Six months after having her first baby last year, Marissa Olsen was looking for a reason to get out of the house.
So she called Crescent Valley last fall to see if the school needed an assistant swim coach.
“They said, 'No, but we are looking for a head coach. Would you like to interview?'” said Olsen, 22. “And I ran with it.”
Longtime coach Rex Watkins, who had led the Raiders to eight state championships (seven girls, one boys), resigned in the month leading up to the season. The school opted to turn the program over to Olsen, a former Crescent Valley swimmer who graduated from Central in 2017.
“It's definitely huge shoes to fill,” Olsen said. “Even being one of Rex's swimmers, that's a really intimidating place to come from.”
Now Olsen finds herself in the midst of another championship push for the Raiders. After an impressive performance in the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet, Crescent Valley is in position to challenge for boys and girls titles in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A championships Friday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
“I think my kids are definitely going to be ready,” Olsen said. “They might surprise a few with their times. It's going to be a really exciting meet. I'm excited to see what the other conferences will bring, too.”
Crescent Valley's girls, going for a three-peat, are led by juniors Vivi Criscione and Viola Teglassy. Criscione won the 500-yard freestyle in the 2020 state meet and enters as the top seed in the event. Teglassy has the No. 2 qualifying times in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
“I think she's going to impress everyone,” Olsen said of Teglassy.
Senior Kaylee Dicey is seeded second behind Criscione in the 500 freestyle. The Raiders have a meet-high 13 entries with top-six qualifying times. Hood River Valley is next with eight.
Crescent Valley's boys are going for their first title since winning their only championship in 2007. It appears that it will come down to a race between the Raiders and conference rival West Albany, a team they outscored 468-460 to win the district title.
Crescent Valley used a win in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to defeat West Albany in the district meet. The Raiders, who have the top seed in the 400 freestyle relay, may need to do it again to overcome the Bulldogs at state. The relay was only two seconds off the school record at district.
“I think that's the boys' goal going into state,” Olsen said.
The season has been a baptism by fire for Olsen. She admitted that she was “terrified” at first about the responsibility of taking over the Crescent Valley program.
“I talked to my mom about it, and it was like, 'Well, this is a once-in-a-lifetime dream team that I could have an opportunity to coach,'” she said. “It just kind of fell into place.
“I kind of thought I'd be assisting or something. Never in a million years did I think I would be here at 22.”
A look at the state meets at Tualatin Hills:
6A – Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p,m.
Teams to watch: Lake Oswego, Jesuit, Sunset, Lakeridge
Returning state champions: None
2020 team scores: Jesuit 124, Lakeridge 68, West Linn 44, Sunset 41
Notes: After having its run of six consecutive titles interrupted by the COVID-19 crisis last year, Jesuit is looking to resume its dominance. But Nick Simons and Matthias Kruetzer, who won state titles as sophomores two years ago, are no longer on the team. The Crusaders need junior Diego Nosack, the top seed in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, to show the way. Nosack is committed to Northwestern. … Lake Oswego has the most top-six qualifying times with 10. The Lakers lone top seed is the 200 medley relay. …. Lakeridge has two top seeds in junior Aaron Tran (100 backstroke) and senior Andrew Huang (100 breaststroke). … Mountain View junior transfer Diggory Dillingham, who competed his first two high school seasons in Iowa and North Carolina, has the No. 2 time in the nation in the 50 freestyle for 18-and-under at 19.52. His time is faster than the OSAA meet record of 20.18 (Casey McEuen, Lebanon, 2018).
5A – Friday 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Teams to watch: Crescent Valley, West Albany
Returning state champions: Marcus Gentry, Crater, sr. (100 backstroke, 2019); Charley Page-Jones, Churchill, sr. (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly); Ryan Konop, Redmond, sr. (100 freestyle)
2020 team scores: Churchill 53, West Albany 39.5, Crescent Valley 30, North Bend 28.5
Notes: Gentry, who is headed to Notre Dame, won the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke as a freshman and the 200 freestyle as a sophomore. He is the top seed in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM. … The UNLV-bound Page-Jones is a two-time champion in both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. … Parkrose sophomore Thomas Olson is the No. 1 seed in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. … West Albany senior Luke Milburn has the top qualifying times in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. … The team race looks to be a duel between Mid-Willamette Conference rivals Crescent Valley and West Albany. The Raiders outscored the Bulldogs 468-460 at district.
4A/3A/2A/1A – Saturday, 4:45 p.m.-9 p.m.
Teams to watch: Catlin Gabel, Newport, Marshfield, Marist Catholic, Madras, La Grande, St. Mary's
Returning state champions: Carson Washburn, North Valley, sr. (50 freestyle); Glenn Ricker, La Grande, jr. (100 butterfly)
2020 team scores: Newport 75, Madras 30, St. Mary's 24, La Grande 23, Cascade Christian 23
Notes: Newport is going for its fourth consecutive title, but the Cubs will have plenty of competition in what appears to be a balanced field. Catlin Gabel, which hasn't won a title since 2015, has three No. 1 seeds in the 200 medley relay and sophomore Hodge Dauler in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. … Catlin Gabel, Marshfield and Marist Catholic are strong in all three relays. … Cove senior Tim Koza has the top qualifying times in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
6A – Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Teams to watch: Westview, Lake Oswego, Jesuit
Returning state champions: Fay Marie Lustria, Westview, sr. (100 butterfly); Anna Rauchholz, St. Mary's Academy, sr. (100 backstroke)
2020 team scores: Jesuit 110.5, Sunset 89.5, West Linn 63, Bend 53
Notes: Jesuit has won the last two titles and three since 2016. Metro League teams have won all but one team title since 2005, the only exception Century of the Pacific Conference in 2014. … Westview, which hasn't won a title since a four-peat from 2005 to 2008, has the firepower to challenge Jesuit and Lake Oswego for the championship. The Wildcats are seeded first in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. … Westview picked up a big transfer in the UCLA-bound Lustria, who won the 100 butterfly for Jesuit two years ago. She holds Jesuit school records in the 100 butterfly, 200 IM and both relays. She enters with the top seed in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM. … Jesuit is led by sophomore Sydney Wilson, who has the top qualifying times in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. … Jefferson senior Hazel Derr, committed to UC Santa Barbara, is the No. 1 seed in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
5A – Friday 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Teams to watch: Crescent Valley, Hood River Valley, Churchill, Redmond, Willamette
Returning state champions: Helena Jones, Wilsonville, jr. (6A 100 freestyle); Vivi Criscione, Crescent Valley, jr. (500 freestyle); Kylie Taylor, Churchill, sr. (100 backstroke)
2020 team scores: Crescent Valley 75, Churchill 50, Silverton 32
Notes: Crescent Valley pursues its third consecutive championship under a new coach in Marissa Olsen, who replaces Rex Watkins. With 13 top-six entries – including Criscione, the No. 1 seed in the 500 freestyle – the Raiders seem to have the inside track. … Churchill, last year's runner-up, has the top qualifying time in six events, including two relays. Taylor, who has signed with Pepperdine, is going for her third title in the 100 backstroke. The Lancers individual top seeds are Taylor (100 backstroke, 200 IM) and juniors Lauren Larsen (200 freestyle) and Kelsey Wasikowski (100 breaststroke), who won the 50 freestyle in 2020. … Wilsonville's Jones, committed to Georgia, won the 6A title in the 100 freestyle for West Linn in 2020. She is the top seed in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.
4A/3A/2A/1A – Saturday, 4:45 p.m.-9 p.m.
Teams to watch: Sweet Home, Catlin Gabel, Newport
Returning state champions: Brianna Stadler, Baker, sr. (100 backstroke 2019, 100 butterfly 2020); Chloe Tyler, Sweet Home, sr. (100 backstroke)
2020 team scores: Catlin Gabel 78, Sweet Home 65, La Grande 49
Notes: Sweet Home is the overwhelming favorite to win its fourth title since 2016. The Huskies have the top qualifying time in nine events, including all three relays. Individual top seeds for Sweet Home are Tyler (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke), senior Malia Hewitt (200 IM, 100 breaststroke), freshman Kirsten Sautel (200 freestyle) and senior Jamie Seward (50 freestyle). … Tyler is headed to Illinois State. … Stadler set the meet record in the 100 backstroke (56.64) in 2019. She is seeded second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 100 backstroke. … Catlin Gabel has two top qualifiers in sophomore Adrienne Tam (100 butterfly) and freshman Jane Hanson (500 freestyle).