Boys drown the Bulldogs |

Boys drown the Bulldogs

The Miners Julie Mollner tries to make her mark in the 50-meter freestyle race in Thursday's dual meet against Judge.

If there was any doubt among the Miners that it is now a brand new season a win by the boys team dispelled that. The team that was once was so lacking in depth and size was able to beat the 3A defending state champion Judge Bulldogs. Last year, the Bulldogs beat the boys by 100 points. This year the opposite was true, with the Miners winning by nearly a three digit margin.

Head coach Matt Hayes was quick to point out that the Bulldogs are having somewhat of a down year on the boys’ side, but a win still shows how far the Miners have come.

"We have enough this year. We’re much stronger than last year," Hayes said. Hayes said that after a meet earlier this year, the Tooele swim team figured out what the Bulldogs boys team had lost since last year. looking at the total number of points they garnered at the State championship last year, they figured that Judge lost 300 points of the 450 points they earned there to graduating seniors. "They still have great swimmers, but not the depth," Hayes said. "I don’t think they were too surprised. The Bulldogs also have a new coach after losing head coach Gail Meakins, who took an assistant coaching job at Cornell University this year. On the girls’ side, Judge won easily. The Miners made a strong showing, but were no match for the defending state champion Bulldogs. Much like the Judge boys, the Park City girls lost top swimmers to graduation and other situations. They had so many good swimmers. It was hard to watch," Hayes said. In the loss, the Miners still had top performers. Samantha Case led all girls swimming to a second-place finish in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles. Hayes also highlighted Amanda Margolis, who consistently swims well for the Miners after missing the postseason last year to a skiing injury. Hayes said another advantage of the meet was the fact that the Miners were facing just one team. With the swimming schedule dominated by invitationals, the Miners are rarely able to host a calm one-on-one meet, where they could really compare themselves directly against another team "It was nice. It was almost quiet," Hayes said. " This time I was looking to see who I need to score points." With the ability to design more of a game plan, Hayes reconstructed his 200-meter medley relay. Brent Weldon swam the backstroke and Dylan Ragland swam the freestyle. The move proved to make a state-challenging difference. Hayes said that the team went from being about one-half of a second off of three other top teams to being a full two seconds ahead of everyone. "There’s a little more strategizing and swimming. A team the quality of Judge, it shows your weaknesses. It shows the things we really need to work on, like turns. They were just beating us every time," Hayes said.

The Miners are now gearing up to head back to the pool next weekend to hold their annual Park City Invite. This year’s meet should be an exciting one, with an all-star 3A lineup, featuring best-of-the-best Logan, Judge, Pine View as well as other top teams including Snow Canyon, Dixie and Canyon View as well as 4A Lehi. Hayes said that usually, the invitational is more of a random selection of teams, but this year’s things just seemed to work out to allow the best teams to attend the meet.

Hayes added that now is the perfect time for such as meet, as all the team’s are generally still in the endurance-building phase of training where no one team has peaked yet. This means that teams can easily gauge how well they are doing on the season. Already the team can watch their progress on the, which logs the times of swimmers statewide and the Park City Invite will only help to further that knowledge "For the kids it’s nice to know if they are down in the list where they need to get in state qualifying," Hayes said.

Such a high-level meet should also motivate the Miners. Hayes expects that the team will likely rise to the challenge with some of the state’s best swimmers sharing the pool. "They are definitely excited for the meet to have all these good teams and competition," Hayes said.

The Miners will host the Park City Invite Nov. 18-19 at the Ecker Hill Aquatic Center. The meet will start on Friday at 3:30 p.m.. Competition will resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

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