The Copper Hills High School and West Jordan High School swimming teams both placed in the top 20 in the state last year, and are hoping to improve on those finishes this season.
Coach Erin Miller took over the Copper Hills program midway through last season to lead the girls squad to a 13th place finish at the 5A state championships, while the boys team took 17th, the best finishes in school history.
Region 3 50-freestyle and 100-freestyle champion Kristine Patteraay, who was the runner-up in both events at state in February, returns to captain the girls team. She is currently the top swimmer in the state in the 50 and 100 free. Captain Isabella DeRanieri also swims those events, along with the 200 individual medley. Lindsey Wensel rounds out the top three swimmers for the girls squad.
The boys team is captained by senior Jordan Jensen, who is among the top swimmers in the state, and Kyle McBeth. Hunter Neal swims the fly and free events and also ranks among the best in Utah. Jordan’s brother, Braden, who is a freshman, is among the top swimmers on the squad competing in the freestyle and butterfly events.
“It should be a fun year,” Miller said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these kids do.”
So far this season, Copper Hills placed second in a meet against Pleasant Grove, Granger and Spanish Fork Nov. 13, and second competing against Kearns and West Jordan on Nov. 29. The boys squad defeated Herriman in a dual meet Nov. 7.
The Copper Hills team also includes Lauren Argueta, Trevor Bowers, Ethan Brinton, Megan Burton, Sierra Christensen, Joe Davie, Cassandra Dworniczek, Hailee Eckman, Brock Forbush, Megan Forbush, Joshua Garcia, Benjamin Heninger, Jonathan Heninger, Fernando Herrera, Tyler Horne, Braden Jensen, Leigh Lazano, Estras Lbarva, Stefany Marquez, Kurtis McBeth, Braedon McCracken, Nicole Nigbur, Robby Norris, Kaycie North, Kelcie North, Madison Otto, Alexis Peterson, Brandon Pierce, Janet Sanchez, Ryan Smith, Spencer Thurman, Mckale Vance, Kyle Wensel and Alexis Wright.
The Grizzlies will compete at home against Cottonwood, Brighton and West Jordan, while traveling to Hunter, the Battle of the Sexes Invitational in Park City, Jordan, and the Logan Invitational before the Region 3 championship Jan. 26 and the 5A state championships Feb. 7-8 at Brigham Young University.
Senior Audree Van Valkenburg and senior Jaren Britton return to lead the girls and boys squads, who both placed 17th at state last year and fourth in Region 3. Britton is the second-ranked swimmer in the state in the 500 free.
So far this season, the team has competed at the Greg Fernley Invite in St. George Nov. 2-3, where Van Valkenburg dropped 10 seconds off her 500-freestyle time and sophomore Jeff Stanley swam the 200 IM 11 seconds faster than his previous personal best. The girls took third and had a good all-around meet against Murray, Judge Memorial and Stansbury Nov. 15, with the girls taking third and the boys placing fourth. At the Jordan School District Championships Nov. 20, the girls squad placed third, while the boys took fourth.
The West Jordan squad is captained by Kate Ertmann, Jake Peterson, Jeff Stanley and Jordan Steadman. Others on the team are Natalie Chipman, Ryan Ferris, Skylar Ferris, Brighton Gundersen, Breeanna Huntsman, Kylee Jacobsen, Hailie Jolley, Annica Klunker, Desirae LaFaye, Allyson Lamoreaux, Victor Laucas, Amy Lincoln, Sarah Rains, Kyler Salazar, Trevor Timpson and Jenny Zakotnik. Tucker is assisted on the coaching staff by Kelly Fausett.
“We strive to have well-rounded swimmers to make a strong all-around team,” said head coach Tawnee Tucker, who is in her fourth year at West Jordan. “I push them out of their comfort zone to swim a lot of different events which will help them in their stronger events.”
The Jaguars will compete against Cottonwood, Jordan, Highland, Brighton and Copper Hills. They will also compete in the Judge Memorial Holiday Classic and the Logan Invitational before the region and state meets.