High school swimming: North Summit, Rowland Hall shine in state's first ever 2A swim meet

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 10:30 p.m. MST

Rowland Hall's Kelsey Oliver reacts after winning the 500-yard freestyle during the 2A state high school swimming meet in Provo Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — After spending years in obscurity, some of the state's smallest schools finally had a chance to shine.

On Thursday, the Utah High School Activities Association held the first 2A high school state swim meet at BYU. With it came the opportunity for some of the smallest schools to compete on an even playing field.

For years, 2A programs were placed in the 3A meet against schools with much larger enrollments, and as a result they rarely made any kind of impact in the team competitions.

But Thursday was different, and the state's smallest schools relished the opportunity to be distinguished for their hard work.

"Doing it this way is obviously much better for us," said North Summit coach Yance Fawcett, who coached his girls team to the state's first ever 2A state swimming championship. "I think it helped the kids get more motivated — knowing we'd have a chance. I couldn't be more proud of them."

The North Summit girls team edged second-place Emery with 244 team points to 221. Rowland Hall finished third with 185 points — squeaking past Grand County, which finished with 181.

First-place finishers for the Braves included junior Stephanie Abdalla winning the 200-yard freestyle and senior Ariel Fitch winning both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle finals. As a team, the Braves captured first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay over Summit Academy.

"We came to play today and it's a great ending for a bunch of girls who really put forth the work," Fawcett said. "This team was focused on being more than a team, but a family and that's exactly what happened. We met our goals and got everyone swimming their best when it mattered."

On the boys side, Rowland Hall reigned supreme with 223 team points. Emery finished second with 170 and North Summit took third with 166.

Along with the state championship came coach of the year honors for Rowland Hall coach Sarah Watchorn.

"I'm really touched with the honor because we put so much into this," an emotional Watchorn said. "It's nice to be recognized for all the effort and hard work and I'm just blessed to have great kids to work with."

Rowland Hall swept the freestyle relays and was led individually by senior Lachlan Murphy, who finished first in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.

"He's our senior leader and all our seniors did a great job leading us this year," Watchorn said. "The great thing was having every single swimmer step up. Every single one of them helped get points and is a part of this."

Two swimmers who stepped up big for the Winged Lions were a couple of freshmen. Freshman Benjamin Wilmore took first in both the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley, while fellow underclassman Isaac Landau finished second in the 200-yard individual medley and first in the 100-yard breaststroke.

"We really have some great freshmen swimmers and they obviously helped us a lot today," Watchorn said. "It's just been an amazing day for all of us and something we won't forget."

2A state swimming meet

Thursday

At BYU

2A girls finals

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