PROVO — It was a day of both heartbreak and redemption for the Sky View girls swimming team.
The Lady Bobcats could have easily panicked when they missed out on 34 team points after getting disqualified in the 200-yard medley relay, the first event on Day 2 of the 4A State Championships Saturday at BYU. Instead, Sky View displayed a lot of tenacity and heart in slowly working its way back into contention.
Sky View even clawed it way within one point of eventual champion Desert Hills heading into the final race, and then held off Snow Canyon for the second-place trophy. The Thunder amassed 260 points, which was 7.0 more than the Bobcats and 7.5 more than the Warriors.
It was also a great day for the Ridgeline and Green Canyon girls, which finished fourth and fifth with 208.5 and 154 points, respectively. Mountain Crest was 10th (83 points) and Logan 14th (46).
“I just know that our relay team and everyone else was really sad when we found out that we DQed,” SV standout Jenna Gibbons said. “... It was super, super disappointing to DQ that relay, but (SV head coach) Marcus (Singleton) did a great job of coming over and just telling us ‘if everyone puts in the work, we can still do it.’ And to come to the end of the meet and have (a chance), it’s really incredible that we’re this close.”
Gibbons was one of several Bobcats who propelled their team back in contention — Sky View would have finished second in the medley relay — as she secured a spot on the podium in her other three events. The junior breezed to her first state title with a personal record time of 1 minute, 7.66 seconds in the 100 breaststroke. It ended up being a 1-2 Sky View sweep as Allie Schwartz clocked in at 1:11.07 and was the silver medalist.
“It’s really, really cool,” Gibbons said. “Allie has been one of my top competitors and she’s really inspiring to me as a freshman. (She) always pushes me and she’s really great, and to be able to ... race with her at state and have her right behind me is so super cool.”
Gibbons was also the bronze medalist in the 100 butterfly (1:02.26) and anchored Sky View’s 200 free relay squad to the No. 3 spot on the podium. Gibbons was joined on that team by Emily Jenkins, Lauren Bassett and Dana Kim. In addition to beating everyone but Gibbons in the 100 breast, Schwartz was the bronze medalist in the 200 IM (2:18.47).
Schwartz and Gibbons were two of four Bobcats who placed in the top eight in both of their individual events. Allison Dean tied with teammate Ellie Legler for the third-best time in the 500 free (5:38.72), and finished fifth in the 100 fly (1:03.74). Legler was eighth in the 200 free (2:09.15).
Sky View, whose head coach, Marcus Singleton, was selected as the 4A Girls Coach of the Year, also received crucial points from senior Katelyn Wallace, who was sixth in the 100 fly (1:04.59) and won the B final of the 100 free (58.21). Four Bobcats placed among the top eight athletes in the 500 free as Sarah Olsen touched the wall sixth (5:49.56) and Bassett eighth (5:52.75). Olsen also reigned supreme in the B final of the 200 IM (2:27.00) and posted the seventh-fastest time overall, to boot.
Indeed, Sky View’s depth was on display at the two-day meet.
“I think it’s a lot to do with our coaching and how hard everyone works and the encouragement that we give each other,” Wallace said. “It helps us (develop) that depth because it makes everyone better, so I think that’s helped a lot (this season).”
Like Sky View, Ridgeline capped off a memorable 2019-20 campaign by putting together some of its best performances at state. It was an especially strong meet for Riverhawk sophomore Carly Eubanks, who anchored Ridgeline to victory in the 200 free relay, was the runner-up in the 50 free and tied for the title in a thrilling conclusion of the 100 free.
Eubanks was extra motivated after getting edged by Snow Canyon’s Gretchen Sneiders by two-10ths of a second for the 50 free crown. The sophomore clocked in at 24.88 in that race. Eubanks trailed Sneiders essentially the entire way in the 100 free, but pulled even at the very end. Both swimmers were credited with times of 54.12.
“It definitely added to the frustration,” Eubanks said of not winning the 50 free. “I don’t understand how you can drop a second within 24 hours, but I think it kind of fueled me, just kind of put me in my place, like I’m not the (top dog) out here. ... And that’s good to get that humility every once in a while. I mean, she’s a senior and she really worked hard for that and she deserved that, but it felt nice to kind of get back at her in that 100.”
Eubanks lowered her own school record in the 100 free and teamed up with Hailey Rigby, Sarah McNeil and Savannah Christensen to establish a new Ridgeline standard in the 200 free relay (1:43.51). The foursome of Eubanks, Christensen, Ava Caliendo and Rigby placed third in the 400 free relay and shaved time off their own school record for the second straight day (3:46.06).
Christensen capped off a great end to her prep career by placing fifth in the 200 free (2:05.82) and sixth in the 100 free (57.35), giving her four medals at the meet. Additionally, the foursome of Christensen, Rigby, Eubanks and Ava Caliendo finished third in the 400 free relay (3:46.06) and broke the school record.
“It’s been really fun,” Christensen said. “It’s nice to end with a bang, for sure. My teammates have been so good and we just have a lot of chemistry, and it’s just so much fun to race with them. And so it’s a really nice way ending my senior year with them.”
In addition to swimming legs on both of the aforementioned relays, Rigby powered her way to the silver medal in the 200 IM and was sixth in the 100 fly (1:05.04). The junior shaved time off her school record in the 200 IM (2:17.83), for good measure.
Indeed, Rigby, Christensen and Eubanks were instrumental in the Riverhawks claiming the No. 4 spot in the team competition.
“We work hard at practice and put a lot of effort in, and we really deserved (what we accomplished) today, so I’m super happy about it,” Christensen said.
Three other local athletes who showed their mettle at the meet were the Green Canyon sophomore tandem of Kaylee Coats and Mia Huebner, and Mountain Crest freshman Emilee Leishman.
Coats captured a bronze medal in the 200 free (school record time of 2:00.65) and a silver medal in the 500 free (5:33.71). The sophomore swam 1,700 yards over the course of the two days.
“I’m pretty exhausted, but you’ve kind of just got to push through mentally, and it really raises your mental game, I feel like,” Coats said. “But it’s super fun and you get two chances at (each event), so it’s nice.”
Cache Valley had six of the top eight competitors in the girls 500 free, with Coats leading the charge.
“We have such a competitive valley and it’s so much fun to race against all of the (local) girls,” Coats said. “They really push me to do my best.”
Like Coats, Huebner qualified for the A final in each of her individual swims. The sophomore recorded the fifth-best time in the 200 IM (2:24.18) and placed sixth in the 100 breast (1:14.39). Teammate Abbey Erickson was seventh in the 100 free (57.51).
Leishman finished fifth in the 500 free (5:45.97) and sixth in the 200 free (2:07.15). The freshman thoroughly enjoyed joining forces with the other local swimmers in dominating the 500 free.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I love seeing them reach their goals as I’m trying to reach mine. We really push each other.”
Logan junior Chessy Xu also fared well as she earned the right to stand on the No. 5 position on the podium in the 100 fly (1:04.88).