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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Year in review: Bengals had fair share of accomplishments in 2018 sports

Dec 14, 2018 10:59AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Brighton boys swimming team celebrates its state title performance at the Class 5A meet Feb. 10. (Photo courtesy Todd Etherington)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected] 

Competing in the talent-rich Region 6 poses challenges for any school in all sports. Brighton found that out in 2018. Still, the school produced some memorable moments with its teams, including a  pair of state champions.

Here’s a rundown of some of the year’s best Bengal squads.

Boys swimming

Over the past several seasons, Brighton has established a strong tradition of swimming. This year was no different. 

The boys won their first state title since 2014 by scoring 287 points, well ahead of Cottonwood, which tallied 253.5. Numerous swimmers contributed to the championship. Brighton scored first-place finishes in three individual events: the 200-yard medley relay, the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay. 

In the 200 medley, sophomore Taua Fitisemanu, senior Jack Binder, senior Chase Miyagishima and junior Quentin Tyler teamed up to capture the title by swimming the event in 1:36.69. The quartet was .37 seconds in front of the second-place relay team from Cottonwood. 

In the 200 free relay, senior Eric Wagner led off for teammates Tyler, Miyagishima and Binder. The relay group finished first with a time of 1:28.45, edging out Springville’s relay team by .07 seconds. 

Meanwhile, Binder won the 100 fly with an impressive time of 51.13 seconds. His teammate Miyagishima came in second with a time of 52.71. Freshman Nick Thompson came in sixth in the event. 

Boys soccer

The Bengals came up short of claiming the Class 5A state boys soccer crown, but the Bengals did complete an undefeated march through Region 7 en route to a title. Brighton was 8-0-2, seven comfortable points in front of rival Alta. 

Brighton gave up just 11 goals in 10 region games, posting four shutouts during that stretch. The offense was no slouch either, as the Bengals registered at least three goals six times on the season. David Brog paced the team with 11 goals. Jake Babcock had five goals, and Traedon Chamberlain and Cameron Neeley chipped in four apiece. 

The Bengals rode a five-game winning streak into the 5A state tournament. They took care of Maple Mountain 4-0 in the first round, as four different players each scored. On May 18, two days later, Brighton hosted Roy in the quarterfinals. The Bengals controlled the action and prevailed 3-0, with Babcock, Chamberlain and Chandler Turpin finding the back of the net. 

That’s as far as the Bengals made it.

In the semifinals, held May 22 at Woods Cross High School, Brighton lost to Viewmont in a 1-0 defensive battle. It was Brighton’s deepest playoff run since reaching the finals (and losing) in 2015.

Baseball

Head coach Andy Concepcion successfully turned around the baseball program in 2018, qualifying for the postseason a year after winning just four games.

The Bengals placed fourth in Region 7, compiling a 7-8 record. They also went 15-13 overall and picked up a victory at the 5A state tournament. 

Brighton had its up and downs this past year. It came into the playoff on a six-game losing streak. But the team also began the season with five victories, and at one point in the region portion of the season, it won seven of nine contests. 

Brighton showed promise at the pitching position with players such as Brennan Potter and Brennan Holligan, a transfer from Las Vegas. Holligan also belted three home runs on the season, leading the team, and also paced the Bengals with eight doubles. Alex Hansen went 5-3 on the mound and amassed a team-high five triples. 

The Bengals went 1-2 at the state tournament. Their victory came in the one-loss bracket when they took down Region 5’s Roy 6-3. 

The upcoming campaign in 2019 could be an exciting one for Brighton. Concepcion’s club had just four seniors on its 27-player roster in 2018. 

Boys Tennis

The boys tennis team joined the boys swimmers as state title winners in 2018. The boys accomplished the feat in impressive fashion, totaling 20 points to 13 for the runners-up from Woods Cross. 

Brighton had participants at all five position at state. Though the Bengals had a single state champion, four of the five positions saw Brighton advance to the final round.

In first singles, sophomore Redd Owen, who went 9-1 in the regular season, marched to the finals without much trouble. He won in rounds one and two by sweeping both opponents 6-0, 6-0. In the semifinals, he prevailed 6-4, 6-2. Owen claimed the top prize by outlasting a foe from Timpview, 6-3, 6-4. 

Second singles competitor Mitch Smith, a sophomore, nearly duplicated Owen’s accomplishment. He got to the finals by beating his first three opponents in two sets. In the championship round, he fell 6-2, 6-2 to an opponent from Maple Mountain. 

In third singles, senior Derek Turley ran into a roadblock in the second round against Holden Iverson of Woods Cross. Turley outlasted his foe 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 but then had another tough matchup against Tyler Easton of Corner Canyon. Turley got to the finals by beating Easton 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. He then couldn’t overcome Viewmont’s Grant Wilkinson, losing 7-6, 6-1. 

Both doubles teams had success in their matchups. Junior Parker Watts and senior Jared Hunt, who went 10-0 during the regular season, won 6-1, 6-0 in the first round, 6-4, 6-1 in the second round and 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals. The duo bowed at in the championship 6-4, 6-3.

Senior Blair Glade and junior Justin Allen represented Brighton in second doubles. They won by identical 6-4, 6-2 scores in the first two rounds before running into a talented tandem from Woods Cross and losing 6-0, 6-2. 

“We had a fabulous (state) tournament,” said head coach Natalie Meyer after the season came to an end. “I have loved the enthusiasm, dedication, sportsmanship and respect that this team has given this season. They are teachable and want to learn how to become the best. I will remember the fun times we have had at practice, riding buses to away matches, hanging out at the region tournament all day and getting to know the families.”