Tooele High girls split their meets last week, edging Payson 123-120 Thursday and coming up on the short end of 143.5 to 125.5 battle with Cedar Valley Saturday at the Pratt Aquatic Center.
The Buffs are defending Region champions and these meets give them a clear picture of what they need to accomplish in order to bring their fourth consecutive trophy home in two weeks. Stansbury is a slight favorite to win Region, but it will definitely be a four-team battle for the gold.
Tooele girls 123 – Payson 120
Two bookend wins – the medley relay and the 400-free relay – the first and last events of the afternoon were just enough for a Buff victory.
Those relay wins along with outstanding performances up and down the roster were enough for Tooele to edge the Lions in the region battle.
The meet was not decided until the 400-free relay of Ava Leonelli, Isabelle Lay, Amelia Farris, and Lauren von Niederhausern dropped two seconds to propel the women past the Lions by three points.
“Meets like this are a somewhat nerve-racking,” said coach Holly Tate. “But it proves how months of hard work pays off.”
Coach Tate explained points are awarded for seven places in each individual events so every swimmer’s effort proves to be a difference maker.
Freshman Amelia Farris kicked things into high gear dropping nearly four seconds and winning the 200-free. She was closely followed by teammate Leonelli with second.
Von Niederhausern along with Maddie Nicholson grabbed second and third in the individual while Lay, Mackenzie Justesen and Ammany Elmer scored in the 50-free.
Haven Saling kept the Buffs close by cruising to a win in the 100 butterfly. Lay grabbed second in the 100-free as Joelle Beard finished fifth for THS in that event.
A Tooele 1-2-3 sweep of Leonelli, Farris, and Sydney Sherwood stacked up huge points in the 100 back. Elmer and Justesen finished fifth and sixth to pad the Buff score.
Nicholson and Saling earned 1-2 honors in the breaststroke to keep Tooele in the running before the final relay.
“This meet shows both our frontline strength and the depth of our team as we prepare for Region,” coach Tate said.
Cedar Valley girls 126 – Tooele 111
Tooele waited until the final event of the afternoon to pick up their third win, but it was not enough to defeat the Aviators of Cedar Valley.
Leonelli, Lay, Farris, and von Niederhausern cruised to a five-second win in the 400-free relay, but it proved to be too little too late as Cedar Valley edged the Buffs 126 to 111.
The 200-free proved to be the Buffs strongest event with von Niederhausern, Farris, Sherwood, Leonelli, Elmer, and Beard scoring points from second through seventh places.
Nicholson finished a strong second in the individual medley before Lay nailed her best time for a second in the 50 free.
Saling battled her way to first in the 100 fly while Farris earned second in the 100-free.
Lay and Justesen both sprinted their way to personal records in the 500-free with second and third places.
Tooele’s 200-free relays kept things close with second and third places before von Niederhausern, Sherwood, and Elmer finished 2-3-4 in the backstroke.
Nicholson and Saling rounded out the scoring for Tooele in the breaststroke before the final relay.
The Buff girls once again battle in two home meets this week as they face Uintah on Thursday and round out the regular season Saturday in the county tri-meet with Grantsville and Stansbury.