by Scott Boyle
SportShorts, over the years, has written about the positive sports exploits of many a Monticello High School athlete and coach.
The late Mike Adams, whom SS named as the best football athlete ever at MHS, along with Debbie Freestone, labeled the best woman athlete at MHS and the late Dale Maughan, the coach and mentor who begat the wrestling and football programs at MHS are just a few in the last year.
Are there are as many great athletes who got their start in good ole Monticello, only to move and achieve athletic and life success elsewhere?
Out of the Blues, written by my daughter, Maggie Judi, chronicles the lives of safe, respectful and successful people who traveled through the goodness of San Juan and make a difference in the world.
This week, SportShorts will consider two star athletes who got their starts in Monticello and are in the middle of impressive high school careers elsewhere, Payton Bowring and Sara Musselman.
Bowring is the son of former Monticello High School teachers, Catherine and Mike Bowring.
Mike was also the football coach at MHS for seven years from 1997 to 2003, compiling a 46-30 record with one state championship in 2001, while playing in three state championship games.
In 2003, the Bowrings left Monticello to move to Nephi and take over a Juab High School football program.
Payton Bowring has been a significant member of the last two Juab teams, last years team that went 11-2, losing in the 3A state championship game, and this year’s 9-3 team that lost in the semifinals.
Bowring, a 5’11” junior, played both ways for his father as a junior and sophomore. Last year, he saw more time on defense, recording 23 tackles. He did carry the ball 24 times for 38 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 24 passes for 318 yards and two more touchdowns.
This year, he was again a staple on defense, making 64 tackles and one interception. His offensive exploits got increased attention, carrying the ball 86 times for 539 yards and 10 TDs, while also catching 31 passes out of the backfield for 596 more yards and eight TDS. He was even one for three in the passing department. His high on defense is 14 tackles at Canyon View.
From his running back position, in a wild 49-48 win over Union, he gained 115 yards on nine carries including one 38-yard touchdown run along with five receptions for 64 yards and touchdowns, on catches of 11 and 38 yards.
Bowring, and his dad the coach, will be back for his senior year, hoping to lead the Waub Wasps to their first ever state football championship.
Sara, daughter of Ronnie and the late Tamie Musselman, gave notice at a young age that running was in her future. She won most of the races at Monticello Elementary School in grade school, most often beating the boys in the process and was highly successful as a junior high runner at MHS.
When her family moved to Idaho, her running success followed, where in 2013, as a freshman, she took seventh place in the Idaho High School Cross Country championships running for 5A high school, Rocky Mountain.
She also ran track that spring, placing third at state in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600.
A year later, after a move back to Utah, Sara kept up her cross country running, leading her Lehi High School team to fifth place while taking 12th individually in 5A at the 2014 Utah High School Championships.
This past year, 2015, Sara took her skills to American Fork High School and led the Lady Cavemen to the 5A team XC championship, finishing first on her team and fifth overall with a time that would have been first in every other classification.
Last season, running for American Fork’s girl’s track team, Musselman placed fourth in four events at the Utah State High School Track and Field Championships at BYU, the 1600, 3200, 800 and medley relay.
Just for fun, let’s compare Musselman’s state cross country times the last two years against the most decorated 1A Utah high school cross country runner ever, Whittni Orton of Panguitch, who just won her fourth straight state cross country individual championship, something only two other girls have accomplished in Utah XC history.
In 2014, Musselman, running in the 5A Utah state XC championship race, completed the well-known course at Sugar House Park in 18:38, compared to Orton’s 1A winning time that year of 18:53. This year, Musselman lowered her time 27 seconds, to 18:11, to best Orton’s 1A winning time of 18:29.
Of course, Orton did most of her running by herself, winning this year’s race by over two and a half minutes. The two years previous she won by 24 and 18 seconds over a teammate who finished second and over two minutes faster than any other competitor. As a freshman, she won by 44 seconds. Wouldn’t a race between Orton and Musselman be a contest to see?
Even though the Utah high school XC season is over, Musselman and her AF team are still in training. AF, ranked number five in the NATION in high school cross country, is preparing for Regional XC championships in Arizona on November 21.
If they finish in the top three at Regionals, they will get the chance to compete in the National XC finals on December fifth.
Musselman, who also competes in indoor and outdoor track at American Fork, runs pretty much year round now.
“We get two weeks off between cross-country and indoor track,” she deadpans. That’s a lot of circles!
“I love running!” she exclaims, after finishing first in a 5K tune-up race last Saturday.
We can tell, Sara, and we still claim you and Payton as two of our own, good ole Buckaroos.