazier, Ash, 1:03.78. 2, Nicole Pecheny, Cra, 1:03.95. 3, Eliana Pool, Ash, 1:05.73; 4, Livy Krevitz, Ash, 1:06.64; 5, Veronica Miller, KU, 1:08.91; 6, Seena Frantz, Ash, 1:09.09.




500 FREESTYLE ""1, Kaylee Tracy, Ash, 6:40.90. 2, Amber Parker, Cra, 7:04.13. 3, Kelly Mauser, KU, 7:07.16; 4, Naomi Ferrari, Maz, 7:26.86; 5, Emily Olsen, Cra, 7:42.86; 6, Amie Jacobson, Ash, 8:02.32.




200 FREESTYLE RELAY ""1, Crater (Anya Martinez, Amber Parker, Nicole Pecheny, Callie Kinser), 1:50.24. 2, Ashland, 1:55.39. 3, Mazama, 2:15.76; 4, Klamath Union, 2:21.95.




100 BACKSTROKE &

1, Avery Dumbeck, KU, 1:08.54. 2, Nicole Pecheny, Cra, 1:11.78. 3, Ayla Wood, KU, 1:22.48; 4, Amie Jacobson, Ash, 1:26.43; 5, Adeena Tofell, Maz, 1:33.87; 6, Alex Royal, KU, 1:42.61.




100 BREASTSTROKE &

1, Anya Martinez, Cra, 1:13.22. 2, Garrett Haberman, Ash, 1:28.15. 3, Abby Frazier, KU, 1:28.51; 4, Meghan Gill, Maz, 1:29.02; 5, Emily VanMeter, KU, 1:32.77; 6, Kristin Frazier, Ash, 1:32.87.




400 FREESTYLE RELAY &

1, Ashland (Kristin Frazier, Livy Krevitz, Eliana Pool, Kaylee Tracy), 4:20.68. 2, Klamath Union, 4:37.72. 3, Mazama, 5:15.24.




BOYS




TEAM SCORES &

1, Ashland 317. 2, Crater, 274. 3, Klamath Union, 189. 4, Mazama, 94.




INDIVIDUAL RESULTS




200 MEDLEY RELAY &

1, Ashland (Troy Robinson, Lucas Opgenorth, Jake Gavin, Dash King), 1:47.88. 2, Crater, 1:50.83. 3, Klamath Union, 2:01.64.




200 FREESTYLE &

1, Kyle Kinser, Cra, 1:52.00. 2, Jeremy Selland, Cra, 1:59.78. 3, Jason Carter, Cra, 2:02.55; 4, Tucker Bacon, Ash, 2:16.43; 5, Alex Dassoff, KU, 2:16.44; 6, Wynn Michael, Ash, 2:18.33.




200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY &

1, Charles Warrington, KU, 2:08.45. 2, Troy Robinson, Ash, 2:27.46. 3, Nicholas Heckert, Cra, 2:34.26.




50 FREESTYLE &

1, Dash King, Ash, 22.33. 2, Rafferty Swink, Ash, 25.16. 3, Aaron Croslow, Cra, 25.73; 4, Jonathon Melbo, Cra, 25.92; 5, Jonathon Plumlee, Ash, 26.00; 6, Walter Ross, Maz, 27.18.




100 BUTTERFLY &

1, Lucas Opgenorth, Ash, 1:02.43. 2, Dylan Kennish, Cra, 1:09.15. 3, Zachery Torres, KU, 1:11.24; 4, Walter Ross, Maz, 1:13.86.




100 FREESTYLE &

1, Dash King, Ash, 49.72. 2, Jake Gavin, Ash, 56.54. 3, Jason Carter, Cra, 56.59; 4, Aaron Croslow, Cra, 56.84; 5, Jonathon Plumlee, Ash, 1:00.41; 6, Wynn Michael, Ash, 1:02.83.




500 FREESTYLE &

1, Lucas Opgenorth, Ash, 5:14.63. 2, Jeremy Selland, Cra, 5:15.37. 3, Karl Britsch, KU, 5:55.20; 4, Tucker Bacon, Ash, 6:29.65.




200 FREESTYLE RELAY ""1, Crater (Jeremy Selland, Jason Carter, Dylan Kennish, Kyle Kinser), 1:39.07. 2, Ashland, 1:43.43. 3, Klamath Union, 1:55.52; 4, Mazama, 2:08.83.




100 BACKSTROKE &

1, Kyle Kinser, Cra, 59.14. 2, Troy Robinson, Ash, 1:01.51. 3, Jonathon Melbo, Cra, 1:05.91; 4, Rafferty Swink, Ash, 1:06.05; 5, Karl Britsch, KU, 1:10.79; 6, Kyle Wilkins, Cra, 1:21.97.




100 BREASTSTROKE &

1, Charles Warrington, KU, 1:07.03. 2, Dylan Kennish, Cra, 1:10.75. 3, Jake Gavin, Ash, 1:13.13; 4, Alex Dassoff, KU, 1:17.74; 5, Nicholas Heckert, Cra, 1:18; 6, Mahkah Wu, Ash, 1:22.09.




400 FREESTYLE RELAY &

1, Ashland (Lucas Opgenorth, Troy Robinson, Rafferty Swink, Dash King), 3:36.57. 2, Klamath Union, 3:50.80. 3, Crater, 4:08.30; 4, Mazama, 4:53.13.




Reach at 776-4499, or e-mail mvinson@mailtribune.com