Girls’ track and field
Boys’ track and field
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series acknowledging Box Elder High School seniors who lost their last season of high school athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 6, 2020 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
Jeff Agren has been a distance runner on the Box Elder High School track team all four years of high school. Agren’s coaches said he has always been a joy to coach and they never had to worry about him or what he was doing. Coach Jeff Rawlins specifically said, “Jeff has always been a really hard worker and never complained about any workouts or practices we gave him. He always just came in and did what we asked him to do.”
Bryson Cragun, a distance runner on both the cross country and track teams since his freshman year, had to battle injuries his sophomore and junior years, but despite any setbacks, he always pushed himself to be the best he could be.
When asked about Bryson, coach Rawlins said, “He’s just a kid that never gave up. Even with those injuries, he just kept pushing and kept believing he would get to where he wanted to go.”
Cooper Manzione has been a leader on the distance running team for the last three years. Coach Rawlins recalled about Cooper, “He did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before as a coach.
It takes most kids two to three years to break five minutes in the mile run, but Cooper did it in his first month of practice. We knew he was going to be a big asset to our team.”
The injury bug bit Cooper last year and he was hoping to compete at the state track meet this season to end his career.
In addition to his athletic ability, Coach Rawlins also added, “Cooper made a really positive impact on those around him and his personality just draws people in.”
Landon Dixon started as a distance runner but was preparing to make the transition to sprinting in the 400-meter event this year.
Coach Tom Davidson said, “Landon was probably going to be the top 400-meter runner on our team. We were pretty excited for him to move over as a sprinter. I think he would have impacted our team in big ways this year.”
Sam Gerlach has been a varsity-level runner for the last four years and has been one of the fastest distance runners on the team each year.
Coach Rawlins said about Sam, “He’s got a great work ethic and has always been willing to do whatever it takes to improve. I can tell that he just loves to run and has always wanted to get better.”
Steven Guenther was looking forward to his first and only year on the track team after deciding to give sprinting a try.
He was prepared to run the 400 meters this season and his coaches were excited to see what he could have done on the track.
Jadon Tucker has shown a lot of promise on the track scene since he won the pentathlon at ACYI in seventh grade. In addition to his natural athleticism, Jadon had shown a lot of maturity heading into this season as his dedication and desire to compete at the highest levels were on display throughout the off-season. Coach Davidson said, “I think Jadon had the potential to be a region champion high jumper this year. He had put in a lot of work and we were all excited to see what he could have done.”
Jaron Mckee was dealing with some disappointment even before the season was cut short as he sustained an injury during the basketball season that was going to hold him out from all his events until the end of March. Jaron competed in the high jump, long jump, and hurdles during his high school career. Coach Davidson called Jaron an incredible athlete and a good leader on the team.
Bentley Miles is another senior who decided to give track a try for the first time this year. The coaches weren’t even sure which events would best suit him, but they were excited about his natural athletic ability and what he could bring to the team.
Coach Davidson said, “Bentley was at practice everyday and was working with a lot of different events. He was one that was definitely going to add to our team.”
Brayden Peterson joined the track team last year after competing on the swim team since his freshman season.
Coach Rawlins said he loved having any of the swimmers come out for the team because of their experience and athleticism. “Being a swimmer, Brayden brought a great work ethic along with great aerobic capacity, so he was a really good fit as a distance runner right from the get go,” Rawlins said.
Hyrum Reese began his journey on the track team as a sprinter, then switched over to distance last year. He was targeting the 800 meters and was set to be the anchor leg of this year’s 4 x 800 relay squad.
Coach Davidson was impressed by the progress Hyrum was making as a distance runner when he said, “Hyrum was doing things in distance running in just one year that I hadn’t seen before. He was going to be really good for us this year.”
Logan Saylor competed in the high jump, long jump, and several sprinting events during his high school career. This winter, when Logan competed at an indoor track meet and broke his personal best high jump by four inches, coach Davidson felt like things were really starting to come together for him in the high jump. Davidson said, “Logan was really starting to get the high jump figured out and I think he was going to be a very solid contributor to our team.”
Braunson Provence bolstered an already strong distance running team when he moved in from Weber High School last year. Braunson had already been running distance races at Weber his freshman and sophomore years so he knew what it would take to compete at a high level.
When asked about Braunson, coach Rawlins said, “Braunson came in good already. He was a big help to our team because he pushed our best runners to get even better.”
Parker Singleton joined the track team last year after playing soccer the previous two seasons. The speed Singleton developed on the pitch translated beautifully to the track, where he competed in the 100- and 200-meter sprints last season.
Earlier this year, the team had one meet at Viewmont before the season was cancelled and Parker won the 100-meter race. He was also prepared to compete with the 4 x 100 meter relay team with his natural speed.
Lance Smith competed in the discus and javelin and was described by coach Davidson as, “a dang good dude.” Davidson went on to say, “At the beginning of the season, our regular throwing coach was on vacation. During that time, Lance really stepped up to coach the other throwers and bring them along. He has worked hard every day I’ve seen him and his attitude was always positive. He’s a great kid to have on your team.”
Jon Newman has been a distance runner since his freshman year and has shown the drive to continually improve and work at his craft year after year.
Coach Rawlins said, “Jon is a kid that went from being kind of middle-of-the-pack to a really good varsity runner just through his work ethic. He has shown lots of improvement each year I’ve been coaching him. He’s also really smart with how he raced.”
Rachel Bishop was a distance runner on the team and showed her enthusiasm for her senior year by all the work she put in during the off-season. Coach Rawlins said of Rachel, “She has always been a really fun girl to have on the team. She made every practice really enjoyable and just had a good sense of humor about her. She lifted everyone around her up.”
Allison Bullard has competed as a sprinter the last few years and has shown a very high level of dedication to the sport in spite of having to battle through painful shin splints throughout much of her career.
Coach Davidson said, “Allison has always been very consistent and extremely dependable for us. She has worked her butt off despite the shin splits she has been battling. On top of that, she’s always been a really good friend to her teammates. She’s just been great for our team.”
Alana Christensen was preparing to run some sprints this season after running on the distance team her sophomore year. She showed a lot of work ethic and dedication during that sophomore season when there were only seven girls participating on the distance team.
Coach Rawlins recalled, “Alana was very self-motivated and a really hard worker. She was out there running when there was almost no one else to run with. She just went out and did it on her own and that was pretty cool to see.”
Kaleigh Curtis is another athlete who was already dealing with the disappointment of a lost season after she tore a muscle in her hip earlier in the year which required surgery to repair. Kaleigh has competed for four years as a long jumper and saw a lot of hard work pay off last year when she qualified for the state meet.
Coach Davidson said of Kaleigh, “She is a great example of putting in the work and then seeing the results eventually come. She worked really hard on her technique and I’m really proud of what she was able to accomplish. It’s always really cool when you see a kid trust you as a coach and then put in the work. That’s exactly what Kaleigh has done.”
Esther Dutson decided to go out for the track team for the first time this year and was expected to be one of the fastest girls at 800 meters on the team.
When asked about Esther, coach Rawlins said, “She was in great shape coming off of basketball season and was going to help our team a bunch. She always had a positive attitude and never complained about any of the workouts we gave her.”
Malia Gunter was known by her coaches as, “the thrower hype girl.” Coach Davidson went on to explain, “She was just a really great teammate and made things more fun for everyone around. The jumping pits are right next to the throwing ring, so whenever I was over there, I could always hear Malia bringing the party and cheering her teammates on.”
Haylee Holmes competed in javelin and was known to be a solid competitor and good friend to her teammates.
Coach Davidson said of Haylee, “She really seemed to come, put in the work, and had fun with it. Haylee was a solid girl that just really wanted to compete with herself. She wanted to get herself better at something and be part of something bigger than herself at the same time. And I think she really accomplished that in her time with us.”
Tiffany Hortin is a naturally-gifted athlete who rose to be the best discus competitor on the girls’ team. She also has a really good shot put throw and was poised to have a big season. In addition to her athletic prowess, Tiffany was described as a really good teammate and really fun to be around. Coach Davidson said, “Tiffany is an incredible athlete, but she’s also a really good kid and just fun to be around. She came and put in the work everyday and was really going to help our team earn some points this season.”
Jaida Jackman’s work ethic and determination was second to none in the hurdles as well as in the high jump over the last several seasons.
When thinking about Jackman, coach Davidson said, “I absolutely love Jaida. She would always go just as hard as she could. Because of that, we’ve probably never had a girl wreck harder on the hurdles. But after every crash, she would just stand up, smile, and go practice again. There’s no better example of someone who would just come out and do the work while lifting everyone else around her up.”
It’s likely that few people have faced more adversity inside the competition arenas than Jenna Mortensen has this year. She suffered a broken hand at the end of volleyball season that kept her out of the volleyball state tournament and limited her during basketball season.
She also finished last year’s track season on a high note, winning medals at the state meet in both the high jump and long jump, and was looking forward to even more success this year.
Despite all the trials, coach Davidson said of Jenna, “I’ve not been more impressed by anyone than Jenna as far as her attitude goes and just as a person. If anyone has a right to be angry or bitter over this year, it’s Jenna. But she’s really not and that speaks volumes of who she is as a person.”
Cambrie Roper moved to Brigham City last year after competing at North Sanpete High School her freshman and sophomore years. While making the jump from 2A competition to 5A was a big adjustment, Cambrie met that challenge head on and with a smile. She also had her twin sister, Chesnie, by her side as both girls competed in the state meet at the 2A level their freshman and sophomore years and were looking forward to getting to state again this year.
Coach Davidson said about Cambrie, “She’s just an awesome girl that always worked hard with a smile on her face.”
Chesnie Roper, like her sister, Cambrie, joined the Hive last year after moving in from Mt. Pleasant and brought a great attitude with her.
Chesnie was looking forward to running some relays with her twin and was also excited to get to compete with their younger sister, Meggan, who is a freshman this year.
When asked about Chesnie, coach Davidson said, “Track was always number one for her and that’s great to see. She’s a really solid kid with a great attitude.”
Mayu Warner was going to compete her first year in track this year, and her coaches weren’t even sure which events would fit her best. They did know that she’s a gifted athlete and would have been a big asset on the team.
Coach Rawlins said, “She’s a really good, solid kid and is another one I feel bad for because it’s tough to know what she could have done for our team this year.”
Kayla Wheeler’s story was called “heartbreaking” by coach Davidson, knowing that this season was going to be lost.
“Kayla only did the high jump for us and she hyperextended her knee on a jump during her sophomore year,” Davidson said. “She spent all last year working through both the physical pain and some mental anxiety over being able to jump again. She cleared all those hurdles and was all set to have a breakout season this year.” Coach Davidson went on to say, “We as coaches have really enjoyed being with her over the years and she’s just an overall really good kid.”
Sydnie Zundel pushed hard in the off-season and was hoping to shave enough time off her 400-meter race to earn a track scholarship at Dixie State University.
When asked about Sydnie, coach Rawlins said, “She’s just an amazing kid that worked really hard. She came every single day in the off-season and during the spring season that we did have. I loved to coach her and she had a smile on her face pretty much every time I saw her. She’s just an awesome human being.”
Zundel is still in contact with coaches at Dixie State and is hoping to be able to walk-on with the end goal of still getting on scholarship.
Kate Johnson faced as much adversity as anyone this year as her season was already cut short before it began after suffering a knee injury during summer basketball last year, then re-aggravating that injury during the high school basketball season.
Had she been able to compete this spring, Kate would have been one of the top sprinters on the girls’ team and would have been the anchor of the 4 x 100 meter relay team.
When asked about Kate, coach Davidson said, “Without her injury, she may well have been the MVP on the girls team this year. She’s been amazing on the team for the last three years and we would have missed her big time this season.”
April 29, 2020 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
Cru Andreason is a four-year letter earner on the team and was captain on the defensive end before switching to play some offense this season. He was one of the top scorers on the team this year and his teammates looked up to, and respected, him for his work ethic and passion for the game.
When asked what he would miss the most the season, Andreason said, “I feel like we had just started clicking with each other on the field, so I’m going to miss out on some good experiences with my teammates.” In talking about his takeaways from the sport, Andreason said, “I’ve learned to rely on other people to help get me through challenges and I also see I can be there for others, too.”
After high school, he is planning to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then attend Utah State University and study medical engineering.
When Harrison Hodgson first found out about the cancellation of the season, he said it, “didn’t really feel real. When it did finally hit me, I kind of broke down. I was just really sad to not get to play with my teammates this year.”
Head coach Damon Andreason said, “I’m gonna miss coaching that kid” when asked about Hodgson. Andreason went on to say, “He’s always cracking jokes, but he also works hard. He’s been a solid defenseman his whole career and he’s just really fun to be around.”
When asked about the lessons he learned from lacrosse, Hodgson said, “I’ve really learned to be able to work with the people you have in your life. No matter the situation, you can love what you are doing.”
Hodgson is planning on attending Southern Utah University’s online program for the next year before serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Harrison Clark and his twin brother, Logan, are both four-year letter earners on the lacrosse team and both earned second team all-state honors last year. When asked about Harrison, coach Damon Andreason said, “On top of being one of our best players, Harrison is one of the most humble kids I’ve been around. He just loves to teach and share his love for the game.”
Logan Clark, is a four-year letter earner on the lacrosse team and earned second team all-state honors last year. In talking about Logan, coach Andreason said, “Logan and [his twin brother] Harrison are a dynamic duo. Logan’s got a 90 MPH shot and he’s always willing to take newer kids under his wing and make them feel included and part of the team.”
Colby Jensen was about to play his first year on the lacrosse team. He went out for the team to gain some experience in a team environment and was excited to fill a role this season in the team’s first year as a Utah High School Activity Association officially-sanctioned sport. Coach Andreason said of Jensen, “He had a very positive attitude and was willing to try anything. He really wanted to contribute and has a great work ethic.”
Jaxon Rountree is another first-year player on the team and coach Andreason said that he, “jumped in with both feet from day one and has been a solid contributor for us.” Rountrtee was willing to play both offense and defense for the team and was said to be able to spark joy in others he was around.
Mitch Lenzie was new to the lacrosse team this year and new to the Brigham City area as his family just moved in during the year. Coach Andreason said Lenzie picked up on the defensive side of lacrosse really quickly and was pegged for a starting role on the varsity squad later this season.
Andreason said of Lenzie, “He has a great attitude and always just wanted what was best for the team. Despite being a new face for us, he quickly became a member of the lacrosse family we have here.”
Tylynn Ball was one of the strongest defenders on the team this year and was named captain of the defense. Head coach Amber Earnest said, “I was really excited when Tylynn fully committed to lacrosse this season. She’s a powerhouse defender and brought a lot of knowledge and positivity to our team this year.”
Anais Barrientos wasn’t the loudest player on the team, but she was always leading the way with her actions on the field, according to head coach Amber Earnest.
“Anais always worked well with younger players and just brought a lot to our team. She was a starting attacker for us this year and was just always giving 110% out on the field.”
Brin Billings was a starting midfielder this year and showed maturity beyond her years when she organized a team to play in Salt Lake during the offseason to help stay sharp.
When asked about her favorite memory from playing lacrosse, Billings said, “We had a game at Judge Memorial last year that we should have won, but didn’t. I just remember jumping in the car and heading home with a few of my teammates while singing the Phantom of the Opera at the top of our lungs, just screaming it. I remember that it felt really good to bond with my teammates even though we didn’t win that game.”
After high school, Billings is planning on attending Weber State University and hopes to one day become a nurse practitioner. She also hopes to join the club lacrosse team at Weber State.
Ashlyn Braithwaite played on the lacrosse team her sophomore year and rejoined for her senior year after missing last season. She said she would miss the adrenaline rush that hits before each game, as well as getting to spend time with her teammates.
Coach Earnest praised Ashlyn’s work ethic when she said, “Ashlyn was one of the few girls I could always count on to do her wall passes and running outside of practice. She was very consistent for us this year and really led by her example.”
Braithwaite is headed to Rexburg to study at Brigham Young University-Idaho and wants to go into the medical field.
Sydnee Forsgren prompted this response from coach Earnest: “Sydnee is little but fierce. She is always willing to play any position just because she wants to be on the field as much as possible. The most impressive thing about her is that she gives her all even if it pushes her physical limits.”
Forsgren said that the biggest lessons she’s taken from lacrosse are being able to work together as a team along with not taking things for granted in life. She said, “Missing the season this year proved to me how fast life can change, so don’t take anything for granted.” Sydnee earned an academic scholarship to Weber State University and plans on studying meteorology.
Linsey Haddock was known for being one of the most upbeat and energetic players on the team this year. Coach Earnest said, “Linsey is one of those kids that is always the first one to practice and the last one to leave and she always does it with a cheerful attitude. She is always willing to help set up our practices, take down cones, and just do whatever is needed.”
Priscilla Ramos took up lacrosse for the first time this year, and whatever she lacked in experience she made up for with her athleticism and positive work ethic.
When asked about Priscilla, coach Earnest said, “I knew Priscilla was going to be an asset for us from day one. She’s a great athlete and I was really excited to see what she was going to be able to do for us this season.”
Ramos said, “I was really falling in love with the sport after just the first practice. I was building a strong bond with a lot of the girls and I’m sad I’ll miss having that grow even more.” Priscilla is planning on studying to be a dental hygienist at Weber State University and may play on their soccer team.
Chloe Wallentine was always going to be one of the team captains coming into the season, and was looked up to by many of her teammates.
Coach Earnest said, “Chloe is what I would like all of my girls to strive to be as far as being a great player, student, and just all-around great person. As a midfielder, she can run up and down the field and not get gassed. She’s also a very consistent player and has been a huge asset on our team.” Wallentine said the biggest life lesson she will take away from playing lacrosse is to always do your best in everything you do. She said, “I have really learned not to let other people stand in the way of what you want and to give my all to everything I do.”
Wallentine is planning on serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then attending Utah State University to get a business degree. She hopes to one day open her own wedding venue.
Rebecca Wilding has been a member of the team for a few years now and brought a lot of experience and knowledge to the field this season.
Coach Earnest described Rebecca as, “a very smart player,” and went on to say, “Rebecca has a great shot. She’s a starting attacker for us this year and she has really put in a lot of work in the offseason. I was really excited to see her play this year.”
Wilding said that she has gained a lot of self-confidence through playing lacrosse as well as created a lot of lasting friendships.
“I was never really a sportsy person growing up,” Wilding said. “I never really felt confident in sports, but over the last few years playing, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in myself. I’ve found it doesn’t really matter what other people think. If you’re trying to improve yourself, there will always be other people there to support you. So that has given me a lot of confidence to keep working towards my goals.”
Wilding has been studying cosmetology at the Bridgerland Applied Technology College and is on pace to graduate this October with a degree in cosmetology. From there, she wants to attend Utah State University and get a business degree to hopefully one day open her own salon.
Kamree Young is the returning varsity goalie and had already overcome some trials before the season even started. Coach Earnest explained, “Kamree hurt her shoulder over the winter and didn’t think she was going to be able to play this season at all. She still wanted to be with the team and was helping with practices and such. Then, she got an MRI done on her shoulder and found out the damage wasn’t as bad as they first thought. So she was cleared to play, only to end up having the season cancelled.”
oach Earnest went on to say, “Kamree is a super uplifting player. She knows the game very well and always brings a very positive attitude and a big smile wherever she goes.”
Box Elder News Journal
PO BOX 370
Brigham City, UT 84302
PHONE 435.723.3471 FAX 435.723.5247