Region 9 Swimming Championships, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — A few years ago, Katelyn Gross and her sister Kristen were approached about joining the swim team in Cedar City.
“We really didn’t want to,” recalled Katelyn, now a sophomore at Cedar High School. “After the first day, we didn’t want to tell (our parents) about how excited we were.”
Fast forward to Saturday. The two were standing on the deck at Sand Hollow Aquatic Center with blue ribbons draped around their necks , celebrating the Region 9 championship with their teammates. The Lady Reds finished with 469 points while Desert Hills was second with 429 and Dixie was third with 398. Snow Canyon had 210, Pine View 159 and Hurricane 145.
On the boys side, Cedar won with 485 points while Desert Hills had 398 and Snow Canyon had 279. Dixie finished with 227, Pine View with 210 and Hurricane with 202.
The Gross sisters each claimed four blue ribbons – two in individual events and two in the relays. Katelyn won the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley, edging Snow Canyon’s Stephanie Dansie in both races.
“We both did really good,” Katelyn said of her and her opponent. “We both dropped time.”
Kristen, a junior, won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races and was a part of the two winning relay races as well.
“I’m just proud of my team to be able to pull together,” Kristen said. “It was really nice to push myself with my friends.”
For veteran Cedar High coach Dick Coston, the wins never get old.
“My kids did very well,” said Coston, who has been coaching since 1980. “I was very excited about our relays. Kristen and Katelyn were double winners and they’re not seniors.
“Then I had Felix Weingartner in the breaststroke, Calvin Brown in the 50- and 100-free and Alex Knight in 200 individual medley and 100-backstroke.”
The Redmen won both relays and also got a first-place finish from Jedd Kjar in the 100-yard butterfly.
Another winner for the Lady Reds was Elisa Price in the 100-yard backstroke.
“We have a whole bunch of ninth graders,” Coston continued. “Even our rookies dropped a lot of time.”
Cedar City athletes won seven of the 11 girls events and eight of the 11 boys events.
Desert Hills’ Megan Draney won the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle and Hurricane’s Ryan Bunn won both of the same boys events.
Abby McCoy of Desert Hills won the 100-yard breaststroke and the Thunder’s team of Draney, Mya Ottenschot, Molly McCoy and Abby McCoy won the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“Last night I knew I would go out fast,” Draney said of her races. “I had my best times lately.”
Draney continued, “This is my senior year; we’re all friends here.”
Bunn, a freshman, and Desert Hills’ 200-yard freestyle team of Trevor Larson, Lake Frehner, Josh Weiland and Camden Snow were the non-Cedar winners in the boys competition.
“I’m hoping to get state in the 200, but there are a lot of other good swimmers,” Bunn said of his goals now that he has region championships to his credit. I’ve been training hard and trying to get to this spot. It feels good getting it as a freshman. It’s going to be fun going forward.”
Next up for many of the Region 9 swimmers is the state meet at BYU on Feb. 12 and 13.