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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton swim, drill and wrestling athletes qualify for state competitions

Mar 07, 2023 03:38PM ● By Jerry Christensen

The Brighton wrestlers who qualified for state. (Jerry Christensen/City Journals)

Brighton's legendary athletic director from the 1990's, Dick Ball, suggested "the three most demanding high school sports are wrestling, swimming and drill." If this is a correct measure of toughness, Brighton athletics' rigor is alive well. 

Brighton swimming qualified 22 swimmers for the state competition at BYU this month. Brighton's hall of fame former swim coach Russ Lauber compares the current state team to the state championship teams of the past. "The legacy of Bengal championship swimming is written in the annals of the Utah State Swimming Championships every February…what we call ‘the Big Dance.’ With 22 paddlin’ Bengals qualified, Brighton will undoubtedly continue to impact the record books as in years past."

Girls team state swimmers are: 

Audrey Bradley, Chloe Cline, Valentina David, Stephanie Guzman-Delahoz, Valerie Guzman-Delahoz, Annabel Kim, Lucy Kokeny, Hanna Sasivarevic, Tayler Tho and Andrea Zurias.

Boys team state swimmers are: 

Ethan Bangerter, Luan Barnard, Drake Doyle, Parker Fillmore, Joseph Martin, Bridger Nielson, Austin Partridge, Benjamin Schiffman, Gavin Smith, Harrison Taylor, Aeddan Winter and Dylan Etherington.

Brighton's acclaimed drill team, the Acadians, performed well this season under new head coach Gracie Jones. They ended the regular season with a strong showing at UVU in the state finals. 

"The team did extremely well in difficult region competition and qualified to move to the state competition at UVU. We were more than excited to move through the semifinals into the state final competition. We came away with the sportsmanship award and exceptional experience for our young team," Jones said.  

Drill team state finalists are: 

Ella Taylor, 

Kamryn Kasteler, 

Savannah Despain, 

Sophia Rosevear, 

Brynlee Smith, 

Courtney Edling, 

Damiana Taukei'aho, 

Emma Bellessa, 

Halle Terry, 

Katie Jane Hudachko, 

Josie Morgan, 

Mylee Miner, 

Sophia Gardner, 

Alivia Terry, 

Camry Steed, 

Lily Kate Wolfenbarger, 

London Richards, 

Rylee Dunn, 

Lilly Noel, 

Lucy Woodward and 

Payton Morzelewski.

And finally, from the depths of Brighton's gym rise the titans of Brighton—the boys wrestling team. The team was edged out of a region title by a mere two points in the final regular season match against Olympus 35-33. A single tech fall for a Olympus meant the difference between first and second place in the hotly contested region. Undaunted, the team placed three wrestlers through to the state tournament with two alternates. Student-athletes who will represent Brighton at state are: 

Gavyn Gappmayer, senior; 

Mana Nonu, senior; 

Fernando Cortez, freshman; 

David Scofflaw Eliason, senior; and 

Landon Hill, freshman.

Coach Burke Gappmayer, Brighton's first year head coach notes that "in addition to the admirable accomplishments of our state wrestlers, we have a cast of rising stars who showed promise through the season and at the JV state tournament. Rising stars in Brighton's burgeoning program include Finn Gundry, Arsha Hashimi, Ben Tillman, Gus Blake and Jarom Gappmayer."

The girls wrestling program at Brighton is in its third year, since UHSAA sanctioned girls wrestling as a high school sport. 

Brighton girls who are wrestling include Mei-Mei Engebretsen at 125, freshman Eleni Nonu at 145, junior Lydia Lewis at 170 and sophomore Adrina Tavita and senior Katelyn Edgell at 235. Eseta Tuileta had to withdraw due to injury. 

The girls are coached by Kim Weaver with assistance from Mason Brinkman, Christine Yee and volunteer Steven Thompson.