Depth carries Skyview swimmers to 4A district title

Storm use numbers to avenge dual loss to Union

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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There was no near miss this time.

The Skyview boys swimming team won its first district team title on Friday, and did it with little suspense and plenty of depth.

The Storm piled up 449 points, 100 more than runner-up Union, to win the Class 4A District 4 trophy that had eluded the program.

“I’m really proud that we finally won a district title after so many years of coming close,” said Eric Bugna, who led the charge with four first-place swims at the Propstra Aquatic Center.

The top two finishers in each race at Friday’s district meet advance to the Class 4A state championships next weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Union, the only team with a chance to challenge Skyview, had defeated the Storm to claim this winter’s Greater St. Helens League dual-meet title.

But Skyview’s depth and determination were too much for the Titans at the district meet, where team points are awarded down to 12th place in individual events.

Evergreen managed 58 points and four state-meet berths. Battle Ground scored 19 points and Heritage 14.

Bugna, a junior who will make his third trip to the state meet, won individual district titles in the 200-yard freestyle and in the 100 butterfly.

His times -- 1:53.71 in the freestyle and 55.12 in the butterfly -- were close to his best of the season and give him confidence heading into the state meet.

“My plan was to get a fast seed times, so I can go up to state with fast times, get up there and make finals,” Bugna said about his focus for districts.

He said he plans to enter all four events at state -- his two individual races and a pair of relays that he helped the Storm win at district.

Union junior Jonathan Brodeur ensured his third consecutive trip to state with wins in two sprints. Brodeur took the 50 freestyle by nearly a full second in 22.93, and won the 100 freestyle by more than two seconds in 50.67.

“I’d just like to congratulate Skyview,” Brodeur said. “They did a real good job, fought hard to the end. They really had us outnumbered.”

Brodeur noted that the tables flipped from a season ago, when the Titans took district after the Storm claimed the dual-meet title.

“We fought hard. A lot of us got to state. I’m satisfied with the meet,” Brodeur said.

Of the eight individual races, Skyview and Union swimmers won three apiece, and Evergreen had two champions.

The Plainsmen had only two swimmers in the meet -- junior Jim Nguyen and freshman Alfredo Plascencia. Each won once and finished second once to earn a couple of state-meet slots.

Nguyen won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.14) and was second in the 50 freestyle. Plascencia won the 200 individual medley (2:08.5) and was second in the 100 freestyle.

The other individual champions were Skyview’s Connor Shannon in the 500 freestyle (5:17.86) and Union’s Ryan Kwong in the 100 backstroke (1:02.04).

Only Skyview and Union had enough swimmers to enter the relays. The Storm won two of those races, with Bugna contributing to convincing wins in the 200 medley relay to open the meet and in the 400 freestyle relay to cap the competition.

Shannon, Gavin Harvey and Garrett Kooistra joined Bugna in the medley relay. Shannon, Mason Leavitt and Kooistra joined Bugna on the 400 freestyle relay team.

Union won the 200 freestyle relay, with Brodeur joined on that team by Reed Carlson, Alex Feyster, Joe Kettley.