CEDAR CITY — The Snow Canyon girls and the Desert Hills boys won the Region 9 high school swimming championships this weekend.
The eight-team meet, held Friday and Saturday at the Cedar City Aquatic Center, featured a number of strong performances, as the swimmers were striving to qualify and prepare for the state meet just two weeks away.
Desert Hills came into the meet as the defending champions, with the Thunder boys and girls each having won both the Region 9 and 4A state titles last year.
This year, however, the Snow Canyon girls finished on top, thanks to several strong individual performances, plus victories in two of the three relay events.
The Warriors finished with 362 team points, while runner-up Desert Hills had 338.5 and third-place Cedar scored 292.
Meanwhile, the Desert Hills boys repeated as region champions with a team score of 408 points. Second-place Snow Canyon had 355 and host team Cedar took third with 250.5. See the bottom of story for complete listing of team results.
Shortly after the final races wrapped up and the last of the medals and trophies were handed out, both winning teams celebrated by making a traditional celebratory plunge into the pool taking their head coaches with them.
“We had a vision two years ago to do this, to accomplish this,” Snow Canyon head coach Charlie Barnett told St. George News shortly after emerging from the water. “We knew we had the talent, and these girls bought into everything. They took it to the next level and supported each other.”
“This is one really well-disciplined group of girls, and they knew coming in exactly what needed to happen and that’s what happened,” Barnett added.
Desert Hills coach Shawn King, also interviewed while dripping wet, was quick to credit Snow Canyon’s swimmers and coaches for their achievement.
“I have ultimate respect for Coach Barnett and the work he has done with his team,” King said. “He has his kids ready to race, and we respect how well they compete, which is a credit to him and the program he has built.”
As for the Thunder boys repeating as region champions, King said, “I thought the boys swam really, really well. We kind of knew coming in that we were in a good spot. I was really excited to see what they could put together. We had some great races.”
Desert Hills senior Payton Plumb, who has signed a letter of intent to swim at Brigham Young University next year, led the way for the Thunder with victories in both of his individual events. Plumb won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:57.81 and the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 51.16 seconds. He also swam the first leg of both the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay, helping the Thunder to first-place finishes in both races.
Ashton Anderson, also a senior at Desert Hills, won both of his individual events as well, taking first in the 50 free with a time of 22.31 seconds and first in the 100 free with a time of 47.33 seconds. He also anchored both of DHHS’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays, which each took first place.
Meanwhile, the Snow Canyon girls had two double winners in individual events. Sophomore Kylie Barber won the 100-yard butterfly in 59.25 seconds and the 200 IM in 2:15.68. Senior teammate Gretchen Snelders took first in both the 50 free (in 25.49 seconds) and the 100 free (in 55.21 seconds). They each swam legs on two of Snow Canyon’s three relays, helping the Warriors win two of those events and place second in the other.
Another double region champion was junior Caitlin Romprey of Desert Hills, who won the 200 free in a time of 1:58.12 and the 100 back in a time of 57.84. She also swam the backstroke leg of the Thunder’s 200 medley relay, which took first place.
Other noteworthy performances by Region 9 swimmers included the following:
Sophomore Grant Gibbs of Snow Canyon placed first in the boys 200 free with a time of 1:47.93, edging Hurricane senior Ethan Kochel, who finished in second in 1:51.22. Alex Haws of Desert Hills took third in the event with a time of 1:51.81.
Additionally, Kochel won the 100 fly in a time of 54.46, with runner-up Tyler Foggin of Snow Canyon finishing three seconds back with a time of 57.60. Snow Canyon’s Gibbs placed second in the 100 back with a time of 55.67.
Alex Haws of Desert Hills won the boys 500 free in a time of 5:04.16, a little more than three seconds ahead of runner-up Max Cannon of Canyon View, who finished in 5:07.43, and Max Barnett of Snow Canyon, who took third in 5:07.60.
Senior Reuben Dotson of Cedar won the boys 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 59.32, breaking his older brother Garrett’s school record. Dotson narrowly edged Desert Hills’ Iverson, who touched the wall in 59.58. Coming in third in the 100 breast was Canyon View’s Cannon, who finished in 1:01.62.
Kela Hansen of Desert Hills won the girls 500 free in a time of 5:36.34, more than 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Abigail Stratton of Crimson Cliffs, who finished in 5:51.86. Hansen also placed second overall in the 200 free with a time of 2:00.85.
Kyleigh Messinger of Crimson Cliffs placed first in the 100 breast with a time of 1:11.05. She also placed fourth in the 50 free.
To see an electronic pdf copy of the full meet results, click here.
Other Snow Canyon girls who earned points for the Warriors by placing highly in individual and team events included Cambria Callaway, Raegan Hopkins, Breanna Graves, Silvia Leon-Moreno, Liz Dunn and Hailee Phillips.
On a similar note, the Desert Hills boys were bolstered by the point contributions of several other swimmers, including Hyatt Iverson, Kade Bethers, Dallas Schimbeck, Carter Erickson, Luke Ashton, Sam McConkie and Matt Corwell.
The state 4A championships are Feb. 7-8 at Brigham Young University in Provo.
2020 Region 9 girls swimming championship results
- Snow Canyon 362
- Desert Hills 338.5
- Cedar City 292
- Crimson Cliffs 285
- Canyon View 202.5
- Hurricane 171
- Dixie 137
- Pine View 135
2020 Region 9 boys swimming championship results
- Desert Hills 408
- Snow Canyon 355
- Cedar City 250.5
- Dixie 237
- Canyon View 205.5
- Crimson Cliffs 194
- Hurricane 134
- Pine View 92
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