PROVO — Another champion will be crowned this week when members of the 5A and 4A classifications will head to Brigham Young University for the opportunity to take home a state title in boys’ and girls’ swimming.
Locally, Woods Cross, Bountiful, Viewmont and Davis will take part in the three-day affair. Three of those teams carry the momentum of region championships.
Woods Cross’ boys’ and girls’ swim teams are two such teams that will bring region titles to the first day of swimming action.
The girls’ team, winners of three straight region titles and two straight top two finishes in the state competition, recently won the Region 6 title with a team score of 461, 46.5 points better than Highland and more than 100 points better than third-place Bountiful.
“It was a great year for both Woods Cross and Viewmont,” said Steve Doman, who coaches both the Wildcats and Vikings this season. “I’m fortunate to be coaching a team that’s won three out of four region titles this year. The Viewmont girls were very close, losing by only 40 points, but they swam well.”
Individually for Woods Cross, Alexis Ralph and Gabrielle Beard each ended up taking home individual titles, winning the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter butterfly, respectively.
The boys’ team also has its own run of success this season, having won the Region 6 crown and having broken several school records in the process. With a team score of 485, the Wildcats’ boys’ team was 61 points better than second place East.
Three school records, all nearly three decades old, fell during the boys’ run at the region title. Mitchel Hawley won the 500 freestyle event with a time of 4:59.09, beating the school (set in 1983) record by less than one second. The relay team of Hawley, Daniel Avery, Mitch Smith and Cameron Young also beat the school’s 17-year-old record in the 200-meter freestyle relay, while Avery, Hawley, Dylan Hall and Thomas Sheridan broke a 32-year-old record in winning the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Sheridan also won the 200-meter individual medley in record time beating out a 31 year old record by less than one second.
In all, the Wildcats will be sending 22 swimmers to the BYU pool as state qualifiers.
“With all the school records that were broken, I expect more could be smashed again at State,” said Doman. “The momentum of winning region does carry over, but the times of the other schools are right there with you, so you know what you have to do in order to win.”
The Vikings boys’ swim team will also be heading to the BYU pool with a region title, having beaten Kearns by 8.5 points during last week’s Region 2 final at the South Davis Recreation Center.
The Vikings, whose boys’ team has captured five Region 2 titles in the past five years, will look to improve on their 11t- place finish in last year’s finals, with the girls finishing 10th in the 2012 finals.
“We’ll have a large contingency of swimmers for Viewmont as well,” said Doman. “With 22 more swimmers heading to the competition, we’re going to look pretty strong against some of the other schools.”
For Davis, the Darts will be heading into the state competition reeling from a close region swim meet. The Darts placed second for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, having dropped to Weber in both divisions.
Amanda Bellison and Bailee Jensen will be two swimmers to look out for during the state competition. Both were two-time winners at the Region 1 meet.
Bellison won the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2:07.20 and the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:02.09. Jensen finished first in the 50-meter freestyle (27.11) and the 100-meter freestyle (59.13).
For the boys’ team, Ben Halls won the 100-meter butterfly and the 100-meter breaststroke. His brother Jesse claimed the 100-meter backstroke. The team also won the 200-meter medley relay at the region meet.
In the 5A ranks, Doman believes the Brighton Bengals will be the ones to beat this year. The Bengals won state titles in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions.
In 4A, defending champion Skyline will be on the lookout for both Woods Cross and Bountiful.
The Wildcats’ girls’ team finished second behind the Eagles, and Bountiful’s boys’ team finishing ahead of Woods Cross in fifth place.
Skyline swept the 4A class last year.
Regardless of what happens, Doman said he’s proud of the way both teams have swam this season.
“They’re a great group of swimmers and they work very hard,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure coaching both groups into the state competition.
The State 5A championships will start Thursday night and conclude on Friday, Feb. 8.
The 4A championships will start on Feb. 8 and end on Feb. 9.