Cedar boys, Canyon View girls repeat as state water polo champions

The Canyon View girls and Cedar High boys water polo teams, which won first place at the 4A state championships, Salt Lake County, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photos courtesy of Utah High School Water Polo Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — For the second straight year, the Cedar High boys water polo team and the Canyon View High girls team are state champions.

Members of the Cedar High boys water polo team, which won the 4A boys state championship, Salt Lake County, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Cedar Water Polo, St. George News / Cedar City News

Both squads successfully defended their state 4A titles during the recent state championships held in Salt Lake County.

In the 4A boys championship game May 18, the Redmen defeated the Hurricane-based Southern Utah Water Polo squad, 6-4. Cedar, the southern division’s top seed, had defeated Mountain Crest 13-6 the previous evening to advance to the title game. It marked the second straight year Cedar had defeated division rival Southern Utah in the state title game.

Zeb Parkinson, Cedar’s center, was named co-MVP on the 4A all-state team, sharing MVP honors with Cottonwood’s Chandler Copyak. Also receiving all-state honors for the Redmen were Michael Nelson, Parker Allen and Alan Moses.

Cedar head coach Alex Parkinson was named the 4A coach of the year.

Members of the Canyon View High girls water polo team, which won the 4A girls state championship, Salt Lake County, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah High School Water Polo Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

Meanwhile, in the girls tournament, Canyon View, the south’s top seed, edged past Skyline 10-9 on May 17 to advance to the next day’s final, where the Lady Falcons defeated Tooele, 7-4.

“Our girls just had an exceptional year,” said Canyon View head coach Kirt Brown, whose team finished the season with an 18-2 record.

Brown said the championship game against Tooele was “very close, back and forth” until the Lady Falcons were able to pull away with a couple late goals for the 7-4 victory.

The coach said the team’s conditioning helped make the difference in the players’ late-game stamina.

Members of the Hurricane-based Southern Utah Water Polo team, which finished second in the 4A boys state championship tournament, Salt Lake County, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah High School Water Polo Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We ran sprints every day, a large number of sprints, so most of our games were won in the fourth quarter because of their conditioning,” Brown said. “They also played very good defense and caused so many turnovers.”

Canyon View’s Jesliyn Anderson, who led the team with 55 goals, 21 assists and 32 steals, was named to the all-state first team, as was teammate Luckaia Strand. Also for the Falcons, Jessica Davenport and goalie Alissa Thomas both made the second team all-state, and Keeley Nelson earned an honorable mention.

After their respective wins, both champion teams were welcomed back to Cedar City with a traditional fire truck ride down Main Street, courtesy of the Cedar City Fire Department.

Cedar center Zeb Parkinson, who was named co-MVP on the all-state team, and his brother and head coach Alex Parkinson, following the Redmen’s victory in the 4A boys state championship, Salt Lake County, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Cedar Water Polo, St. George News / Cedar City News

Although water polo is not officially sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association, there are 22 high school club teams statewide that are affiliated with the Utah High School Water Polo Association, including 10 teams in the 4A classification and 12 in the 5A/6A.

The season started in early March and wrapped up with the state tournament in May. The top-seeded teams in the north and south divisions qualified for the state tournament, which was staged May 17-18 at the swimming pools of Kearns, Murray and Olympus high schools.

Following is a listing of the Southern Utah athletes named to the respective all-state teams:

Named to the first team all-state for the 4A girls were Jesliyn Anderson and Luckaia Strand of Canyon View and J’lyn Zerkle of Cedar, with Savannah Kochel of Southern Utah Water Polo and Jessica Davenport of Canyon View being named to the second team, along with goalie Alissa Thomas of Canyon View. Those receiving honorable mentions were Keeley Nelson of Canyon View, Madison Bergman of Southern Utah Water Polo and Sophia Sheehan of Cedar, along with goalkeepers Makenna Lewis of Cedar and Hally Loper of Southern Utah Water Polo.

The 4A boys all-state team included co-MVP Zeb Parkinson of Cedar, plus first-team selections Ethan Kochel and River Rowley of Southern Utah Water Polo and Zachary Bittmenn of Canyon View. Making second-team all-state were Michael Nelson and Parker Allen of Cedar and Karsten Nelson of Canyon View, with Alan Moses of Cedar getting honorable mention.

Boys 4A water polo state tournament final placings

  1. Cedar
  2. Southern Utah Water Polo
  3. Tooele
  4. Mountain Crest
  5. Canyon View
  6. Bear River
  7. Delta
  8. Cottonwood

Girls 4A water polo state tournament final placings

  1. Canyon View
  2. Tooele
  3. Skyline
  4. Cedar
  5. Bear River
  6. SUWP
  7. Mountain Crest

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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