When putting together his lineup for each dual meet, North Thurston High girls swimming coach Jak Ayres takes a similar approach to when he was sailing around the world decades ago.
“Planning for the worst, and hoping for the best,” Ayres said.
The best has panned out so far for the Rams. Since Ayres’ arrival back at North Thurston in 2009 – he founded the school’s girls swimming team in 1969 – the Rams have not lost a dual meet. After Thursday’s 130-50 win over crosstown rival Timberline, North Thurston boosted its dual-meet winning streak to 44 in a row and capped its fifth straight undefeated regular season.
“It’s a result of everyone having a good time and swimming well,” Ayres said. “It’s motivation to do well at a swimming meet.”
It’s the second consecutive senior class that will
graduate without having suffered a dual-meet loss. The year before Ayres took over the second time, the Rams went 9-3 after an undefeated 2007 regular season under coach Josh Stottlemyre.
“It’s been a good run,” Ayres said. “They (the seniors) don’t know what it feels like to lose.”
The opposing team that came closest to knocking off North Thurston was last year’s Tumwater squad, which placed second at the Class 2A state meet. The Rams’ depth and seven first-place times held off the Thunderbirds in a 110-76 victory.
This year, depth once again has aided North Thurston. Freshman Maya Lawson-Rivera has the team’s only state-qualifying time (1 minute, 10.25 seconds in the 100 breaststroke), but contributions also come from Arielle Howell, Sarah Topping, Megan Harn, Lauren Anderson, Saralyn Campbell, Silem Hernandez and Dana Lawson-Rivera. Maya Lawson-Rivera’s time in the 100 breaststroke broke Sam Anders’ 2-year-old school record and ranks in the top 10 in Class 3A.
The Rams are a favorite to defend their team title at the 3A Narrows League championships, which begin Friday at Mount Tahoma High School. They won last year’s meet with 347 points, while runner-up Shelton had 190.
COACHES TO BE HONORED
Longtime baseball coaches Todd McDougall and Lem Elway will be honored by the Washington American Legion Baseball Foundation and inducted into its newest Hall of Fame class Oct. 26. The late McDougall, who coached Legion baseball during his 20 years at Olympia High School, and Elway, who had 388 coaching victories with Anacortes, Hoquiam and Black Hills high schools, join a 14-member class that includes Todd Stottlemyre, Travis Buck and Jeremy Bonderman.
POSTSEASON TO START
The first fall postseason events begin Tuesday, when the 2A District IV boys golf tournament tees off at 9 a.m. at Riverside Golf Club in Chehalis. The two-day tournament continues Wednesday with a projected 15 golfers advancing to spring’s Class 2A tournament. Postseason cross-country starts Wednesday: the 4A and 3A Narrows League championships begin at 1:30 p.m. at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood; the 2A Evergreen Conference championships start at 4 p.m. at Pioneer Park in Tumwater. On Thursday, the 1A SWW Evergreen championships start at 4 p.m. at Lake Sylvia Park in Montesano, and the Pacific 2B championships begin at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Ocosta High School. The 4A Narrows League girls swimming championships begin at 4 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma High School.email@example.com theolympian.com/ south-sound-sports-blog @megwochnick