It was the kind of performance Taryn McEuen was hoping for from her Lady Riverhawks in their final high school swimming meet before the Region 11 Championships.
The Ridgeline girls dominated at the nine-team Highland Invitational, a two-day meet that concluded Saturday in Salt Lake City. The defending 4A state champions have now reigned supreme at two invitationals during the 2022-23 campaign and have finished second in three others—only losing to 5A and 6A programs.
The Riverhawks won five of the 11 events on their way to racking up 459 points, which was 155 more than runner-up Highland. Green Canyon and Mountain Crest also made the drive to Salt Lake County, and finished fourth and sixth on the girls side with 247 and 223 points, respectively.
“It was a great meet,” Ridgeline head coach Taryn McEuen said. “We had some great races. I wanted to put kids in events that may not be what we’ve been working on all season to see how they would do. It’s nice to get this win. Our expectations are high for ourselves, but we are prepared and motivated to do well.”
Both team titles were nearly captured by programs from Cache Valley as Springville edged Mountain Crest in the boys competition by eight points, 341-333. Green Canyon was seventh with 183 points, followed by Ridgeline in eighth with 172.
It was an especially memorable meet for Ridgeline’s Navie Powell, who earned the right to stand on the top spot of the podium in all four of her events. The senior joined forces with Laura Rigby, Isabelle Christensen and Sarah Cook to emerge victorious in the 200-yard freestyle and 400 free relays with times of 1 minute 45.13 seconds and 3:49.48, respectively. The Riverhawks won the longer of the two relays by nearly nine full seconds.
Powell was also triumphant in both of her individual swims as she recorded the fastest times in the 100 free (55.40) and 200 free (2:00.09).
The Lady Riverhawks prevailed in all three relays as Mackenzie Hansen, Kendra Warren, Ava Roberts and Brooklyn Bischoff teamed up to complete the 200 medley relay in 2:01.74.
In addition to Powell, four other local girls finished in the top five in both of their individual events in Ridgeline’s Rigby and Christensen, Mountain Crest’s Kyah Bindrup and Green Canyon’s Brynley Nielsen. Bindrup was the silver medalist in the 200 free (2:06.17) and 100 backstroke (1:04.19), while Nielsen was the runner-up in the 50 free (26.94) and bronze medalist in the 100 free (58.59). Rigby placed fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:07.49) and 100 back (1:06.18), while Christensen was fifth in the 200 IM (2:22.68) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.18).
Green Canyon had three of the top five finishers in the girls 50 free. Nielsen was immediately followed by bronze medalist Rylie Corry (27.04) and Christina Zhang (27.16), plus Ridgeline’s Bischoff was fifth (27.29) in that race.
Other Ridgeline girls who secured a spot in the top five in an individual event were Cook in the 100 free (fourth, 58.97) and Ava Caliendo in that same event (fifth, 59.47). The Riverhawks had three girls break the one-minute barrier in that race.
Mountain Crest’s Zoey Hunter was the bronze medalist in the 100 back (1:06.15), while teammate Emilee Leishman was fifth in the 500 free (5:56).
Ridgeline’s Luke Eubanks was the lone local champion in the boys competition as he was victorious in the 100 breast (1:04.96), plus finished fourth in the 200 free (1:53.43).
Like Eubanks, Mountain Crest’s Brayden Jarrett and Green Canyon’s Josh Miggin powered their way to a top five finish in both of their individual swims. Jarrett was the runner-up in the 500 free (5:06) and posted the third-fastest time in the 200 free (1:52.04), while Miggin was the bronze medalist in the 200 IM (2:13.09) and placed fourth in the 100 back (1:01.48).
Two other local boys who finished in the top five in an individual event were Mountain Crest’s Chris Lopez in the 50 free (fourth, 24.51) and Green Canyon’s Ivan Khimach in the 100 fly (fourth, 59.75).
The Region 11 Championships will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, at Utah State University’s HPER Pool.
Two local high school teams were in action last Saturday in the West Side boys and the Preston girls. The West Side boys withstood a late surge from district rival Soda Springs and traveled back to Dayton with a 50-46 victory, while the Preston girls were edged at home by non-district foe Filer, 40-37.
West Side (6-7, 2-0) raced out to a 18-8 lead over Soda Springs (1-12, 0-2) after eight minutes of action, took a four-point advantage into halftime and extended it to nine heading into the final quarter. The Pirates only went 2 of 6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, but made enough plays to improve to 2-0 in district play.
Owen Nielsen paced the Pirates with 13 points, immediately followed by Eli Brown with 12. Dylan Ralphs, Cash Wade and Ivan Campbell teamed up to score 22 points for West Side.
“Had a great start, but Soda kept it close,” WS head coach Tyler Brown said. “Could never put them away. Give them credit. They kept playing for four quarters.”
Meanwhile, Preston had a good chance to secure a season split with Filer, but the Wildcats (9-8) outscored the Indians 13-9 over the final eight minutes of action. Emma Kunz knocked down a trio of 3-pointers on her way to 13 points for Preston (1-13). Eight other athletes contributed in the scoring column for the hosts, but none of them with more than five points.