The girls are ready to rock.
The Hood River Valley swim team is sending a delegation of eight competitors to the state swimming championships this weekend, seven of them girls.
The big day by the HRV girls was capped by winning the Columbia River Conference girls swimming title. Pendleton won the boys title and the combined team title.
Caitlyn Fick, Kylie Webb, Rebekah Galvez, Alyssa Walker, Taylor Tyynismaa, Danielle Miller and Kayla Schilling will represent the HRV girls, while Connor Webb represents the HRV boys.
Fick, Webb, Galvez and Tyynismaa all qualified in the 200 medley relay in the first finals competition Saturday at the Hood River Aquatic Center. Tyynismaa would go on to equal teammate Danielle Miller with both competitors qualifying in four events. Tyynismaa also qualified in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay.
Miller qualified in the 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Alyssa Walker and Kyle Webb both qualified in three events. Webb will go in two relays, the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle, and also qualified in the 100 breaststroke.
Walker won the 200 IM and 100 butterfly and was also part of the 400 freestyle relay team.
Kayla Schilling was the other HRV female swimmer to qualify in multiple events, playing a part in the HRV wins in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
For the HRV boys Connor Webb goes to state in two events after winning the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
To get all three relay teams to state, the Eagles went with a bold strategy which either was going to go completely right or completely wrong.
Instead of stacking one relay team to ensure it got it, Ebbert swapped swimmers and spread around the talent across all three A teams in the relays.
"I split up some of my talented kids," Ebbert said. "That was a bit of a frightening decision; it could have gone bad if we hadn't won that."
"Last weekend he came to and said we might have different relays," Tyynismaa said. "It was a big shock, we were worried and nervous."
Instead of almost certainly cruising one relay team to state, the Eagles were going big or going home: They could either win all three or potentially lose all three.
It paid off in spades - barely.
The team of Fick, Webb, Galvez and Tyynismaa won by six seconds in the 200 medley relay; the 400 freestyle team won by 28 seconds. But things got interesting in the 200 freestyle.
The Eagles went into the last 50 meters slightly trailing Pendleton, but Walker tracked down and passed Jonicka Sperl to get HRV the win by six-hundredths of a second and set up the Eagles to send all three teams to state.
"That was nerve-wracking," Walker said. "I was just thinking that I've got to bring it home."
In the end, though, it worked out perfectly for HRV.
"It all paid off," said Fick.
The bold decision also set up the girls team victory for the Eagles and helped garner Ebbert coach of the year honors in his first season.
"I accept it on behalf of these guys," said Ebbert gesturing to his state qualifiers. "And also on behalf of my assistant coaches who have done far more work than I have."
The individual races of the night belonged to the 500 yard freestyles. The longest competitions had some of the closest finishes.
In the girls 500 yard freestyle, Miller and Erin Nelson of The Dalles-Wahtonka matched each other stroke-for-stroke practically every meter of the race. When one would pull a meter or two ahead, the other would quickly close the gap until they were neck-and-neck again.
They stayed that way right up until the thrilling finish, when Miller, swimming just her second 500 of the season, touched the time pad just before Nelson, and edged her out by seven-hundredths of a second.
"I knew that I had to stay with her," Miller said. "If she beat me I was going to be really upset."
The boys' race was nearly just as good. HRV's Addison Redmond easily won the morning qualifying heat, beating Evan O'Grady of Pendleton by nine seconds. However, O'Grady gave him a much stiffer challenge in the finals.
O'Grady and Redmond went charging out of the gate, and quickly left the rest of the field behind.
O'Grady evidently saved some energy from the morning as he began to pull away in the final third of the race. Redmond mounted a comeback attempt in the final 50 meters but could not catch the Pendleton junior.
The 500 free was HRV's best shot at getting more than one male to state for the first time since 2008.
Instead, Webb will again be HRV's sole male representative as he heads to state for third straight year.
However, the HRV boys showed significant improvement from last year, bolstered by larger numbers which allowed them to compete in every relay. The Eagles improved to the point where they easily took second place in the boys team standings after finishing last by a wide margin last year.
They also just missed out on getting their 400 freestyle relay team wild-carded to state after finishing second by just over a second to Pendleton.
"We had enough boys to make six full relays," Ebbert said. "That says a lot about needing a certain size of squad."
Now the Eagles going to state will try to maintain their intensity for the next week - and they don't think that will be a problem.
"I have a little left," said Schilling.
Added Galvez: "We're going to give it all we have."
1. HRV 227 2.Pendleton 144 3. The Dalles-Wahtonka 112 4. Hermiston 21
1. Pendleton 212 2. HRV 116 3. Hermiston 81 4. The Dalles-Wahtonka 78
Girls 200 Medley Relay
1 Fick, Webb, Galvez, Tyynismaa 2:02.59
4 Buttaccio, Engbersen, Paul, Raulston 2:21.24
Boys 200 Medley Relay
2 Mears, Webb, Redmond, Ybarra 1:57.63
6 Tyynismaa, Dalbey, Galvez, Cooper 2:22.61
Girls 200 Freestyle
2 Kayla Schilling 2:10.58
3 Caitlyn Fick 2:16.29
4 Erika Winner 2:21.53
6 Susan Raulston 2:31.91
Boys 200 Freestyle
3 Jacob Mears 2:12.19
Girls 200 IM
1 Alyssa Walker 2:18.25
2 Kylie Webb 2:22.09
Boys 200 IM
1 Connor Webb 2:00.70
4 Carlos Galvez 2:37.26
Girls 50 Freestyle
1 Taylor Tyynismaa 25.64
6 Rebekah Galvez 28.96
Boys 50 Freestyle
7 Diego Ybarra 26.51
Girls 100 Butterfly
1 Alyssa Walker 1:02.57
3 Rebekah Galvez 1:12.43
5 Lilly Paul 1:17.41
Boys 100 Butterfly
5 Carlos Galvez 1:12.35
6 Nick Cooper 1:33.48
Girls 100 Freestyle
1 Taylor Tyynismaa 55.78
6 Valeria Guerrero 1:19.57
7 Natalie Gilliam 1:20.61
8 Carla Guerrero 1:24.46
Boys 100 Freestyle
4 Diego Ybarra 58.65
5 Thomas Tyynismaa 59.94
Girls 500 Freestyle
1 Danielle Miller 5:47.65
4 Erika Winner 6:19.48
6 Roslyn Patrick 6:27.60
8 Anika Engbersen 6:39.96
Boys 500 Freestyle
2 Addison Redmond 5:27.97
Girls 200 Freestyle Relay
1 Schilling, Webb, Miller, Walker 1:49.10
4 Paul, Buttaccio, Patrick, Galvez 2:06.63
Boys 200 Freestyle Relay
3 Tyynismaa, Mears, Galvez, Redmond 1:48.79
7 Cooper, Kozec, Dalbey, Ishizaka 2:02.60
Girls 100 Backstroke
1 Danielle Miller 1:06.18
2 Caitlyn Fick 1:07.65
6 Roslyn Patrick 1:23.01
7 Lily Buttaccio 1:26.27
Boys 100 Backstroke
7 Thomas Tyynismaa 1:17.91
8 Willie Ishizaka 1:22.40
Girls 100 Breaststroke
1 Kylie Webb 1:13.85
3 Kayla Schilling 1:19.39
6 Anika Engbersen 1:23.40
Boys 100 Breaststroke
1 Connor Webb 1:01.93
6 Maxx Kozec 1:22.87
Girls 400 Freestyle Relay
1 Miller, Schilling, Walker, Tyynismaa 3:59.33
3 Fick, Winner, Patrick, Raulston 4:29.06
Boys 400 Freestyle Relay
2 Ybarra, Mears, Redmond, Webb 3:45.56
6 Dalbey, Cooper, Kozec, Ishizaka 4:46.08