PROVO — Brighton High School is looking to extend its dominance in 5A swimming. The Bengal girls are looking to make it three state championships in a row this year, while the Brighton boys are in the hunt to make it a sweep with their fourth straight title.
Traditionally Skyline is Brighton's biggest threat, but the Eagles have moved to the 4A ranks and have already added two new state championship trophies to their collection.
However, do not assume that the Bengals are a shoo-in for the title just because their longtime rivals are out of the picture. Kearns, Bingham, Alta, and Lone Peak are all bringing impressive teams to the state championship and will be looking to end Brighton's stranglehold on the title.
In the boys division, the Bengals look almost unbeatable with swimmers like Trent Evans, Tanner Weist, and Long Gutierrez, who broke several state and 5A meet records last season and is the reigning champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly.
These swimmers are very talented but the thing that sets Brighton apart is its depth, thanks to Matt Templeman, Carson Malen, Hunter O'Neal and especially Kyle Spicer.
Gutierrez, Spicer, Evans and Weist were all members of last season's 400-yard freestyle relay team that took first place.
Kearns may not have the depth to compete with Brighton for the team title but Sam Huff, a senior for the Cougars, will definitely be looking to add some more hardware to his collection. Huff is trying to defend his 50- and 100-yard freestyle titles.
Blair Roberts and Shane Callihan are both expected to find the podium for Bingham in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke, while Joshua Haslam is looking to contend in the 100-yard butterfly.
The Miners will also challenge Brighton for the 200-yard medley relay title but, like Kearns, Bingham's squad lacks the depth necessary for the team title.
For the girls, Bingham looks like a serious contender thanks to strong relay teams in the 200-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle events.
Kirsten Mathewson is the most talented female swimmer for the Miners and she has a good chance to win both the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.
Lone Peak boasts a great female swimmer of its own in Sam Scoresby. Scoresby is the No. 1 seed in the 200-yard freestyle and has a chance to take the individual title in the 100-yard freestyle if she can find a way to close the gap between herself and Copper Hills' Kristine Pataray.
The Bengals' girls team is not as dominant as some of the previous teams that represented the school, but they still have strong relay teams and enough depth to contend for the title.
Kaitlyn Overstreet will find the podium in a few races and is the favorite in the 100-yard backstroke.
Another impressive swimmer for Brighton that will only get better with time is Katy Daggett, who is just a freshman. Daggett is looking to finish in the top three in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
Last, but certainly not least, is American Fork's Camille Okelberry. Okelberry is probably be the best distance swimmer in the girls division, as she is favored to win the 500-yard freestyle by more than eight seconds. She is also favored to win the 100-yard butterfly, though it is by a much narrower margin.
The 5A state meet kicks off at BYU on Friday at 5 p.m.
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