Taylor Ruck Leads Youth Dominated Field at Day One of Gresham Sectionals

Jan 16, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Taylor Ruck reacts after winning the women's 200 meter free final during the 2016 Arena Pro Swim Series at Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

By Katie Lively, Swimming World College Intern

As she cruised to victory in the 200 breast in 2:34.52, 14-year-old Kaitlyn Dobler of The Dolphins Portland Swimming (TDPS) secured her spot as the youngest event winner in an opening night that already favored the younger swimmers at the Western Region Sectionals in Mt. Hood, Oregon.

Dobler finished just under a second ahead of Coeur D’Alene Area Swim Team’s Sarah Nicholls (2:35.41) and Fort Collins Area Swim Team’s Jenna Beaury (2:35.48). She was one of six event winners aged 16 or under in a day that featured 10 individual events.

Joining her was 16-year-old Taylor Ruck of Scottsdale Aquatic Club (SAC), who finished the 100 free in 55.02, just over a second shy of the meet record of 54.01. She touched the wall more than a second ahead of Oregon high school state record holder Jamie Stone (56.39) of Mount Hood Aquatics (MHA) and Kylie Andrews (57.40) of Foothills Swim Team (FST).

Also just shy of a 100 free record was Kyle Robrock of the University of Denver Hilltoppers (TOPS), finishing just 0.64 off the men’s meet record in 50.96. The state of Colorado earned the top two spots with Christopher Nicholson of RallySport Aquatic Club (RACE) finishing second in 51.73, and Evan Carlson of Oregon’s Tualatin Hills Swim Club (THSC) snagged third in 52.29.

As a team, SAC earned three first place finishes on the night, more than any other team. In addition to Ruck’s victory in the 100 free, Kaleb Gould won the 200 back by nearly a second in 2:04.56 (missing the meet record by less than two seconds), with Cale Berkoff of Missoula Aquatic Club (MAC) finishing second in 2:05.38 and Gavin Olson of FST placing third in 2:06.80. In addition, Kelly Huffer won the 200 fly for SAC in 2:14.38 (also missing the record by less than two seconds), outlasting THSC’s Caitlyn Wilson (2:17.55) and TOPS’ Heidi Bradley (2:18.51).

Another swimmer who was less than two seconds short of achieving a meet record was 15-year-old 200 back winner Katherine Berkoff of MAC, who touched in 2:14.81. She held off Mara Newman (2:17.55) of Lake Oswego Swim Club (LOSC) and Sara Metzsch (2:18.04) of THSC.

Arguably the most dramatic finish occurred in the final event of the morning session as 15-year-old Luke Thornbrue of Hillsboro Swim Team barely held off Jonah Saya of Mission Aurora Colorado Swimming (MACS) in the 800 free. Thornbrue led by more than a second going into the final 50, but Saya challenged him at the end with a final 50 of 29.88 to finish in 8:29.47, less than half a second behind Thornbrue’s winning time of 8:29.09. A few seconds behind them, RACE’s Nathan Rock out-touched MHA’s Jacob Dexter for third after Dexter made up two seconds on Rock in the final 100 meters. Rock finished in 8:33.55 with Dexter right behind him in 8:33.65.

All results can be found on Meet Mobile.

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