Community Sports

Sports Beat | Gig Harbor’s Huston wins two swimming titles

Posted on February 22nd, 2024 By:

The Gig Harbor swimming and diving team scored 139 points on their way to an impressive sixth-place finish in the Class 3A boys swimming and diving championships at the King County Aquatic Center on Feb. 15-17.

Two individual state championships from senior Grant Huston, in the 100 and 200 yard freestyle, boosted the Tides’ score. The senior was one of only three contestants to earn double golds at this year’s state meet.

Huston one-ups brother

Huston broke the Gig Harbor school record with a 100 freestyle time of 45.41. The old record was held by his brother Drew, who won a state title in the 200 intermediate medley in 2022.

The Huston family must have been born under the sea in Atlantis. The tall, broad-shouldered brothers who were blessed with incredibly long arms have been near the top of the local swimming scene for a couple years.

“This feels great. My brother’s records were always something I’ve been trying to chase down,” Grant Huston said. “I took away his record today in the 100 freestyle so that was just really good. … I’m all over the school record board myself now and I’m happy about that.”

Grant Huston of Gig Harbor. Photo courtesy Gig Harbor High swimming

Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly said Huston “has a huge cardio capacity from being a kayak/canoe (and) water polo athlete. Add to this, Grant is very intelligent, self-driven, goal-oriented, and takes well to instruction.”

His coach said he has also concentrated on the little things to shave time. “Grant focused on improving his flip turns, as well as creating a second gear to help increase his speed late in races.”

Diving dominance

Sophomore Max Ferrier was the second-rated diver on the Tides’ team all season, but dove so well in the finals that he ended up being the second-best diver at the Class 3A state meet.

The area produced three of the top divers in the state. Peninsula sophomore Zachary Ruckle finished fourth with 273.90 points and Gig Harbor senior Wriley Savage finished sixth with 258.65 points.

Peninsula finished 16th as a team with 47 points. Jonah Bergerson led the way by finishing fourth in the backstroke in a time of 51.63. Bergerson’s name now goes onto their record wall as he broke the Seahawk school record in the prelims a day earlier by swimming a 51.31, which topped the 52.2 set by Aki Mcfarlane in 2010.

Jonah Bergerson of Peninsula. Photo courtesy Peninsula High swimming

More wrestling

The Peninsula girls wrestling team won the Class 3A state championship during Mat Classic XXXV at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 16 and 17. Two Peninsula boys also placed in the event — Nehemiah Grandorff (37-13) was seventh at 150 pounds and two-time state placer Justin Phipps (38-10) was eighth at 120 pounds.

Gig Harbor sophomore Ella Nimrick placed sixth in the 100-pound girls division, losing to Peninsula’s Olivia Griffin 4-1 in the fifth-place match.

All three qualifying Gig Harbor boys wrestlers lost just shy of placing. Senior Jonah Edmund, junior Liam McDermott and freshman Jack Greer lost in the “blood round,” which is the highly competitive round of 12 that separates a top-eight finisher at state from the competitors who were oh so close.

Seasons ends in Spokane for PHS girls basketball

The Peninsula girls basketball team (14-10) lost their first-round game at the Class 3A state tournament to the Ridgeline Falcons, 49-39, in Spokane on Feb. 20.

The Seahawks played a good first half and took a 21-20 lead into halftime. But the Falcons outscored the Seahawks 19-7 in the third quarter.

Peninsula senior Kaylia Heidelberg finished with 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. Grace Richardson ended her outstanding junior year by scoring 14 points with seven rebounds and three steals.

The Seahawks lose five seniors in starters Heidelberg, Daisy Peay and Irene Segura and reserves Jillian Bunch and Audrey Walker.

Coach Hannah Lekson talks with her Peninsula High School girls basketball team.

Heidelberg in particular will be missed. Peninsula coach Hannah Lekson described her as “one of the greatest three-point shooters our school has ever seen and a great leader that will be impossible to replace.”

Lekson said Peay was “our player who always loved playing defense, that was capable of scoring but getting stops was her strength.” She described exchange student Segura as a “wonderful surprise for us, who made so many hustle plays that didn’t always go in the stat book.”

Tides boys ousted a game short of state

The Gig Harbor (21-7) boys basketball team lost back to back games by a combined six points in the District 3/4 tournament. The Tides’ season ended a game short of the state tournament following the defeats to Timberline and Lincoln of Tacoma.

In a loser-out game against Lincoln on Feb. 17 at Mount Tahoma High School, the Tides let a second-half lead slip away and fell by a score of 61-57. The Abes earned a state berth with the win.

Gig Harbor junior guard Cole Browne finished with a game-high 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting.  Michael Masini, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half but got only two shot attempts in the second half.

Gig Harbor graduates Luke Allison, who scored eight vs. Lincoln, along with Drake Matthies, Logan Parrish and Justin Grande.

Gig Harbor should return its two leading scorers, Cole Browne (front) and Michael Masini, next season. Photo by Christi Adams

Two place at bowling

Two local competitors finished in the top 20 in the Class 3A state bowling tournament at the Bowlero in Tukwilla on Feb. 2 and 3. Peninsula’s Ashley Richards finished 14th with a total of 1,021 pins knocked down over six frames. Gig Harbor’s Kim Bornt finished 20th with 951 pins.