by Scott Boyle
Spring sports wind up the next two weekends with the girls in Blanding and Monticello in the running to claim state championships.
The San Juan Bronco softball team safely navigated their way through the first two rounds of the double elimination 2A State Softball Championships and find themselves in the winners bracket semifinal round. They will face the Grand County Red Devils for the third time this year on Friday at 4 p.m. in Spanish Fork
With a win (they have split with Grand so far this season), they face the winner of Juab or Manti in the winner’s bracket final. A win there puts them in the championship game in great position, while waiting for everyone else to battle it out for the chance to beat them twice.
Lose that first Friday game, and it will be games at 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday to win the title.
Generra Nielson continues to lead the 20-5 Broncos in their quest for a first ever softball state championship. Nielson, who pitched the Broncos to a second place finish in 2006, was overpowering in the first round with a shutout against Duchesne. The Bronco hitters pounded out 10 runs.
Nielson dominated with her arm and her bat in the second round against Beaver. Striking out 15 Beaver batters, and allowing only two runs thru the third inning, Nielson then connected to hit a clutch double in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving in the winning run for the Broncos in the tight 3-2 victory.
Monticello girls played twice in the tournament, but lost to ALA, 8-2 and Millard, 11-6, thus ending their season at 5-15. The Bucks won their lone softball state title in 1996.
The Bronco baseball season ended their season with a loss in the first round of the double elimination tournament (figure that one out logically, if you can), succumbing to the Kanab Cowboys. The Broncos found their bats too late in the 8-3 loss, scoring all their runs in the last two innings.
Coach Mike Bowers, who has coached or played on all three Bronco state baseball championships, watched his young team finish the season at 13-10.
Track, track, track
Monticello girls track team prepped for this weekend’s region track meet in Moab by doing well in the annual BYU Invitational, which featured 32 teams from 1A and 2A. Teams from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada competed in the always-colossal meet.
The Lady Bucks finished ninth overall and second in 1A teams. Only St. Joseph’s finished better of the 1A schools.
Says Buckaroo track coach, Jeff Hunt, “St. Joseph’s established themselves as the team to beat for the State Championship next week. But if we can turn in some strong performances at Region this week and repeat it next week, we can give them a run.”
The girls track team at MHS have won two state track titles, last winning in 1985 after also winning in 1984. San Juan girls have won five state track titles, but none since 1989.
Macee Nielson kept up her 2008 winning ways, besting 21 runners to win the 3200 meter race. Nielson also finished sixth in the 1600 and anchored the fifth place 1600 sprint medley relay along with Shantel Musselman, Janessa Bowring, and Anja Hochreutener.
Musselman also captured a sixth place finish in the 400 m. Ashley Dowell was fourth in the javelin and tenth in the discus.
For the boys from MHS, Adam Butler was seventh in the 3200. Jace Holiday of San Juan was ninth in the 100 m dash. San Juan boys have one state track title to their credit, way back in 1970, while the boys from Monticello have never won a state track title.
I’ve been on a personal semi-private crusade of sorts for several years. The Juan in San Juan has consistently (and correctly, I might add) been pronounced “Wahn”.
Why then, has been my particularly persistent query, is Juab pronounced “Jew Ab” instead of “Wahb?” Juan, Juab? I’m sure many of you have considered the same question. Same vowels, same vowel sound. Just ask Marla.
The “Wahb Wasps” would then rank up there with the best of high school alliterative monikers, such as the Wendover Wildcats, Rich Rebels, the Tabiona Tigers, the Beaver Beavers, and the Kanab Kowboys.
They would even join the poetic Beaver Beavers, and the fictional Workin’ LaVerkins as mascots never to be forgotten, bringing good fortune and lucky charms, like the Fighting Irish.
Now, at last, there is ammunition for just such a change. The time, the climate, and the people are in place at Wahb High to effect just such a change.
San Juan High graduates now occupy head coaching positions at three prestigious and successful sports at Wahb High School; Mike Bowring, who is in his fifth year as head football coach, Shalie Flannery Richards, who is the head volleyball coach and Chad Shumway, who was recently named the head boys basketball coach.
OK, you three, now’s the time. If not now, never. Give me a J, gimme a U, gimme a A, gimme a B. What’s that spell? “Wahb!”