Top three sports stories in 2008
Jan 02, 2009 | 9982 views | 0 0 comments | 1416 1416 recommendations | email to a friend | print
3.  Whitehorse boys basketball Led by coach Chad Shumway, the Raiders from Montezuma Creek set the 1A basketball world on its ear in the 2008 season. 

Led by four year starters Byron Grant and Trevor Martin, the Raiders cruised through the season, winning the Region 19 championship and blasted into the state 1A tournament as one of the favorites to win it all. 

And with Shumway’s up-tempo style and Grant and Martin both averaging over 20 points a game, the Raiders looked poised to win their first state title ever in basketball. 

But the Raiders drew a tough first round opponent, Piute, who had been upset in their region tournament and entered the state tournament a dangerous number four seed. 

The Raiders worst fears were realized when the Thunderbirds from Junction clamped a tight defense on Grant and Martin, and ended the Raiders dream of a state championship, 59-52. 

Not backing down, however, the Raiders came back in the consolation bracket to best Dugway, 76-59, ICS, 67-52 and Christian Heritage, 64-61 to claim the sixth place trophy, the highest placing ever for the Raiders. 

Coach Shumway parlayed the successful season into the head coaching job at Juab High School, where his team currently stands 5-3.

2.  Monticello Wrestling

Even though the Buckaroos have a long wrestling tradition-seven team state championships and 67 individual state championships-heading into the 2008 state 1A tournament, they had not garnered a team trophy of any kind since the 1986 1A title won in a state tournament held in Monticello. 

But in February 2008, led by four time state champion Aaron Butler, and freshman titlest Coltan Musselman, the Bucks used a host of other high finishes-three seconds and four thirds-to grab the second place team trophy with 150 team points. 

Duchesne ran away with their second team title with 206 points.  Perennial team champ, Wayne, finished just behind the Bucks at 141 points.  Key third place victories over Wayne opponents by Chase Randall and Rhett Adair provided the difference for the trophy bearing Bucks.  

This year the Bucks are a favorite to take home the first place trophy, though as we all know in wrestling, it is what happens on the mat that counts.

1. San Juan girls sports

It was the year of the Lady Broncos in 2008.  The softball team, coached by Craig Swenson, captured their first ever state softball title in the thrilling state tournament over two weekends in May. 

Generra Nielson pitched the Broncos to the championship, besting the favored Juab Wasps twice, 2-1 and 5-2 in the championship game. 

There was some major adversity the Broncos had to overcome, however.  Coach  Swenson suffered a minor stroke and resulting heart surgery just as the tournament began.  His amazing and inspiring quick return to the team after the surgery spurred the team to prevail in some tight contests in the two weekend tournament held at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex. 

Swenson first felt the twinges of the stroke in late April, after trying to do the “wave” with some Blanding fans at a tournament in Salt Lake.  “The pain went away though”, remarked Swenson, and he went on to coach a couple more games. 

He had suffered three mini strokes and would need a heart procedure to close a 16 mm hole in his heart.  Not wanting to be a distraction to the team, Swenson was willing to put the surgery off until after the tournament. 

“I would’ve waited, if they would’ve let me,” he said.  “Coaching and high school sports are not about softball or winning or losing.  We’re a big family and I wanted them to stay focused on their goals.” 

As a result, Swenson coached the Broncos final three games from the dugout, not his customary third base coach spot.  The Broncos swept through the tournament undefeated, bringing that first trophy home. 

Nielson, who ended a stellar career with the Broncos in 2008, now pitches for the College of Southern Idaho.

The San Juan girls cross country team also captured their first ever cross country state championship this fall, pulling out a close two point victory over the favored Millard Eagles.  Katie Hiatt continued her fine running with a important fourth place individual finish.  It was Brielle Francom and Sam Bergeman who provided the winning difference over Millard, finishing just ahead of their Millard counterparts to provide the two point deferential.  Danielle Wilson’s high 12th place finish was also critical.

Even though two time MVP Heather Meyer blew out her knee in the pre-season, the Lady Broncos continued to play Bronco volleyball in 2008, garnering third place at the 2A state tournament. 

Almost unnoticed was the occasional entry into games of Meyer.  Meyer assisted with the coaching while recovering.   Coach Cassy Moon occasionally put Heather in to serve in some matches.  Says Moon, “We just put her in when we could and after she served she would stand clear out of bounds so the risk of injury was not there.”

Meyer has fully recovered from the knee injury and will start for the Lady Broncos basketball team this week.
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