Skyline knows what it's up against this weekend.

For the first time in years, the Eagles won't be favored to win two state championships when their boys and girls teams dive into the water at the 5A swim meet.

Skyline's girls team is a heavy favorite to garner its seventh consecutive state title, but Skyline's boys team finds itself in an unfamiliar role — that of underdog.

On paper — for what that's worth — the Eagles (268 points) trail West Jordan (320) by over 50 points and Brighton (292) by over 20 points heading into the meet.

The Eagles are by no means out of the championship picture, but they will need to swim as fast as possible and get some help to extend their seven-year 5A swimming reign.

According to Skyline coach Joe Pereira, the boys are looking forward to the challenge.

"My kids like (being the underdog) — there's no pressure," he said. "They get pressure from older swimmers; they get pressure from the alumni. But right now, they're not bringing home a trophy, so if they do bring home a trophy, it will be better than what we're supposed to do."

The first eight events of the 5A state championships will commence tonight inside the Richards Building at BYU, beginning at 5. The remaining 14 will be held Saturday starting at noon.

By all accounts, this weekend's boys race should be a three-team affair. No. 1 West Jordan, second-ranked Skyline and third-ranked Brighton will each have an opportunity to win the title, and it should be fascinating to see how everything plays out.

For Skyline, it's all about seeing whether the Eagles, who have been dominant in this decade, can somehow come from behind to record their eighth title in a row.

Skyline was stunned by Brighton at the Region 2 championships two weeks ago. However, the Eagles should swim much faster this weekend.

For Brighton, it's about seeing whether the Bengals can somehow maintain their momentum. Brighton was sensational at the Region 2 championships, but the question remains, can they possibly maintain or build on their success?

For West Jordan, it's all about seeing how the Jags handle the pressure in a championship-meet environment. Skyline and Brighton have been on top of swimming for some time, while West Jordan, aside from a second-place finish in 5A a year ago, is relatively unknown.

However, if guys step up behind stars Jordan Fletcher, Jordan Spoerri and Josh Loomis, the title could be the Jags' to lose.

"I don't think these kids are afraid of Skyline, and I don't think we're afraid of Brighton anymore. I think we want to compete," said West Jordan coach Kevin Fletcher, whose team received a motivational speech from legendary Utah boxer Gene Fullmer on Thursday afternoon.

On the girls side, expect Skyline to roll. Senior Marnie Knoop has provided leadership for the unproven but hugely talented Eagles, who have the deepest team of anyone in the state by far.

Individually, American Fork senior Candice Smith, a BYU-signee and Olympic trials qualifier, will attempt to fend off the charging pack en route to 5A girls Swimmer of the Meet honors.


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