Desert Hills boys win 4A state swim title; Lady Thunder take third

Desert Hills High boys swimmers and coaches take a celebratory plunge in the pool after taking first place at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

BOUNTIFUL — The Desert Hills High School boys swim team won the school’s first-ever swimming state title Saturday, with the Thunder confidently sweeping all three relay races and making it to the medals podium in numerous individual events.

The meet, which took place Friday and Saturday at the South Davis Recreation Center in Bountiful, featured a total of 23 schools in the Utah High School Activities Association’s 4A classification.

Desert Hills High boys pose atop medals podium after winning the 200-yard medley relay at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 9, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In the final event Saturday, the 400-yard freeestyle relay, the Desert Hills foursome of Trevor Larson, Noah Ashton, Keegan Wawrzyniak and Payton Plumb powered its way to victory in a time of 3:14.59, more than two seconds faster than their previous season best.

That final win cemented the Thunder’s top finish in the 4A standings, with Desert Hills taking first with 273 points to runner-up Mountain Crest’s 247. Rounding out the top five teams in the boys competition were Park City in third with 208, Juan Diego Catholic in fourth with 176, and Cedar in fifth with 165.

In the girls competition, Park City’s Lady Miners took home the 4A title with 355 team points, while second place Sky View had 257 and third-place Desert Hills had 252.5. The Orem girls were fourth with 160 and Lehi took fifth with 143.

Plumb swam personal-best times in both of his individual events, taking first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:56.32 and second in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.18. He shared the 4A male swimmer of the year trophy with Sky View junior Jake Walters, who edged Plumb in the 100 back with a time of 50.67 and placed third in the 100-yard butterfly.

The Desert Hills boys also saw three swimmers medal in the 50-yard freestyle by placing among the top six finishers. Sophomore Ashton Anderson placed third 21.91, junior Wawrzyniak took fourth in 21.92, and senior Ashton placed sixth in 22.20. In addition, in the 100 free, Wawrzyniak placed second in 47.82 and Ashton took sixth in 49.20.

In the 200 medley relay, the Thunder’s winning team consisted of Plumb, Talon Shakespear, Anderson and Larson. Their time of 1:40.26 was just 0.12 of a second faster than runner-up Juan Diego’s  1:40.38. Desert Hills also won the 200-free relay, with Anderson, Larson, Ashton and Wawrzyniak posting a time of 1:28.00, nearly two seconds faster than Mountain Crest’s runner-up time of 1:29.95.

Desert Hills High boys celebrate with trophy after taking first place at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Desert Hills coach Dani Caldwell said she and her athletes knew they would face tough competition in their first-ever tournament in the 4A classification.

“On paper, we knew that Mountain Crest would be tough to beat,” Caldwell said.

The Desert Hills boys had placed among the top five teams at the 3A state tournaments in each of the past several years, but had not finished higher than third.

“We’ve been close so many times,” Caldwell added. “We finally were able to come together.

“I’m really proud of how they swam,” said Caldwell, who shared 4A boys coach of the year honors with fellow DHHS coach Shawn King.

“I am just as impressed at watching them rally around each other to lift and inspire,” Caldwell said. “They showed great sportsmanship and grace under pressure. We really couldn’t have asked for more.”

Following the presentation of the trophy, the Desert Hills boys and their coaches took a celebratory plunge in the pool.

Hurricane junior Ryan Bunn competes in the 100-yard butterfly at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Other noteworthy performances by Region 9 male athletes include Hurricane junior Ryan Bunn’s victory in the 200-yard freestyle in a personal-best time of 1:43.62. He also swam a personal best in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.90, but placed second in that race to Lehi junior Nic Tronson, who finished in 51.77.

“That kid from Lehi swam a perfect race,” said Hurricane coach Heath Thurston. “Ryan’s split time was phenomenal, and he stayed strong right until the end. I actually thought Ryan had out-touched (Tronson), and had to look up at the scoreboard to see who’d won. I think if the race would have been about a yard longer, Ryan would’ve caught him.”

Bunn also swam the first leg of the 400-free relay at the end of the meet; his time of 46.84 in that relay was actually more than a half-second faster than the winning time in the individual 100 freestyle.

Cedar High senior Garrett Dotson wins the 100-yard breaststroke ahead of runner-up Alexander Gustat of Juan Diego, at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Senior Garrett Dotson of Cedar High was also an individual state champion, taking first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.80, a personal best. His younger brother Reuben Dotson, a sophomore for the Redmen, took sixth in that same event with a time of 1:03.02. Garrett Dotson also placed fifth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.93.

In the girls events, several Region 9 swimmers placed highly and won medals at state.

Desert Hills freshman Caitlin Romprey edged top-seeded Elisa Price of Cedar in the 100-yard backstroke. Romprey’s winning time was 58.13, while runner-up Price finished in 58.86.

In the girls 50 free, Desert Hills junior Mya Ottenschot placed third in 24.95, while Cedar’s Aspen Bonzo took sixth in 25.20. Ottenschot also took fourth in the 100 free with a time of 54.81, and Bonzo placed fifth in the 100 free with a time of 55.52.

Cedar junior Elisa Price (left) and Desert Hills freshman Caitlin Romprey appear to be in a dead heat as they make the final flip turn in the 100-yard backstroke at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018. Romprey edged Price to win the race by less than one second. | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Stephanie Dansie, a Snow Canyon junior, placed third in the 200 IM with a time of 2:13.99. Dansie also placed second in the 100 fly with a time of 1:00.28. Price took third in the 100 fly with a time of 1:01.57, and Dixie’s Hailey Greer was fourth in 1:01.63.

Trinity Shimbeck, a junior from Desert Hills, placed fourth in the 200 free with a time of 1:59.78. Teammate Sarah Hansen, also a junior, placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.29. Hansen also took fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:14.96.

Hurricane senior Becky Douglas finished fifth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:11.97, while Dixie junior Samari Nelson placed sixth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:12.34.

Snow Canyon freshman Cambria Callaway placed third in the 500 free with a time of 5:25.30. She also took seventh in the 200 IM.

The Desert Hills Lady Thunder placed first in the 200 free relay, second in the 200 medley relay, and third in the 400 free relay.

Snow Canyon junior Amber Graves swims the anchor leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay at the state 4A championships, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 10, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The biggest applause of the day came for Snow Canyon junior Amber Graves, a swimmer with Down syndrome who anchored the 200-yard freestyle relay for the Lady Warriors. Graves, swimming in place of her younger sister Breanna, followed teammates Ryleigh Foggin, Hallie Steel, and Melinda Hughes in posting a total time of 2:17.78. They finished in 16th and last place, but the race was seen as a victory for supporters of the #letthemswim initiative that hopes to see an adaptive 50-yard freestyle heat added to future UHSAA state meets.

Also on Saturday, three senior athletes from Region 9 were named to the prestigious UHSAA Academic All-State 4A swim team. Abby Nelson of Cedar and Samari Nelson of Dixie were named to the girls team, and Canyon View’s Sterling Bradshaw was named to the boys team. Both 4A Academic All-State teams have perfect cumulative GPAs of 4.0.

State 4A Championship Girls top-10 team results (Region 9 schools in bold)

  1. Park City 355
  2. Sky View 257
  3. Desert Hills 252.5
  4. Orem 160
  5. Lehi 143
  6. Cedar 135.5
  7. Snow Canyon 126
  8. Ridgeline 114
  9. (tie) Dixie 94 and Green Canyon 94

State 4A Championship Boys top-10 team results (Region 9 schools in bold)

  1. Desert Hills 273
  2. Mountain Crest 247
  3. Park City 208
  4. Juan Diego Catholic 176
  5. Cedar 165
  6. Lehi 144
  7. SkyView 132
  8. Tooele 125
  9. Spanish Fork 108
  10. Green Canyon 97

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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