PHS swimming state qualifiers
Philomath took five boys to the state meet — Micah Matthews, Kellen Houchin, Braedon Littrell, Carrson Hirte and alternate Henry Katsikis. (Photo provided by Daniel Mikula)

Hirte, Matthews, Houchin and Littrell place 6th in 4A/3A/2A/1A championships

Philomath High School’s 200-yard medley relay placed sixth at the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Swimming State Championships on Saturday in Beaverton.

Competing in the pool at the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center, junior Carrson Hirte, junior Micah Matthews, junior Kellen Houchin and senior Braedon Littrell covered the distance in 1:54.91. The time was nearly a second-and-a-half faster than the foursome’s performance at the district meet in Albany.

Philomath was sitting in fifth place with Hirte’s 28.29-second split in the backstroke. The teams shuffled over the course of the second leg with the Warriors in sixth just behind the team from Taft. That’s how the race finished. Newport won, edging Catlin Gabel by .05 of a second with a time of 1:45.25.

Matthews had a 32.77 split in the backstroke and Houchin followed with a 27.52 split in the butterfly. Littrell brought it home with a 26.33 freestyle split.

The two points earned in the event proved to be the team’s only ones in the meet. In the individual events, Hirte missed the top six by just one-tenth of a second in the 100-yard freestyle. Hirte finished in 52.40 seconds, which was 0.86 of a second faster than his district time. Senior Asa Frisbee of St. Mary’s won in 46.34 seconds. Henley’s Aiden Baizotti edged Hirte for sixth with a time of 52.30. Hirte beat out Hidden Valley’s Jonah Rasmussen for eighth by three-tenths of a second.

By the way, Frisbee broke the 4A/3A/2A/1A meet record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:41.71. The previous record had been held by North Bend’s Kevin Waller, who swam at 1:42.11 in 2011.

Houchin placed eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.19, which was 1.5 seconds faster than his district time. His time was 1.62 seconds behind the sixth-place finisher. Cove’s Tim Koza won the event in 1:00.18.

Hirte finished 10th in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.03 seconds — two-tenths of a second faster than his seeding time from districts. North Valley’s Carson Washburn easily won with a time of 21.78 seconds.

In the team race, Newport’s three-year run of championships ended with Catlin Gabel taking the title. Junior Akira Van de Groenendahl (100 backstroke), sophomore Hodge Dauler (500 freestyle) and the 400 freestyle relay won titles for the top team. It was the first team championship in swimming for the school since 2015.

Catlin Gabel had 53 points with Newport second at 39, St. Mary’s third at 36 and Madras fourth at 27.

For the girls, Sweet Home won the team title fairly handily with 87 points. Catlin Gabel was second with 66, Newport third with 25 and Henley fourth with 18.

Individually, Sweet Home’s Malia Hewitt (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) and Chloe Tyler (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke) each won two individual titles. Jamie Seward (50 freestyle) also won a title. Tyler’s time in the 100 backstroke broke the 4A/3A/2A/1A state record. The previous record of 56.64 was set in 2019 by Baker’s Brianna Stadler.