Philomath High senior Carrson Hirte appears to be picking up right where he left off last season.
In the state meet up in Beaverton this past February, Hirte touched the wall in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.40 seconds and missed placing by one-tenth of a second. On Thursday at Clemens Community Pool in the school’s season opener, Hirte swam against four teammates and finished in 53.04 — just 0.64 of a second off his state pace.
Later in the 100 backstroke, Hirte swam against only himself and came in with a time of 59.53, an improvement from his 1:02.41 at the end of last season and just short of the school record time of 58.55.
Hirte’s impressive performance was just one of the bright spots in Philomath’s dual against visiting Sisters. The Warriors swept the meet — the boys by a margin of 88-18 and the girls winning 102-40.
One of the most thrilling races of the competition occurred between teammates in the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Kyah Weeber and senior Allison Neelands pushed each other and finished within two-tenths of one another on the clock. Weber won in 6:42.50 with Neelands coming in a sliver later at 6:42.69.
The meet saw limited entries from the opponent in many events which helped Philomath rack up points. Junior Marshall Morrison beat out a teammate to win the 200 freestyle in 2:53.47. He won the 500 free as the lone entrant with a time of 7:43.40. Senior Kellen Houchin won the 100 butterfly unchallenged in 1:11.15.
All three of the PHS boys relays swam only against themselves. The 200 medley of Hirte, junior Henry Katsikis, Houchin and freshman Cameron McLennan finished in 2:02.04. The 200 freestyle relay of freshman Blake Hauck, Morrison, freshman Evan Hernandez and Houchin covered the distance in 2:17.12. And in the 400 freestyle relay, freshman Isaac Avery, Katsikis, freshman Mason Stevens and Morrison finished in 5:19.25.
Joseph Souza was a highlight for Sisters with wins in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. McLennan had a noteworthy time in the 50 free with 29.28, which placed him third.
In other results from the girls’ portion of the dual, freshman Kathleen Donovan posted a win out of the 13 swimmers competing in the 50 freestyle with a time of 30.40. Donovan also took first in the 100 backstroke in 1:21.65.
PHS junior Madison Juhl took first place in the 100 freestyle in 1:14.00, which Coach Iliana Kaiser said was just ahead of her start time last season.
The team’s other victories came in the relays. The 200 medley relay foursome of sophomore Allister Mahoney, Weeber, senior Katherine Holden and Juhl beat out another Warriors team with a time of 2:30.22. In the 400 freestyle relay, Philomath swam alone and came in with a time of 4:53.53 with legs by Juhl, Neelands, Holden and Weeber.
Also noted by the coach, senior Marliese Navarrete bettered her top time in the 50 freestyle from last season by 2 seconds at 56.19.
Ella Bartlett won three individual events for Sisters — the 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
Philomath will compete again on Friday with a trip down to North Eugene for a tri-meet with the host and Junction City.