by Scott Boyle
That’s a wrap! The 2007-08 high school sports year officially ended with the close of golf and track. Let’s review what has been a memorable sports year.
The fall seasons of football, cross country and volleyball were full of excitement, drama, missed expectations and fulfillment of dreams. The San Juan High volleyball team continued their total domination of the 2A volleyball scene by capturing their fifth straight 2A championship and ninth in eleven years.
The Lady Broncos struggled with some mid-season losses, but bounced back strong when it counted at the state tournament. They showed their metal when they were pushed to five sets twice in their undefeated run to the title, finally besting North Sevier in an amazing five set championship match after falling behind two sets to none.
Junior Heather Meyer was named MVP for the second year in a row for Coach Cassie Moon’s team and led the Broncos in the championship comeback with 32 kills and 16 digs. Emma Bayles, Sagan Shumway, Haven Webb, and Alyssa Simpson joined Meyer on All-State teams.
Monticello, led by senior Ashley Dowell, claimed a fourth place finish in the 1A tournament, after finishing third in 2006. Dowell was named to 1A All-state along with fellow senior Becky Francom and sophomore Mersadez Slade.
Three Whitehorse Raiders, Utona Little, Semira Crank, and Sasha Mitchell, along with Jeanine Begay of Monument Valley also were named to all-state volleyball teams.
Macee Nielson became a familiar name in cross country circles in 2007 when she raced her way to numerous victories during the cross country season. Nielson, just a freshman, then stormed her way to the finish line on a stormy day at Sugar House in SLC to win the 1A state cross country individual championship by 73 seconds!
Nielson led the Buckaroos to a third place finish in their efforts to a return to cross country prominence. The Lady Buckaroos, who have won 12 state cross country championships, hope to return to those halcyon days of yore.The Bucks last won a title in 2000. Lydia Ryan placed 11th for the Lady Bucks.
Katie Hiatt of San Juan, led her Lady Bronco team to a sixth place finish, placing second in an exciting 2A race.
For the boys, junior Buckaroo Adam Butler finished third as the Bucks took seventh.
For the first time in 26 years, neither the Bronco nor Buck football teams played football in November. The last time both teams lost in the quarterfinals was 1981.
San Juan finished an up and down season (6-5) when they fell to eventual 2A champion, North Summit, 21-14 in the quarterfinals.
Dane Lyman led 2A quarterbacks in passing with over 1,500 yards. Three receivers, Terron Jack, Nathan Einerson, and Kyle Johnson were in the Top 10 in 2A receiving.
Kohler Black had over 1000 yards rushing. Lewis Sharpe led 2A in interceptions and Matt Jeppson led 2A in tackles. Lyman, Jeppson, Scott Jeppson, and Marcus Conway were named all-state.
Monticello also experience some football frustration, finishing 5-6 while also losing in the quarterfinals. Injuries and turnovers (34) plagued the Bucks throughout the year. Kevin Anderson, Kelvin Curtis, and German exchange student Daniel Hassentefel, who was recognized for his kicking expertise in his first ever stint as an American football player, were all named all-state.
Basketball and wrestling highlighted the long snowy winter season. San Juan boys, under the able tutelage of coach Ryan Nielson, returned to their winning ways with a glossy 17-5 record.
The Broncos season ended disappointingly when they were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Parowan, the eventual 2A runnerup.
Kyle Johnson and Dane Lyman were named to all-state teams. The Lady Broncos completed an 8-14 season for new head coach Justin Moon. Three sport star Heather Meyer led the Lady Broncos.
The boys and girls teams at MHS had resurgent seasons. The Lady Bucks finished 13-8, missing a chance at the final four on a buzzer beater in overtime at state.
Ashley Dowell, Bettina Bennally and Linda Barton were named to all-state teams.
Rhett Maughan took the reigns as head coach for the Buckaroo boys, earning their first state tournament victory in six years. The Bucks put together a turnaround season, finishing 10-10.
Whitehorse fielded one of their best teams ever in 2008 and won the consolation championship in the 1A tournament. The Raiders, a pre-tournament favorite, were led by four year starters Byron Grant and Trevor Martin. However, they ran into a hot Piute team in the first round. The resulting unexpected loss sent the Raiders to the consolation bracket where they cruised through all comers.
Martin was the top 1A scorer, averaging 23 points, while Grant pitched in 20 per game. Both were named to all-state teams two years running. Head coach Chad Shumway, parlayed his success with the Raiders into a head coaching job at Juab High in Nephi.
Buckaroo wrestling continued its burly tradition, with two state champions, and a second place team trophy, the first such trophy in many years. Freshman Colton Musselman won a state title at 112 pounds, besting teammate Ricky Wilcox. Aaron Butler’s fourth state title put him in rare company, one of only 17 wrestlers in Utah and the first for Monticello.
Not only did Aaron accomplish a feat he set for himself way back in fourth grade, he bested all his brothers and father, who own a few state championships themselves, eight to be exact.
Along with Wilcox, Trevor St. Clair and Jesse Barton also finished second. David Boyle, Quannah Lee, Chase Randall, and Rhett Adair all corralled third place finishes. For the Broncos, Joseph Begaye (third), JJ Grover (fourth), and Kyle Shumway (sixth) all wrestled well for second year coach JJ Squires.
Everyone knows by now, the powerful run of the Lady Broncos to their first ever state softball championship, and continuing Blanding town’s amazing softball and baseball run of the past few years at all levels of play.
MVP Generra Nielson ended her high school softball career in style, striking out 16 in the championship game, including two in the last inning. The Lady Broncos used great teamwork, hustle, grit and heart to earn a 23-5 record and the title, besting the Wahb Wasps twice to prevail.
The Boys of Blanding also had a fine year, finishing 13-10 before losing in the play-in game at state.
Monticello girls, led by sophomore Mersadez Slade, had a 5-15 season, and qualified for the 2A tournament.
The Baseball Boys from Monte triumphed in their last game of the season to complete a 1-12 season for Coach Josh Keyes. The Bucks started a young inexperienced team, but progressed throughout.
Monticello’s Cory Eardley, with a 162, captured eighth in the individual 1A golf tournament, good enough to obtain all-state honors for himself.
Just think of all the life lessons learned this year on the playing fields. Each participant, each coach, each fan, has a story to tell, a lesson learned, experiences that are too valuable to pass up.