By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Ari Davis
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 7.
#7 – Mining for gold
You’d expect to see gold medals flowing when skiers gather at a ski resort in Park City, but the 2015 state swimming championships saw a steady flow of gold headed that way as well. Of the 22 events contested at the 3A state meet, 18 were won by Park City High swimmers and in many of those events two, three or even four Miners were on the podium.
It was as impressive a showing as you can possibly imagine from one high school at a state championship event, and Park City’s swimmers capped it all by setting six new 3A state records. Wow!
The Miner boys captured 434.5 points to win the state title, nearly 200 points ahead of second-place Cedar. The margin for the Park City girls was even greater as a deep, talented and still young group of young ladies rolled up 581 points to best Cedar by almost 300.
Girls Talent Runs Deep
The Park City girls won 10 of the 11 events and set four of the state records, including all-time Class 3A bests in all three relays. Sophomore Rozie Selznick and senior Alandra McDowell were both two-time individual champions, and Selznick was part of two of those record-setting relays, while McDowell was on one of the relay units.
Others who won individual titles included the younger McDowell, Blaire, who set a new 3A state record in the 100-yard breaststroke. Junior Mara Selznick and freshman Katie Hale were the others to reach the top of the podium.
Even more impressive, the Lady Miners also had second-place finishes in six of the 11 events and multiple third and fourth-place results. It was an overwhelmingly dominant performance for Park City.
In all, the Miner girls placed a dozen different swimmers on the podium in one event or another and just three of those – Alandra McDowell, Becca Selznick and Megan Flake – were seniors. Imagine what this team could do next season.
Boys Also Impress
Depth was also a strength for the Park City boys team, as the Miners won all three relays as well, with one state record, in the 200-yard freestyle relay, mixed in. Junior Jinwon Bailar was the top individual swimmer, as he set a new 3A state record in the 100 backstroke. Bailar was also on the record-setting relay and the state champion 400 free relay and won the 200-yard individual medley.
Freshman Lucas Hess was also a four-time gold medalist as part of the both freestyle relays and the individual champion in both the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. Junior Vincent Hess was the other Park City boys swimmer to take the top spot on the podium.
Nine different members of the Miner boys team reached the podium at one level or another and as it is with the girls team, the large part of this group will be back, as just two seniors – Ryan Graves and Drew Sipple – were among the medalists.
So dominant was the performance of Park City at the state swimming championships that it is our No. 7 story of the 2014-2015 high school sports year.
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