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
2A girls finals
200-yard medley relay: 1. Rowland Hall (Haley Fort, Kelsey Oliver, Alexandra Moore, Julia Sanderson) 1:59.69; 2. North Summit (Stephanie Abdalla, Devon Robertson, Ariel Fitch, Tess Bonham) 2:08.66; 3. Emery (Madi Allinson, Kaitlyn Sailing, Laryssa Guymon, Chyanne Carter) 2:09.58; 4. Grand County (River Richards, Robin Willscheidt, Alexa Pierce, Mandy Wilkinson) 2:10.43; 5. Summit Academy (Mallory Bangerter, Kelsey Garden, Monique Marks, Kelsey George) 2:18.17; 6. South Summit (Elise Bush, Margherita Maccioni, Taylor Thompson, Erin Peterson) 2:26.03; 7. Delta (Jennifer Joseph, Christi Kooyman, Kahyla Yates, Noel Lebaron) 2:26.80
200-yard freestyle: 1. Stephanie Abdalla, North Summit, 2:07.47; 2. Haley Fort, Rowland Hall, 2:08.14; 3. Julia Sanderson, Rowland Hall, 2:15.05; 4. Mallory Bangerter, Summit Academy, 2:26.96; 5. Jayelen Knowles, Grand County, 2:31.75; 6. Briaunna Whitt, North Summit, 2:35.38
200-yard individual medley: 1. Kelsey Oliver, Rowland Hall, 2:16.68; 2. Laryssa Guymon, Emery, 2:26.51; 3. Kelsey Garden, Summit Academy, 2:43.80; 4. River Richards, Grand County, 2:46.47; 5. Tess Bonham, North Summit, 3:00.60; 6. Kaitlyn Sailing, Emery, 3:00.90
50-yard freesyle: 1. Ariel Fitch, North Summit, 25.79; 2. Jillian Combs, Waterford, 26.80; 3. Monique Marks, Summit Academy, 27.71; 4. Jessica Rasmussen, Wasatch Academy, 28.37; 5. Chyanne Carter, Emery, 28.81; 6. Elise Bush, South Summit, 28.92
100-yard butterfly: 1. Alexa Pierce, Grand County, 1:02.29; 2. Alexandra Moore, Rowland Hall, 1:06.33; 3. Kayla Yates, Delta, 1:17.79; 4. Melece Pulli, Emery, 1:21.56; 5. Kamryn Rossberg, Summit Academy, 1:24.07; 6. Jennifer Moody, North Summit, 1:24.55
100-yard freestyle: 1. Ariel Fitch, North Summit, 56.86; 2. Jillian Combs, Waterford, 1:00.27; 3. Alexandra Moore, Rowland Hall, 1:00.76; 4. Monique Marks, Summit Academy, 1:02.19; 5. Chyanne Carter, Emery, 1:03.84; 6. Robin Willscheidt, Grand County, 1:07.43
500-yard freestyle: 1. Kelsey Oliver, Rowland Hall, 5:26.93; 2. Stephanie Abdalla, North Summit, 5:50.37; 3. Julia Sanderson, Rowland Hall, 5:51.57; 4. Madi Allinson, Emery, 6:17.94; 5. Jayelen Knowles, Grand County, 6:52.21; 6. Krista Wright, Emery, 7:05.42
200-yard freestyle relay: 1. North Summit (Ariel Fitch, Tess Bonham, Devon Robertson, Stephanie Abdalla) 1:53.09; 2. Summit Academy (Monique Marks, Kelsey George, Kelsey Garden, Mallory Bangerter) 1:56.32; 3. Emery (Chyanne Carter, Melece Pulli, Madi Allinson, Laryssa Guymon) 1:57.19; 4. Grand County (Cora Johnston, Sadie Bown, Mandy Wilkinson, Jayelen Knowles) 2:11.65; 5. South Summit (Kelsey Slaugh, Olivia Johnson, Taylor Thompson, Elise Bush) 2:12.33; 6. Delta (Lydia Harris, Hanna Plumb, Christi Kooyman, Noel Lebaron) 2:15.90
100-yard backstroke: 1. Alexa Pierce, Grand County, 1:03.91; 2. Haley Fort, Rowland Hall, 1:04.15; 3. Madi Allinson, Emery, 1:12.05; 4. Elise Bush, South Summit, 1:17.61; 5. Mallory Bangerter, Summit Academy, 1:15.04; 6. Tess Bonham, North Summit, 1:19.91
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Laryssa Guymon, Emery, 1:11.76; 2. Jessica Rasmussen, Wasatch Academy, 1:14.27; 3. Robin Willscheidt, Grand County, 1:21.94; 4. River Richards, Grand County, 1:22.85; 5. Kelsey Garden, Summit Academy, 1:24.69; 6. Kaitlyn Sailing, Emery, 1:24.89
400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Rowland Hall (Julia Sanderson, Haley Fort, Alexandra Moore, Kelsey Oliver) 3:59.54; 2. Grand County (Cora Johnston, Sadie Bown, Jayelen Knowles, Alexa Pierce) 4:40.42; 3. North Summit (Abbi Zwahlen, Jennifer Moody, Jordynn Scholes, Briaunna Whitt) 4:47.11; 4. Emery (Krista Wright, Jamie Gilbert, Kaitlyn Sailing, Melece Pulli) 4:53.69; 5. Delta (Kayla Yates, Traci Hoggard, Hanna Plumb, Jennifer Joseph) 5:25.39; 6. South Summit (Margherita Maccioni, Tori Ure, Kelsey Slaugh, Erin Peterson) 5:41.20
2A boys finals
200-yard medley relay: 1. Summit Academy (Austin Wistisen, Warren Schiffbauer, Jacob Brook, Brayden George) 1:52.46; 2. Emery (Spencer Fauver, Kelven Childs, McKade Hansen, Justan Potter) 1:55.48; 3. Grand County (Duncan Reidhead, Treyton Helquist, Jackson Knowles, C.J. Hren) 1:57.88; 4. Rowland Hall (Isaac Laundau, Kenzo Okazaki, Maxwell Milavetz, Ethan Goh) 1:59.68; 5. North Summit (Holden Jones, Morgan Judd, Jaycob Blonquist, Jace Hirzel) 2:00.62; 6. Delta (Kyle Yates, Jacob Bliss, Taylor Anderson, Carson Willoughby) 2:01.32; 7. South Summit (Parker Baldwin, Andrew Williams, Mark Whitmore, Mark Watson) 2:19.22
200—yard freestyle: 1. Jacob Brook, Summit Academy, 1:50.57; 2. Jackson Knowles, Grand County, 2:00.54; 3. Austin Wistisen, Summit Academy, 2:06.25; 4. Sam Crittenden, North Summit, 2:07.23; 5. Morgan Abbott, Delta, 2:12.84; 6. Brayden George, Summit Academy, 2:13.49
200-yard individual medley: 1. Benjamin Willmore, Rowland Hall, 1:59.63; 2. Isaac Laundau, Rowland Hall, 2:23.89; 3. McKinley Card, South Summit, 2:28.01; 4. Kyle Yates, Delta, 2:29.25; 5. Ben Hermansen, South Summit, 2:33.92; 6. Jayden Grose, Millard, 2:34.01
50-yard freestyle: 1. Lachlan Murphy, Rowland Hall, 22.68; 2. Spencer Fauver, Emery, 24.06; 3. Jack Gronen, Telos Academy, 24.21; 4. Jace Hirzel, North Summit, 24.24; 5. Dominic Stagg, South Summit, 24.38; 5. Mitch Sterner, Telos Academy, 24.38
100-yard butterfly: 1. Jackson Knowles, Grand County, 58.29; 2. Dominic Stagg, South Summit, 1:01.49; 3. Taylor Anderson, Delta, 1:04.11; 4. Maxwell Milavetz, Rowland Hall, 1:05.67; 5. Donovan Murphy, Rowland Hall, 1:07.69; 6. McKinley Card, South Summit, 1:08.06
100-yard freestyle: 1. Lachlan Murphy, Rowland Hall, 50.14; 2. Spencer Fauver, Emery, 53.25; 3. Ryan Laughbon, Intermountain Christian, 53.94; 4. Justan Potter, Emery, 54.95; 5. Mitch Sterner, Telos Academy, 55.91; 6. Hudson Zwahlen, North Summit, 56.34
500-yard freestyle: 1. Benjamin Willmore, Rowland Hall, 4:51.13; Jacob Brook, Summit Academy, 4:52.93; 3. Taylor Anderson, Delta, 6:02.99; 4. Morgan Abbott, Delta, 6:05.91; 5. Brayden George, Summit Academy, 6:13.06; 6. Ethan Goh, Rowland Hall, 6:19.83
200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Rowland Hall (Benjamin Willmore, Maxwell Milavetz, Donovan Murphy, Lachlan Murphy) 1:38.17; 2. North Summit (Sam Crittenden, Trystin Hellander, Jace Hirzel, Hudson Zwahlen) 1:39.16; 3. South Summit (Brigham Stagg, Ben Hermansen, McKinley Card, Dominic Stagg) 1:42.50; 4. Telos Academy (Jack Gronen, Christopher McDanel, Ryan Shirley, Mitch Sterner) 1:42.75; 5. Grand County (Jackson Knowles, River Murdock, C.J. Hren, Duncan Reidhead) 1:43.38; Emery (McKade Hansen, Kayden Parkins, Devin Wilson, Nate Gilbert) 1:50.09
100-yard backstroke: 1. Same Crittenden, North Summit, 1:01.74; 2. Austin Wistisen, Summit Academy, 1:02.57; 3. Ryan Laughbon, Intermountain Christian, 1:04.22; 4. Trystin Hellander, North Summit, 1:06.07; 5. Jayden Grose, Millard, 1:06.17; 6. Jack Gronen, Telos Academy, 1:06.40
100-yard breaststroke: 1. Isaac Landau, Rowland Hall, 1:09.76; 2. Treyton Helquist, Grand County, 1:13.17; 3. Ben Hermansen, South Summit, 1:13.34; 4. Kelven Childs, Emery, 1:13.42; 5. Warren Schiffbauer, Summit Academy, 1:14.40; 6. Eisley Scholes, North Summit, 1:14.91Comment on this story
400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Rowland Hall (Lachlan Murphy, Ethan Goh, Donovan Murphy, Benjamin Willmore) 3:39.83; 2. Emery (Justin Potter, Kayden Parkins, Levi Jensen, Spencer Fauver) 3:48.47; 3. Summit Academy (Jacob Brook, Autin Wistisen, Brayden George, Warren Schiffbauer) 3:51.77; 4. South Summit (Brigham Stagg, Ben Hermansen, McKinley Card, Dominic Stagg) 3:56.93; 5. Delta (Morgan Abbott, Justin Visser, Carson Willoughby, Kyle Yates) 4:35.73; 6. Grand County (River Murdock, Wiley Sheldon, Treyton Helquist, Drake Hackney) 4:47.23