HYRUM, Cache County Skyline High's swim program is loaded with young talent.
It's just that, when placed in a high-school swimming environment, it's very raw.
That's why the Pepsi Challenge, held at Mountain Crest High, was so important for the 5A defending champions. The nine-team invitational provided the opportunity for Skyline's young talent to get a small taste of what a championship-level meet will feel like.
In that sense, mission accomplished.
And with several upper-classmen away, Skyline's fledging stars still made sure the Eagles did what they seemingly always do in the pool they won.
Skyline's girls team beat Weber 533-470, while Skyline's boys team beat Mountain Crest 466-416 on Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Challenge, which traditionally has been one of the top early season meets in northern Utah.
Skyline won the combined points competition over Weber, 999-873.
"We're a young team, so they need to experience a bunch of different things," Skyline coach Joe Pereira said. "They need to see that we're spread out that we're not just at one end. They needed to follow the leadership of the upper-classmen. And we did real well. We got what we wanted to get out of this meet."
"It's a time of the year when we're just getting work in," Pereira added, "but it's kind of an opportunity for (the young swimmers) to see what it's like."
The Pepsi Challenge awarded a trophy to the top male and female swimmer from each grade. Alexsa Savage (freshman), Angela Bennion (sophomore), Lisa Pazzi (junior) and Rachel Mosier (senior) swept the awards for Skyline on the girls side, while Skyline's boys team won three of the four awards on its side.
In addition to Savage and Bennion finishing first in their respective grades, Skyline's girls team impressively finished 1-2-3 in the freshman and sophomore divisions.
Mountain Crest sophomore Jake Taylor, a winner in the 200-yard free and 500 free, was the only non-Skyline swimmer to garner one of the individual honors.
Taylor said he enjoyed the chance to compete against and beat Skyline distance swimmer Josh Tanner."Him and I have gone back forever, so it was fun to compete against him," Taylor said. "He's fast, and I'm fast, so it's way fun to compete against him."
At Mountain Crest High
Combined team scores