MUKILTEO — Ask any fan or swimmer at the Kamiak pool Saturday, which team stood out at the 4A district girls championships and most would say Cascade.
The Bruins, led by Kalena Laurent as well their five other senior captains seemingly lived atop the medal stand, but it was Kamiak that took home the big trophy as district champs when the water settled and the scores were tallied.
Kamiak outpaced Cascade 496 to 470. Both teams were well ahead of third-place Jackson at 377.7. Because all 18 swimmers in each event score in this meet, Kamiak held a huge edge at the outset with 20 district qualifiers — a total that was four more than any other team including Cascade.
“We did what we needed today,” said Kamiak coach Chris Erickson, who is in his 13th season with the Knights. “We have a lot of girls willing to work hard. We’ve had a consistent program for many years.”
Cascade captured six of the 12 events, including two of the relays. None of the nine other 4A schools competing won more than one event. Entering Saturday, the Bruins had been undefeated in dual meet competition and were Wesco 4A North champions.
“Cascade might be a little disappointed,” Erickson said. “Maybe even more than a little, but their team right now is geared for next week. They are going to have a really good showing next week. I’ll be excited to watch them.”
Next week, of course, is the final event of the year: the Girls Swimming and Diving State Meet at King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
It was Kamiak’s second straight district trophy and according to Erickson — based on his calculation of dual results — the fifth consecutive year that Kamiak has been the top scoring team coming from Wesco (prior to 2011 there wasn’t a WIAA sanctioned district trophy).
Though the Knights had no individual winners, the team earned its moment in the sun. Even the girls weren’t sure they could do it.
“We thought we had a chance, but we thought definitely Cascade was going to win,” Kamiak’s Laura Johnson said. “We had no idea that we were going to actually win again, which was really cool.”
Johnson, who will swim in the 100-yard butterfly next week, and a few other Knights posted their first state-qualifying times of the season Saturday. She was very happy with the team result.
The 100-yard breaststroke was a microcosm of the meet. Cascade’s Danielle Booth won in 1 minute 8.56 seconds, which was over a second faster than second-place finisher Luci Brock from Edmonds-Woodway. The freshman Booth earned 24 points for her team. Kamiak’s Ingrid Straume (state qualifier), Errin Hendrickson and Judy Chin placed third, fifth and sixth, respectively, which added 20, 18, and 17 points to the Knights total. Cascade had no other swimmers entered. Kamiak’s best was never better than Cascade’s, except in diving.
There were no sour grapes by Cascade coach Eric Smith Saturday. Smith took a team that four years ago was an afterthought at such events and brought them to the cusp of knocking off the best.
“He does a good job of building a program,” Smith said of Erickson. “Kudos to him.”
Laurent, who has accepted a full scholarship to swim for Fordham University, won the 200 freestyle and 100 fly and the opening leg of Cascade’s first-place 400 free relay team. She also swam the butterfly leg of the second-place 200 medley relay team that was knocked off by Snohomish.
Smith could only use a few words to describe Laurent’s contribution to the team over her four years at Cascade. “Phenomenal, unparalleled,” he said.
She will be the state favorite in the 100 fly after finishing second the previous two years behind a swimmer who is now graduated. Over the summer Laurent qualified for the next Olympic trials in the 200 fly. Laurent, Smith and the Bruins are looking forward to next week, where the team has a chance to make some serious noise.
“We’ve got kids in eight of 12 events at state, so we will be really well represented there,” Smith said.
“So it’s just going to be a different meet.”
At the end of the meet Saturday the Wesco coaches voted Smith the district’s coach of the year.
“He’s a good human being,” said Cascade’s Nichole Carlson, who won the 100 freestyle and drives daily to Cascade from Duvall because no area school offers swimming. “I enjoy being around him and that’s what makes swimming here worth it.”
At Kamiak H.S.
Team scores—Kamiak 496, Cascade 470, Jackson 377.5, Snohomish 329, Edmonds-Woodway 310.5, Lake Stevens 253, Mount Vernon 208, Mariner 154, Monroe 146, Lynnwood 75.
200 medley relay—1. Snohomish (Hannah Pieper, Alyssa Hyland, Ella Brooks, Shelby Garrison) 1:43.90, 2. Cascade (Carissa Hopper, Danielle Booth, Kalena Laurent, Shelby Leathers) 1:55.05; 200 freestyle—1. K. Laurent 1:53.30, 2. Brianna Lucien (Mar) 1:57.69, 3. Demetra Laurent (C) 1:58.94; 200 individual medley—1. Lavinya Yap (Mon) 2:10.02, 2. Kaitlin Taylor (J) 2:10.96, 3. Luci Brock (EW) 2:14.45, 4. Hyland 2:15.00; 50 freestyle—1. Djenne Dickens (EW) 24.35, 2. Kaela Mckee (J) 24.78, 3. Nichole Carlson (C) 25.11, 4. Dan. Booth (C) 25.15, 5. Garrison (Sno) 25.22; Diving—Hannah Olliges (LS) 327.65; 100 butterfly—1. K. Laurent 56.64, 2. Taylor 58.20; 100 freestyle—1. Carlson 53.89, 2. Cathryn Armstrong (Mon) 54.27, 3. Dickens 54.60; 500 freestyle—1. Lucien 5:12.45, 2. D. Laurent 5:16.88; 200 freestyle relay—1. Cascade (Carlson, Darcie Booth, Leathers, Dan. Booth) 1:41.50, 2. Snohomish (Brooks, Hyland, Katarina Behla, Garrison) 1:43.43, 3. Kamiak (Alyssa Jacobson, Laura Johnson, Haley Lasley, Ingrid Straume) 1:43.72; 100 backstroke—1. Mckee 57.94, 2. Yap 59.81, 3. Armstrong 59.85; 100 breaststroke—1. Dan. Booth 1:08.56, 2. Brock 1:09.69, 3. Straume 1:10.29; 400 freestyle relay—1. Cascade (K. Laurent, Carlson, Dar. Booth, Dan. Booth) 3:42.11, 2. Kamiak (Johnson, Lasley, Errin Hendrickson, Straume) 3:47.61.