Region 9 swimmers will battle Park City in state championships

Region 9 Swimming Championship, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

PROVO – Region 9 has some of the best swimmers in the 3A classification, but Park City will be heavily favored as a team in the 3A State Championships Friday and Saturday at Brigham Young University.

Two weeks ago, the Desert Hills girls and Cedar boys took home the region championships, but to overcome Park City will be a completely different feat.

“We can watch Park City swim fast. We’re probably in the top 5, but Park City is so far ahead of everybody,” Cedar head coach Richard Coston said. “I’ve got a lot of kids that will do well, but DH, both girls and boys, are excellent. Our region is the best one in the whole place. I think we will have to swim each race really fast and hard to win.”

Region 9 Swimming Championship, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Cedar has plenty of swimmers to watch out for that could individually win state. Garrett Dotson broke a school record in the breaststroke at the region competition. That race was swept by Cedar as Felix and Leon Weingartner took second and third. Coston also mentioned Alyssa Price and Kristen and Katelyn Gross who could take state among others.

Desert Hills girls finally beat Cedar to claim the region championship, but the boys lost by a half point to Cedar in the region meet. Thunder head coach Dani Caldwell said she plans on focusing on relays for state.

“We’re just going to try to get as many (swimmers) as we can to the podium,” she said. “Working on relays and relay exchanges is going to be a priority. Relays can be very strong, and you get double points for relays. I think that’s what did it for the teams (at region). Those relays really came together and powered through it.”

D-Hills swimmer Molly McCoy said the region meet has helped them prepare for state this weekend.

“We’re ready for state,” said McCoy, who is swimming in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races. “We’re excited about how (region) turned out. Now we’ve realized how good we (can be). How we’ve done (at region) will really help us for state.”

Ryan Bunn of Hurricane swims the 100 yard Butterfly, Region 9 Swimming Championship, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Pine View doesn’t have many chances in the final heat of events, while Hurricane’s best chance to have a state champion is Ryan Bunn in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.

Dixie and Snow Canyon also have swimmers that are poised to score some points and potentially take state individually also.

“I am really excited about a couple of our swimmers that did really well at region,” SC and Dixie head coach Tamra Lemmon said. “We’ve got Alina Barnes from Dixie who won the 100-freestyle at region. Nicole Christensen from Snow Canyon won the 200-freestyle and 500-freestyle at region. They’re both racing the 200 and 500 free at state. Nicole beat Alina by .02 seconds in the 200, so that will be an exciting race.”

Lemmon also said Dixie has been focusing on the relays, specifically the 4 X 100 freestyle and the medley relays. The DHS boys 4 X 100 relay is seeded as the second best team at the state meet, so they could rise up and take the gold.

Lemmon was also excited to see what happens with some of the swimmers that may not make the podium, but have come a long way to qualify for this meet.

Hanna Hanks swims the 100 yard Butterfly for Dixie, Region 9 Swimming Championship, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“We have a couple swimmers that won’t be on the podium, but they are pretty special,” she said. “Hanna Hanks is a senior at Dixie. She qualified for state for the first time. It’s pretty awesome for someone who has tried for all four years and finally gets the chance to swim. Cordell Wambach is a junior (at Snow Canyon), had never made state until this year. Not only had he never made state, but he was never really close. But he qualified for the 50-freestyle. He was able to really improve also by working hard year round.”

The 3A State Championship meet program and a link to follow the results live is at uhsaa.org.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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