Jackson tops Snohomish, takes North dual-meet title

MILL CREEK — The high-pitched screams of encouragement seemed loud enough to make ears bleed and eyes cross. And for more than 90 minutes the noise rarely relented.

Welcome to Mill Creek Pool.

On Thursday, it was the site of a high school girls swimming showdown between two previously unbeaten squads: Host Jackson Timberwolves and the Snohomish Panthers. The winner’s prize was a Western Conference North Division dual-meet championship.

Propelled by a powerful start that included victories in the first seven races, Jackson surged to a 97-73 triumph over Snohomish. Jackson’s 200-yard medley relay group — Amber McDermott, Marina Pomar-Enders, Alana Pazevic and Erin Holladay — got it started by winning in one minute, 51.31 seconds, more than three seconds faster than Snohomish’s second-place unit.

The victory ignited Jackson and was the first of 11 Class 4A state qualifying times swum by the Timberwolves.

“With a team that’s as good as Snohomish is, as well-coached and talented as they are, it’s important to try to take them out of the meet. You don’t want to give a squad that talented a chance at the end,” Jackson girls swimming coach Drew Whorley said.

Jackson (8-0 Wesco North, 11-0 overall) built a 20-point lead through four events. The T-wolves finished with nine victories in 11 total events. The McDermott sisters and Pazevic had two individual-event wins apiece. Pazevic also helped a pair of first-place relays.

Said Pazevic: “We just went in there with everything we had and just killed it.”

“We definitely knew we were going to win,” Pomar-Enders said. “We were not letting anybody beat us.”

Pazevic swum season-best, state-qualifying times while winning the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. The latter performance was especially impressive, coach Whorley said, because the butterfly is a relatively new race for Pazevic.

The lone individual-event winner for Snohomish (6-1 in division) was Emily Ferreira, who was first in the 100 breaststroke in a state qualifying time of 1:08.24. Snohomish also prevailed in the 200 freestyle relay.

The Panthers, who altogether tallied four state qualifying times, performed well, Snohomish girls swimming coach Rob Serviss said, but Jackson was just too good in close races.

At least 60 fans — most rooting for Jackson — lined the edges of the pool. Along with the swimmers’ unstoppable enthusiasm, they helped generate an exciting vibe.

“These kind of meets — this is why we do high school swimming. We get a bunch of kids together who know what’s at stake and they’re all swimming really fast,” coach Serviss said.

“The atmosphere was just electric from start to finish,” he added.

The rowdy environment was motivating, said coach Whorley: “We have amazing support from the community and from the families. They show up and bring a lot of energy.”

Besides topping Snohomish, Jackson simultaneously won a dual meet against Glacier Peak Thursday, outscoring the 3A Grizzlies 112-58. Swimmers from all three schools participated but the event was scored as two separate dual meets. There was no diving competition because Jackson’s diving board doesn’t have an adjustable fulcrum, Whorley said.

Up next for Snohomish and Jackson, which appears to be a state-title contender, is the 4A Northwest District championships (Nov. 6-8 at Kamiak High). After placing seventh last year in the state team standings, Jackson wields a potent mix of talent that could help the T-wolves climb much higher in 2008.

“They’ve got a very, very strong state-level team and they have a lot of depth too,” Serviss said. “They’re just great all-around. I think that they’ve got a really bright future in the next two meets coming up — districts and state.”

At Mill Creek Pool

Jackson 97, Snohomish 73

200 medley relay-Jackson (Amber McDermott, Marina Pomar-Enders, Alana Pazevic, Erin Holladay) 1:51.31*; 200 freestyle-C. McDermott (Jackson) 1:58.61*; 200 individual medley-A. McDermott (Jackson) 2:04.76*; 50 freestyle-Pazevic (Jackson) 24.36*; Diving-was not held; 100 butterfly-Pazevic (Jackson) 57.37*; 100 freestyle-Holladay (Jackson) 55.74*; 500 freestyle-C. McDermott (Jackson) 5:15.24*; 200 freestyle relay-Snohomish (Jasmine Labitzke, Amanda Yelle, Alexa Weyer, Meghan Blue) 1:49.12; 100 backstroke-A. McDermott (Jackson) 59.16*; 100 breaststroke-Emily Ferreira (Snohomish) 1:08.24*; 400 freestyle relay-Jackson (Pazevic, Holladay, Pomar-Enders, A. McDermott) 3:40.25*. Records-Snohomish 6-1 in division, 8-1 overall. Jackson 8-0, 11-0.

*4A state meet qualifying time.

Writer Mike Cane: mcane@heraldnet.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.

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