The Box Elder High School softball team has had a long history of success, winning the region championship in each of the last six seasons and having claimed five state titles. But the last state championship came in 2001, and this year’s team was looking to cement their legacy. While things didn’t go exactly as planned—the Bees’ region championship streak was broken at six as the Bees finished second behind Bountiful—a magical run through the state tournament brought them their ultimate goal with the school’s sixth state championship. Head coach Taleas Marble said the team peaked at just the right time for things to fall into place. “Those girls played out of their minds and played their best ball all year at the state tournament,” Marble said. Lead by a group of six seniors, the Bees were looking to run through the region for a seventh straight season before trying to add another state championship banner in the Box Elder High School gymnasium. “It’s been super special to see these kids grow throughout the four years,” Marble said about this year’s seniors. “It’s every coach’s dream to see kids work that hard and accomplish something great together. On top of it all, they’re all awesome people.” All of that work and success on the field didn’t go unnoticed at the college level either as four of the graduating seniors will be taking their talents to the next level. Pitcher Nyah DeRyke will be playing at Utah State University Eastern while fellow hurler, Brylee Marziale, will be pitching for Utah Valley University. Catcher and team captain, Maycen O’Neal and Ali Ellertson, both have the chance to head north and play at Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana. Things looked promising early on for the Bees to accomplish their first goal of another region title until an upstart Braves program put a damper on their region championship hopes. The Bees took three losses in region play—all to the Braves—and were forced to settle for the second seed in Region 5 heading into the postseason tournament. Once there, the team took their play to a whole new level and, despite taking another loss at the hands of the Braves, never lost confidence or sight of their ultimate goal, beating Bountiful twice in the championship series to take hold of the state title Some off-field challenges also helped the girls prepare for on-field adversity and grow closer together as a team. “The teamwork shown this season was awesome,” Marble said. “The girls faced a lot of adversity off the field as a team. We did things a little different this season in that we wanted our practices and our team as a whole to be a safe place for the girls to come and get away from all that.” Looking ahead to next season, the Bees will have a lot of holes to fill and a small incoming senior class to fill them. The Bees will undoubtedly face some stiff competition in the region next season as the Braves graduate just two players from their region championship team and Roy also has a young core that will be hungry next season to make their mark. Despite those challenges, coach Marble said their mantra all season has been to stay humble, but stay confident. “Even in losses, stay confident in your abilities and good things will happen,” Marble said. “If we can keep that attitude heading into next year as well, we’ll be in good shape.”
Box Elder’s Alli Ellertson raises the trophy in celebration with teammates. (right) An excited Bees team shows their excitement after winning the school’s first state softball title since 2001. (left) Nyah DeRyke shoes intense focus during a wind-up. DeRyke pitched a complete game in the deciding contest, and hit a two-run home run.
Bees enter state tourney without region title, leave with bigger, better prize
May 30, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer For the first time in six years, the Box Elder High School softball team entered the state tournament without the Region 5 crown. But this year, they were able to walk away with the one prize that eluded them all those years: a state title, and the Bees’ first since 2001. And they did it by beating the team that broke Box Elder’s region dynasty: Bountiful. There was no shortage of drama for the Bees, who faced the region-champion Braves three times in the state tournament. The Braves had swept the regular season series against the Bees to claim the region crown, and sent the Bees to the one-loss bracket earlier in the state tournament, but the Bees got their only two wins against Bountiful this year. back-to-back, in the most important games of season. Following an 8-7 win over West High School in the one-loss bracket, the Bees knew that theirs was a decidedly uphill battle; not only would they be matched up against the Braves, who, with a win earlier in the state tournament had beaten Box Elder four straight times, but they would have to beat them twice to take home the trophy. Going into the championship game, Bees’ head coach Taleas Marble said she stressed to her team the importance of believing in each other and sticking to what they had practiced all season. “We talked to them about not putting a name on the uniform,” Marble said. “We just have to beat whoever comes onto that field, stay humble in what we do, respect the game, and just keep fighting.” And fight they did. Senior slugger Brylee Marziale opened the scoring against the Braves in the first inning with a solo home run and Merrill launched a two-run dinger in the fourth, but the Braves seemed to always have an answer to keep the game close. The Braves were clinging to a 6-5 lead heading into the final frame when the Bees finally solved their hitting slump against their rivals and blasted seven runs in the top of the frame, led by a three-run bomb by Nyah DeRyke, to take a commanding 12-6 lead. The Braves pulled one back in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t overcome the lead and fell for the first time in the tournament to set up a winner-take-all second game. Some fatigue and nerves looked to set in during the deciding game as neither side was willing to give an inch defensively. With the game deadlocked at two, DeRyke, who also got a complete game win from the pitching circle in the deciding game, smashed a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to give the Bees a 4-2 lead. But again, the Braves had an answer as they scored one in the bottom of the frame and then tied the game off a home run from Livi Arona in the bottom of the sixth heading into the final inning. In the top of the seventh, catcher Maycen O’Neal smacked a line drive to right field that drove in Marziale for the go-ahead run. Coming down the stretch, the Braves got runners on first and second, but couldn’t find another hit as a grounder to first base finished the game and secured the championship for the Bees. After the game, an exhausted—but jubilant—DeRyke, who had just won her second state championship this season over the Braves (the first was as a member of the Bees’ volleyball team), said, “I can’t decide which one is better. They were both against [the Braves] and it was literally like the same setup. We couldn’t beat them in region either time and we picked the state tournament to beat them.” DeRyke went on to say, “Winning the championship takes a weight off my shoulders. I’m never going to put this uniform on again, but I’ll always be able to look back and say that I went out on top.” The Bees’ journey to the championship round was long and winding. After edging Olympus in the first round and dispatching Corner Canyon on the road, the Bees squared off against Maple Mountain in the quarterfinal round. The Bees jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before the Golden Eagles responded to take the lead at 5-4 halfway through three innings. From there, the Bees reasserted their dominance from behind the plate and built a 9-5 lead after five innings before the game was forced into a rain delay. After taking shelter for close to an hour, the game was officially suspended until the next morning. But the gap in play didn’t phase the Bees as they came back and closed out the Golden Eagles and secured a 9-6 win to advance in the winner’s bracket and set up a rematch with Bountiful, who had already beaten the Bees three times in the regular season. Looking to finally solve their hitting woes against the Braves, the Bees cracked the scoreboard first with one run in the top of the fourth inning, but the Braves responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by a two-run blast from Alyssa Bowles. The Bees struggled to get many base runners until they found some offense in the top of the sixth inning, when Nyah DeRyke launched a solo shot to cut into the lead. Later in the inning, Mallory Merrill drove in two more runs with a double and pulled the Bees within one, but they weren’t able to get any close as the Braves took the win, 5-4, and secured their spot in the championship round. Box Elder was faced with a do-or-die contest against West High School to earn the right for one more shot at the Braves. The Panthers had cruised in the tournament behind a high-powered offense that had beaten all their opponents by at least 10 runs until the Braves sent them to the loser’s side. But the Bees were the ones to show off their heavy hitting first as they took a 4-0 lead after two innings. The Panthers came roaring back in the third inning when, with bases loaded, junior infielder Huntyr Ava tied the game with a long fly ball to center field and a grand slam home run. Another long ball from the Panthers, this time a two-run blast from Keisha White in the bottom of the fourth, put West ahead, 6-4, and put the Bees behind the eight ball. In the fifth inning, the Bees were able to load the bases and scored off a walk, but couldn’t overtake the lead and left three runners stranded. Box Elder loaded the bases again in the sixth inning, and were able to convert, driving in three runs to take an 8-6 lead. The Panthers pulled one run back in the bottom of the frame on a throwing error, but weren’t able to muster any more offense as the Bees held on for an 8-7 win.
Courtesy photo Lexi Koetitz (center) led the way for the Bees’ third-place team finish by taking the top spot on the podium in the 300-meter hurdles. She also took second in the 100-meter hurdles.
‘Overachieving’ Box Elder girls take third at 5A state track meet
May 23, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor After graduating a group of girls last year who earned the bulk of the points in Box Elder’s track and field state title, there was little thought that the team might have a shot finishing in the top three at this year’s state meet. But in the high school season’s final hurrah, the 5A state meet at Brigham Young University last week, the hard work and dedication paid off as the Box Elder girls finished third in a very tight contest. Corner Canyon won the state championship with 66 points, followed by Woods Cross with 61, and Box Elder two points out of a trophy at 59. “Overall we had a great meet,” said coach Tom Davidson. “It was so close at the end that there was some disappointment in not getting a first- or second-place trophy, but to even have been in the conversation for the title is a huge credit to how hard these girls work, how dedicated to each other they are, and how professionally they go about doing their business on the track and in the field. The work ethic and attitudes of these ladies was unbelievably impressive all year.” Leading the way for the Bees was Lexi Koetitz, who took first in the 300-meter hurdles, despite a hard fall earlier at the finish line of the 100-meter hurdles, in which she took second. Koetitz, a senior who will be attending Utah State University on a full-ride track scholarship, also anchored the third place 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. “We were so blessed to even have her come to Box Elder,” said Box Elder hurdle coach Katie Johnson. “The first time I saw her run I knew she was special. She is an amazing athlete. She is an example of putting everything on the track and always giving her best effort.” Johnson noted that Koetitz could have placed in four individual events, but coaches thought she could help the relay teams. “She has done and tried everything we have ever asked of her,” said Johnson. “We asked her to be on relays and wanted to help the team in whatever way was best for the team.” In her final athletic outing as a Bee, Andreanna McKee completed her high school career with a third place finish in the high jump, a dramatic improvement over her sixth-place finish in the event last year. “Coaching Andreanna has been one of the easiest things I have done as a coach,” said Davidson. “She works hard, performs well, and smiles the entire time.” Davidson estimated that McKee has earned 11 letters through her athletic career, and has been a key member on five region championship teams and two state championship teams (track and volleyball). Davidson said the theme for the tournament was overachieve, as the Bees finished higher than their seeds in nearly every event. In the javelin, the Bees were hoping to get “a point or two” but ended up walking away with 10 points in the event after Emily Isaacson placed fourth, Kaylee Talbot placed fifth, and Morgan Reeder took seventh. “All three of these girls placed significantly higher than they should have,” Davidson said. “This event was the one that gave us a real shot at placing so high overall in the team scores.” In the shot put, Maezzi Mund had a better-than-expected finish and took home the second-place medal. The 4x100 relay team of Koetitz, Sydnee Peck, Kate Johnson, and Ansley Tueller, were ranked fifth going into the state meet before finishing in third. The 4x400 relay team of Koetitz, Tueller, Jenna Mortensen, and Breklyn Call also finished higher than their seeded time and place, and finished third. “We outperformed in almost every event we were in this year,” Davidson said. “All credit to these girls, their hard work, and their coolness under pressure.” Senior Kambri Curtis, who has battled through significant injuries throughout her high school career, earned the Bees some points with a fifth-place finish in the discus. Davidson noted the loss of Carly Julander, who tore her ACL earlier in the season. “If Julander does not get hurt we probably win state,” Davidson said. “She was a huge loss for us this year in three events.”
Box Elder boys Luck was not on the side of the Box Elder boys, who finished 14th as a team, but could have had a shot at finishing in the top 10 if things had gone their way. Paden Howard was the Bees’ top individual placer with a second-place finish in the pole vault, which doesn’t count toward the team score. The 4x400 relay team of Caleb Malone, Nash Lewis, Hyrum Blanchard, and Alec Hendricks, finished seventh; Tyson Madson took eighth in the shot put; Riley Pugsley took seventh in the high jump and Hyrum Parry took eighth in the long jump. Track and field head coach Jeff Rawlins said, “I was super happy with how our teams did at the state track and field meet. I really feel the boys and girls should be proud of what was accomplished. We continue to improve on a yearly basis of being teams that go down and compete hard with some of the best teams in the state.”
Box Elder coach Mike Ripplinger laughs at a humorous anecdote shared by a former wrestler during a retirement dinner last Saturday.
Box Elder wrestling coach built successful program, meaningful relationships in storied 34-year career
May 23, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor It was clear from the more than 240 people who gathered last Saturday at Maddox Lodge to honor and celebrate the career of Mike Ripplinger, that the man who led Box Elder High School wrestling for 34 years built more than just a successful, storied and respected program. Ripplinger built lasting and meaningful relationships and influenced lives in a way that is still being felt throughout the state and beyond. “I never imagined this,” Ripplinger said to the wrestlers, friends and family that gathered for the event. “This is like, the most awesome gift anyone could give me.” Ripplinger, who at one point considered pursing a degree in international business, gave up material wealth for a career where he could have an influence, and success is measured in ways other than money. “In...education, your dividends come in different ways...and I am a rich man,” Ripplinger said. “This is the greatest reward ever.” Much was made of the program that brought home six team state titles, 13 state runner-up trophies, 25 team region championships, crowned 60 individual champions, and earned Ripplinger a bevy of Coach of the Year honors from several organizations. Mike Ripplinger’s son, Brandon, who is the wrestling coach at Viewmont, shared the thoughts of wrestling coaches from across the state who respected Ripplinger not just for having a perennially tough team, but for also displaying much “class and character” along the way. As former players were given a few minutes to speak about their memories and the influence of their coach, it was obvious that Ripplinger made sure his athletes knew, as Brock Hardy said, “At the end of the day there’s more to life than just wrestling.” Brent Hubbard, who was a wrestler or assistant coach for 25 of Ripplinger’s 34 years, told those gathered that there isn’t a lot of money in education or coaching, but “He [Ripplinger] is so rich because of the relationships he has gathered over the years. Coach Ripp, you are rich tonight.” Hubbard said he had a unique perspective on the brilliance behind Ripplinger’s success. Ripplinger pushes and motivates kids to reach their full potential, Hubbard said, “whether it was state champion or sixth place at region.” Hubbard credited Box Elder’s first state title under Ripplinger, when the Bees broke Brighton’s 13-year championship dynasty, to that quality. Hubbard said that Brighton beat Box Elder at the Richardson that same year, and Ripplinger put a plan in place and motivated each of his kids to give what they could. At the state tournament, the kids performed and the Bees hoisted the championship trophy. Hubbard also said Ripplinger’s success could be credited to his tenacity to accomplish goals, and his relentless dedication to his kids and his coaching. Jeremiah Hoopes, a wrestler from the class of 1992, said he will remember Ripplinger as a man fiercely dedicated to three things: “His God, his family and his wrestlers, in that order.” Hoopes related a story of waiting outside the high school with teammates in winter, dressed in workout shorts, waiting to get into the school for a practice. Eventually, Ripplinger drove up with his wife, Tracey, to let the kids in. The Ripplingers had just finished attending a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple session. Ripplinger wasn’t only interested in success on the mat, according to Jeff Newby, one of two four-time state champions under Ripplinger. Newby recalled a personal phone call he got from Ripplinger after a particularly tough meet. The coach wasn’t upset about the meet, nor mad that Newby neglected to attend a team meeting. “He was more concerned with me as a person,” Newby said. “He cared about you as an individual.” Newby is a coach himself, now, and carries on Ripplinger’s example, showing kids that he cares for their individual wellbeing as much as their athletic success. Of course, there was plenty of talk of success and the reputation of excellence that Ripplinger expected from his athletes. “Coach Ripp’s always had a fantastic program,” said former wrestler Hector Oliva. He continued that no matter where they went, when the Bees walked in a locker room, they could hear whispers of “Box Elder’s here.” Josh Buck, from the class of 1995, related that on a trip to Oregon, he started talking with some people familiar with high school wrestling. And even there, so far from Utah, when Buck told them he was from Box Elder, that was all he needed to say. Another of Ripplinger’s athletes who went on to be a coach, Caleb Hardy, said Ripplinger instilled values and qualities that led to success for many of them far beyond high school. “Coach Ripp expected us to win, and now it’s what we expect out of ourselves,” Hardy said. Riley Yeates seconded the idea when he said, “I constantly expect the best of myself. Thanks coach.” Ben Ferry, from the class of 2010, expounded on that topic when he said that Ripplinger taught him three things that regularly contribute to his success: the confidence to do hard things, be accountable, and to “surround yourself with great people.” Koleton Hardy added, “Wrestling under coach Ripp was one of the most influencing things I’ve done in my whole life. I learned pretty early on that if you listen to what coach Ripp says, you will accomplish what you want to do.” In a letter about Ripplinger’s impact, Hardy wrote, “He has shaped me into the man I am today. Coach Ripplinger is the reason for my success in life and sports. Without him I would have never reached my potential.” Koleton Hardy was also one of several athletes who had deeper relationships with Ripplinger. For Koleton Hardy; Rasten Yeates, a three-time state champion of the class of 2013; and Brock Hardy, who won his fourth state title this year, Ripplinger has been a constant figure in their lives since almost as long as they can remember, as Ripplinger coached them from an early age and traveled all over the country with them to attend meets. “He’s been more of a father to me than a coach,” Yeates said, and Brock Hardy—who gave his honorarium in absentia due to prom being held the same night—concurred when he said he “appreciated having a second dad in Ripplinger.” Brandon Ripplinger, Mike Ripplinger’s son and a wrestling coach at Viewmont, a reciprocal thought when he said that seeing all the familiar faces from throughout his life made the event “like a big family reunion.”
Courtesy photo Members of the Box Elder High School girls’ track and field team posing for a photo with the Region 5 championship trophy is becoming something of a spring tradition. The team earned their sixth straight title last week at the region meet at Woods Cross High School.
Box Elder Girls’ track team claims sixth consecutive Region 5 title
May 16, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
For the sixth straight year, the Box Elder High School girls’ track and field team claimed the Region 5 championship, while the boys inched ever closer to taking home the gold themselves. At the region meet held May 9 at Woods Cross High School, the girls won in decisive fashion, posting a more than 60-point victory over second-place Bountiful, 208-147. The boys came in second behind the Braves by 17 points, 154-171. “Each year we seem to be getting closer to winning region on the boy’s side, but we haven’t got over the hump yet,” said coach Tom Davidson. “With the amount of young kids we have I think we have a great shot next year.” Davidson said the region title is broadly due to the team’s depth in events rather than a number of top individual competitors. “We had many events where there were multiple Box Elder kids in the finals or in the top nine,” Davidson said, including the 100- and 200-meters, the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, long and high jumps, discus, pole vault, and shot put. “Excluding a couple of individuals, we are not as purely talented as we were last year...but we are just as deep in some events and even more in others.” One of the “purely talented” individuals was Lexi Koetitz, who won both of the hurdle events as well as the 200-meter dash. She was third in the 100-meter dash to wrap up her four events. Lexi was the Brigham Young University Invitational champion in the 300-meter hurdles, where she faced competitors from all over the state throughout all classifications and beat them all by more than a full second. “Winning the BYU invite is a big deal,” Davidson said. “Lexi has had an incredible year this year.” At the upcoming state competition, Lexi will compete in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and on two relay teams. On the other side of the meet—the depth side—was the javelin event, where the Bees claimed six of the top nine spots to score 22 points. Davidson recognized that several of the girls compete in other sports as a way of encouraging multi-sport athletes. Four of the javelin finalists were on the state champion volleyball team: Morgan Reeder, Emily Isaacson, Andreanna McKee, and Kailee Talbot. The other two finalists are also members of the girls’ soccer team. “We are blessed on the girl’s side to have a ton of support from the coaches of the other sports,” Davidson said. “We even had two freshman Rockettes score for us this year at region, Alexis Rodriguez and Sydnee Palmer. They have been great athletes. The coaches for all the other sports have been incredible this year.” Also topping the podium for the Bees was the 4x100 relay team of Sydney Peck, Kate Johnson, Alexis Rodriguez, and Allison Bullard. “They were not expected to win, but they ran an incredible time and had three perfect handoffs. Speed and good handoffs win every time,” Davidson said. In the 100-meter event, Box Elder had four girls place in the top eight. Maezzi Mund and Kambri Curtis took first and second in the discus. Mund also took second in the shot put and Curtis scored points in javelin. “Overall, the girls did fantastic,” Davidson said. “We have some incredible girls with work ethic and some serious goals.” Davidson said the girls’ chances of winning a state title are not as good as last year, when the Bees fielded four athletes who went on to NCAA Division I schools on scholarship, “but if we have a great weekend, a trophy is not out of the realm of possibilities.” On the boys’ side of the competition, Davidson said second is always a tough position, knowing that the title was so close, but he acknowledged that the team had a great meet. “...honestly had a fantastic meet,” Davidson said. “I was very proud of the boys.” Unfortunately, the boys were unable to field a complete team. A few of the missing athletes would have scored well, which is particularly frustrating considering the narrow margin between first and second “If we had our full team for the meet we would have won, I have no question,” Davidson said. The most exciting event of the meet was the 4 x 400 relay, where the Bees led the majority of the time, but it was tightly contested by three. In the last 100 meters, the race came down an all-out sprint in the 100 meters where Box Elder’s Alec Hendricks held off a late surge by Roy and Woods Cross to win. Hendricks was welcomed at the finish line more than 100 people screaming and yelling. “When our kids crossed the finish line, they were surrounded by their teammates, both boys and girls. It was a lot of fun to watch,” Davidson said. The boys showed well in the jumps, with Riley Pugsley and Hyrum Parry taking the top two spots, respectively, in the high jump. Parry took first in the long jump and Braxton Moser took second. The sprints were also a strong point and the Bees were well-represented in the finals of the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter. Hyrum Blanchard and Alec Hendricks both scored in those events, and Caleb Malone scored in the 200- and 400-meter. Freshman Nash Lewis took second in the 100-meter, fourth in the 200-meter, was a member of the first-place 4 x 400 relay team, and was on the third place, 4x100 team. Nash is the only freshman in the entire region, boys or girls, to make a sprint final. “He came to us fast and willing to work, our sprint coach, Michael Cruz did the rest,” Davidson said. In the throwing events, Ryan Gunn scored in all three throws, Tyson Madson scored in the discus and the shot, and Taylor Wright was second in the javelin.
After loss to Bountiful, soccer team waits until beating Roy to celebrate region title
May 16, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
As the Box Elder High School soccer team walked dejectedly off their own pitch after losing to Bountiful last Tuesday, little did they know that not much later, they would be crowned the 2018 Region 5 champions following a tie between Roy and Viewmont in a game that same afternoon. “The boys came in on Wednesday and they weren’t celebrating,” said Box Elder coach Nate Bywater. The Bees had racked up a 13-game unbeaten streak, including going undefeated in region—until the loss to Bountiful—and the last thing they wanted was to be accused of “backing in” to the region title thanks to their competition losing points in a tie. They postponed any trophy presentation and celebration and got to work preparing to beat Roy on the road two days later. The game became a matter of finishing what they started and definitively earning what they had already put themselves in position to take. “Right from day one, our whole focus was to be region champs,” Bywater said. “It was a matter of putting our stamp on it.” Roy was hyped up, Bywater said—their final game on their home field—and they used it to their advantage. The Royals quickly exploited the space on their large field and found seams to get the ball deep in Box Elder’s zone. Roy jumped on the Bees early with a goal, but Box Elder quickly responded with one, and then another, from Brendan Dewberry and Mitchell Pyle. “It was basically like a boxing match, with two heavyweights punching each other in the mouth,” Bywater said about the match. With a one goal advantage and a half left to play, the Bees were able to play back, control the pace of the game, and smother any Roy attempt to build momentum. Following the win, a small gathering of family, friends and fans—as many as could be gathered in a short amount of time—gathered at Box Elder’s field for a trophy presentation and celebration. While it was important to the team to win the region title “on their own terms,” they would deserve to be recognized for what they have accomplished this season.” “Credit to these guys, that even if we had lost those last two games, we’d still have a share of the region title,” Bywater said. This is the Bees’ third region title in eight years (2010 and 2011), and they have taken second in that same span. Bywater said that when he took over in 2009, he had a goal to “show off” Box Elder soccer, and challenged the soccer community to join him in that endeavor and do what needed to be done to compete in the one of the toughest regions in the state. Bywater said that without the support of youth teams, coaches, players and parents, it wouldn’t have been possible. The Bees’ determination to beat Roy was the result of a 2-1 loss to Bountiful on Tuesday to spoil Box Elder’s senior day. (Bywater noted that no team in the region survived their own senior day this season, and that Box Elder played spoiler at two of them.) “Maybe we were a little bit in our head,” Bywater said, but there’s no denying what Bywater said the previous week about Bountiful: that they were a proud, but wounded, program, and as such could be dangerous. “What you saw was a team that was up for the moment because they had a playoff spot to play for,” Bywater said. The Braves fought “tooth and nail” for every loose ball and every opportunity and were able to score one goal in each half in a fairly dominant performance. With about 10 minutes left in the game the Bees finally “woke up” according to Bywater, and about six minutes after that, Pyle was able to score the Bees’ only goal of the game. The Bees started to win loose balls and shift the momentum, but “it was too little, too late. The energy is the main talking point for me,” Bywater said. The Bees finished their season with a 13-2-1 overall record, and will look to go “1-0 for four games” through the state tournament beginning with a game against East at home today, Wednesday, May 16, at 4 p.m. Bywater said that his team is preparing carefully for East, a once familiar region opponent. Every year, Bywater said, there’s always a No. 4 seed that knocks out a region champion, and East could very well be that “false four.” If the Bees beat East, they will host the winner between Alta and Wasatch on Friday at 4 p.m.
Girls topple Herriman, Woods Cross, fall to Bears
May 9, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer The Box Elder High School softball team got a couple of cracks at very stiff competition last week when they squared off against the top-ranked 6A team in the state, Herriman, and the fifth-ranked team in 4A against Bear River. The Bees entered the week as the third-ranked team in 5A and showed why they’ve been ranked all year with a 7-5 win over the Mustangs. Brylee Marziale got the win from the pitching circle and rang up nine strikeouts in the process. Libby Parkinson tried to keep the Mustangs close as she went 4-for-4 from the plate with a triple and a home run to pace the offense. But in the end, the Bees had enough offense early and enough defense late to hold off a charge and secure the win. The Bees were back at home for a region game on Thursday when they played host to Woods Cross. It was a relatively quick outing for the Bees as they posted 12 runs in the first three innings before the Wildcats even cracked the scoreboard. The visitors pulled a couple of runs back late, but the never posed a threat as the Bees cruised to a 12-2 win. On Friday afternoon, the Bees traveled north to cross-county rival Bear River. The Bears entered the game—their last of the regular season before the state tournament—on a two-game winning streak, and they were anxious to send their seniors out on a high note. The game proved to be a defensive struggle throughout, though the Bears were able to build a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth inning. The Bees pulled one run back in the top of the sixth, then shut the Bears out to keep their comeback hopes alive. In the top of the seventh, the Bees found their usually hot bats and scored two runs to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the final frame. But the Bears wouldn’t be denied and freshman catcher Oaklie Maxfield provided the winning hit. With two runners in scoring position, Maxfield ripped a liner into the outfield to secure the win, 5-4. The week moves the Bees to 18-5 overall and 8-2 in region play. The win over the Wildcats, coupled with a Bountiful loss to Roy puts the Bees in a tie with the Braves for first place in the region. Heading into their final week of play before the playoffs, Bees’ head coach Taleas Marble said, “We’re in for a tough week because the region standings are so close. It’ll be a really good test for our girls before we head to state.” Yesterday, Tuesday, May 8, the Bees had a chance to take sole possession of first place and avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Braves when the team traveled to Bountiful (results not available by press time). Tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, May 10, the Bees will wrap up region play on senior night when they host the Royals. The Bees very much control their own destiny as two region wins this week would give them the region championship while two losses would drop them into third place and put them on the road for the first round of the state tournament. On Friday, the team will head to Copper Hills for their final tune-up before beginning the state tournament on Tuesday.
Bees overcome lapse to beat WX, stay unbeaten in region
May 9, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor In their only game last week, the Box Elder High School boys’ soccer team earned a win over Woods Cross, 3-1, to remain unbeaten in region play. The game not only added another “W” to the Bees’ record, but reminded them of the work they have yet to do as the post season rapidly approaches. Top on their list is playing a complete game. “We’re Still trying to learn how to play 80 minutes, and I think that’s what you saw there,” said Box Elder head coach Nate Bywater about a stretch midway through the first half where the Bees lost the dominance they had exhibited through the first 20 minutes that had earned them a very early goal. “Scoring early is always a good thing,” Bywater said, “but it can be dangerous if you don’t have the right mindset.” That’s not to say that Woods Cross took the game over midway through the first half, but Woods Cross “had a little bit more opportunity to dump the ball behind our defense and cause some headaches” Bywater said. Box Elder was able to refocus and gain control of the game, which provided them an insurance goal right before intermission and a 2-0 lead heading in to half time. In the second half, Box Elder continued to control possession and pace, although Woods Cross was able to score, the Bees also recorded one of their own to claim the victory.
If the Bees come up with a win over Bountiful, they will have clinched the region title, regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s game against Roy, who stands at 4-2 in region play behind Box Elder’s perfect 6-0 record.
Courtesy Cris Rose Photography Oakley Dunn makes a diving catch in extra innings to secure a win over Layton last Saturday. The Bees played Layton, along with serval other teams at the Cache Valley Invitational Tournament. In all, the Bees won six of the seven games they played last week.
Bees survive busy week with six wins in seven games May 2, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer The Box Elder High School softball team took care of business in region play last week with wins over Roy and Viewmont, avenged state tournament losses over Uintah, then got a taste of state tournament-style play with four games on Saturday in Cache Valley. In all the Bees won six out of seven games they played last week. On Tuesday, April 24, the Bees squared off against the Royals with the region’s second place standing on the line as both teams entered the match at 5-2 behind Bountiful. Both teams understood the weight of the game, and the Royals snagged an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Bees pulled one back in the fourth, then took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth inning, including a solo shot from Nyah DeRyke, which was her first career home run, to take the win 4-2. On Thursday afternoon, the Bees hit the road again, this time to Bountiful to take on Viewmont. Led by senior Brylee Marziale’s two home runs, the Bees jumped on the last place Vikings early and grabbed a 14-0 lead after two innings before getting some younger girls some varsity playing time. The junior varsity defense bent a little more than the starters, but held when it counted as the Bees went on to win 19-6. On Friday, the Bees hosted Uintah, who had knocked the Bees out of the state tournament the last two seasons. With the realignment this past year, the Utes remained 4A while the Bees made the jump to 5A, so Friday was the only shot the two will have at each other this season. It was the Bees who made the most of it, scoring four runs in the first inning and five in the third while shutting out the visitors until the final inning en route to a 12-1 win. The team didn’t have much time to celebrate as they were back in action bright and early the next morning in the Cache Valley Invitational against host school Mountain Crest. The Mustangs came into the contest riding a three-game winning streak, but that came to an end early as the Bees posted five runs in the first inning, most of which came from one swing of Mallroy Merrill’s bat as she hit her first home run—which also happened to be a grand slam. The Bees went on to win, 9-2. DeRyke got the win from the pitching circle and rang up eight strikeouts in the game. The Bees moved on to face the Deseret News’ fourth-ranked team in 5A, Maple Mountain. The game against the Golden Eagles was destined to be tight all the way and wasn’t decided until the final pitch of the seventh inning when, with the game knotted at two and a runner on first, the Golden Eagles launched a high fly ball deep over the wall for a walk off home run and a 4-2 win. Despite having some emotion drained out of them, the Bees had to jump on a bus and head to Green Canyon High School in North Logan to take on the Wolves. The Bees showed a little fatigue in the first inning, which finished at two all, but then put the clamps on defensively to run away with the game. The Bees added two runs in every inning until the fifth, where they posted five to take a convincing 13-3 win. In their last game of the day, the Bees squared off against Layton in a defensive struggle that required extra innings. The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw through seven innings before the Bees finally broke the deadlock in the top of the eighth with two runs to take a 3-1 lead. With two outs and runners in scoring position, the Lancers had one last chance to extend the game, but Box Elder senior Oakley Dunn laid out for a long fly ball and came up with a diving catch to retire the side and secure the win. Yesterday, Tuesday, May 1, the Bees hit the road again to take on 6A’s top-ranked team, Herriman (results not available by press time). The Bees will have a region game at home against Woods Cross tomorrow, Thursday, May 3, and then head north to square off against cross-county rival and the fifth-ranked team in 4A, Bear River. Both of those games are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.
Youth basketball summer camp announced Box Elder High School boys’ basketball team will host its annual basketball summer camp for boys in 3rd through 8th grade June 4-8 at the high school. The cost to register for the five-day camp is $50, which includes a T-shirt and prizes for contest winners. New this year, a family rate of $100 will be offered for three or more participants (immediate family members, only). Participants will be instructed on all aspects of the game, with emphasis on shooting, ball handling and team play. There will be three sessions each day of the camp: 3rd-4th graders, 8-9:45 a.m.; 5th-6th graders, 10-11:45 a.m.; and 7th-8th graders, 12-1:45 p.m. Request registration forms by emailing coach Jace McKee at Jace.McKee@besd.net, or registration will be available the first day of camp 15 minutes prior to each session.
Beehive Mile next week Dan Price State Farm Insurance and the Box Elder High School cross country team will host the annual Beehive Mile race for 4th and 5th graders on Friday, May 11, at Watkins Park, 600 West, Forest Street. Pre-registration occurred at individual participating schools, but late registration will be available from 4:30 to 5 p.m. on race day. In order to participate, the runner and parent/guardian must have signed and completed a registration available at www.beehivemile.com. The race is free to enter. The Beehive Mile, now in its 10th year, is designed to encourage running as a healthy sport that everyone can participate in.
Courtesy Facebook.com/thehive Mitchell Pyle tries to use his head to turn an opportunity into a goal in Box Elder’s 3-0 win over Roy last week that gave the Bees a perfect first half of their region schedule.
Bees’ soccer team wins two to stay perfect in region play
May 2, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor Box Elder High School’s boys’ soccer team won two important games last week, one against Roy, 3-0, to give the Bees a perfect first half of their region schedule, and the other was the Bees’ second game against Viewmont, 1-0, where the Vikings were looking to tie the season series. Despite the win over Roy, the second ranked team in the region, and Viewmont, who earned preseason nods as one of the teams to beat, Box Elder head coach Nate Bywater said that the season was still far from over and that the Bees were continuing to find ways to improve. “From our perspective, the season still has more games to play which offers us the chance to show our supporters and detractors who this team is and can be,” Bywater said. Going into the game against Roy, Bywater was expecting a tough match-up against a physical Royal team, but both squads came out anxious and tentative as they felt each other out and tried to determine the others’ weakness. “As time passed, our confidence grew and we began to take more control of the game on both sides of the ball,” Bywater said. The Bees scored first, in the first half, thanks to some defensive pressure that resulted in the Bees winning a throw up ball. Box Elder was able to turn that possession into some solid pressure in their offensive end. Bryce Shimizacki was able to find some room and a hole to take a shot, the rebound of which Mitchell Pyle was able to put in the back of the net. Bywater said that the theme of applying pressure on both ends of the field continued through the majority of the game, resulting in second half goals from Pyle and Bryce Backman, and the fourth shutout of the season for keeper, John Hansen. “By the end we felt good about the effort put in from the team,” Bywater said. “That being said, we all agreed there were opportunities given to them that we need to clean up so we can get to a complete game played.” Despite the fact that Box Elder had beat Viewmont in their first meeting of the season—perhaps because of it—Bywater said that he was expecting a tough game from the Vikings. “If the first game taught us anything, it was that they were physical, fast and could play if they wanted,” Bywater said. “The good thing was that we were starting to play better ourselves and...we felt the game was going to require grit on top of our training.” Ultimately, in a game featuring two skilled, tough, and gritty teams, the difference would be which team made the first mistake. Early on, it was a back-and-forth battle with neither team extending themselves too far to make the mistake that might cost their team the win. But deep in the second period, it was Viewmont who succumbed to the pressure when Shimizacki was able to break the defense down with a singular individual performance that forced the Vikings’ defense to spread, creating space in front of the net. Shimizacki found a streaking Charlie Maddox with a pass, who was able to one-touch the ball into the net. “It wasn’t the prettiest game you’ll ever watch, but sometimes when teams are balanced, those games become more about heart and determination which our team showed throughout that match,” Bywater said. At this point in the season, with last week’s results, the Bees have a 11-1-1 record, and will close the regular season with games against Woods Cross, Bountiful and Roy. “As the regular season winds down, we know there’s more to be done and more screws to tighten as we continue to try and peak at the right time,” Bywater said. “Honestly, after the Viewmont game, our focus went straight to Woods Cross and that game on their field. They’re a good team that will be looking for a different result and we are doing everything to be ready.” As has been the case so far the Bees will rely on their stifling defense and steady presence in the net of Hansen, both of whom have only allowed two goals so far in region play, which is five fewer (one per game on average) than the next best team in the region. The Bees will hit the road to take on the Wildcats on Friday, May 4, in their only game this week. Box Elder will host Bountiful on Tuesday, May 8, in the final home game of the regular season. That game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. That same week, on Friday, May 11, the Bees will close their region schedule at Roy.
Isaac Wayment uses his knees to gain control of a bouncing ball inside the Woods Cross keeper’s box and generate a scoring chance that resulted in the game’s only goal and gave the Bees a 1-0 win.
Soccer team one game away from perfect first half of region schedule April 25, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor The Box Elder High School soccer team extended their undefeated region winning streak two more games last week with victories over Woods Cross, 1-0, and Bountiful, 2-1, in overtime. According to head coach Nate Bywater, there was some uncertainty amongst the Bees going into the game against Woods Cross, seeing as the Wildcats were just coming off a convincing win over Viewmont. “We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from this game going in,” Bywater said, “but after a few minutes into the game, we calmed whatever nerves we had and began to play.” The Bees regularly pressed the Wildcats’ defense and tested their keeper in the first half of the game. At about eight minutes in, one opportunity resulted in the game’s only goal when the Bees’ Isaac Wayment leaped through the box and caught a bouncing ball with his knees, and later put the ball in the back of the net. That goal would prove to be enough as the Bees were able to weather the adjustments and improved play from the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. “Woods Cross got a little more organized and the game became a bit more even in terms of possession,” said Bywater. “At the end of the game, we felt we missed some chances that would have certainly put the game away, and those are items we’re continuing to address in training.” Bywater also said that the Wildcats’ physical play helped prepare the Bees for the game against Bountiful. “We knew what to expect from Bountiful going in,” said Bywater. “They have a really good program history and are a very physical team and that’s exactly how they played. Everything was challenged and they always took the opportunity to remind our players they were there.” Early, Bountiful was able to move the ball deep into Bees’ territory, and were able to keep in there with constant pressure. A Box Elder effort to clear the ball from their zone was significantly off the mark, and resulted in an own goal that put a point on the board for the Braves. “Once we adapted to the more physical play, we started to turn things around and take control of the game,” Bywater said. As the momentum shifted, Bountiful was forced to play more aggressive defense, which resulted in the Bees tying the score at one when Mitchell Pyle converted a penalty kick. In overtime, the Bees continued to control the momentum and keep pressure in the attack, which resulted in an opportunity for Pyle that won the game. For all the talk of offensive pressure, however, Bywater praised his defense. “Our defense continues to improve and that was the most influential element that changed the game in our favor on Friday,” Bywater said. “The guys worked hard to minimize their [Bountiful’s] chances when they had the ball, and worked hard, as a team, to get the ball back as quickly as they could.” The Bees played Roy on Tuesday, April 24, (results not available by press time), and a win there—while anything but certain—would give the Bees a perfect first half of their region schedule. As of Monday, the Royals are in second place with a 2-1 record, and were just coming off their second loss of the season, to Viewmont. Prior to Tuesday’s game Bywater said, “Roy is just coming off a tough loss and we’re sure they’re looking to show that it was just a blip.” With a win over Roy, the Bees will be little more than a giant target for opponents in the second half of the region schedule. “No doubt, we’ve caught the attention of our region, so we will just continue to do what we can do be prepared for our next game,” Bywater said. “We know this region is a tough region, so whether we’re in the first half or second half of the season, teams will always be up for beating Box Elder,” Bywater said. “So that means we are preparing for every game, one game at a time, and just concentrating on the things we can control. We are still fixing and tweaking elements to our game plan and fine tuning the system around this team, so that’s how we’re going to address each game.”
Ryan Greer (far right) completes his jog around the bases after launching a second-inning grand slam home run in the third game of the Bees’ series against Bountiful last week. The Bees swept the series with wins in three close games.
‘expect adversity, then overcome it’ April 25, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer The Box Elder High School baseball team was tested last week in a three-game series against Bountiful, where the Bees saw early leads in each of the games evaporate and had to outlast a Braves’ team intent on rallying for the comeback wins. “The one thing I’ve been preaching to our team all year is to expect adversity and then expect to overcome it,” said Box Elder head coach Jesse Roberts about the week. The Bees embodied that mantra as they picked up the nail-biter wins over the preseason favorite, Braves, with each game not decided until the final out. In the first game on Tuesday, the Bees jumped out to an early lead and posted seven runs in the bottom of the third to take a 10-4 lead after three frames. But the Braves battled back and scored runs in three of the final four innings, lead by two home runs from Isaac Parry. In the end, it came down to the final inning where the Bees clung to a 12-10 lead. Bountiful found one run in the final frame, but the comeback fell short as Box Elder’s defense stiffened and secured the 12-11 win. Jeremy Gee picked up the win from the mound for the Bees.
Luck and hustle helps soccer team overcome slow start to beat Viewmont
April 18, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
A little luck and a lot of hustle and teamwork helped the Box Elder High School soccer team withstand a first half onslaught from Viewmont and open their region schedule with an important win, 2-1 (overtime). In the first nearly 30 minutes of the first half, Viewmont’s speed and strength dominated the game, and left the Bees scrambling to catch up and prevent the Vikings from having too many clean looks at the goal. Head coach Nate Bywater said that after the first few minutes it was clear that the Bees had a significant fight on their hands if they hoped to escape with a win. “They just kept throwing the ball into dangerous areas and we couldn’t figure out what to do,” Bywater said. Where the luck came in is that the Vikings were unable to put the few clean looks they got on frame, and Box Elder benefitted from Viewmont’s mishaps and inability to take advantage of opportunity. “A lot of their finishing left something to be desired,” Bywater said. As for Box Elder’s early hustle, Bywater said, “We could have done better coming out of the gate,” but added, “the [Box Elder] players didn’t quit.” In the first 30 minutes, the Vikings were able to capitalize on their dominance once, but the Bees made personnel adjustments to create better match ups that would neutralize the Viking’s two most dangerous attackers. “We were starting to create chances and make problems for Viewmont,” Bywater said. For the rest of the first half, the tide continued to turn, and the Bees were able to preserve the one-goal deficit and stay within striking distance going into intermission. “To come out of the first half only a goal down, I think it gave our guys just enough confidence,” Bywater said, and within 15 minutes of the second half, Mitchell Pyle had scored his first goal of the game to tie the score at 1-1. In the overtime period, the teams traded possessions back-and-forth early, and the action was mostly in between the boxes, but as the period went on, the Bees started to exert a little more pressure. That pressure generated dividends for the Bees when on a breakaway opportunity, Box Elder was fouled, and Pyle was able to convert the resulting free kick. Bywater said he was impressed with how his team responded, but added that they can’t rely on opponents not take advantage if the Bees continue to not be ready from the opening kickoff. “We faced one of the strongest teams and we we’re able to figure it out,” Bywater said. “Let’s just figure it out a little earlier.” With the win, the Bees (1-0) are tied for second place in the region with Woods Cross (1-1-0), both of which have three points. Roy leads the pack with six points after one-goal wins over both Woods Cross and Bountiful. The Braves and Viewmont are still looking for their first region win. The Bees had a chance on Tuesday to separate themselves from Woods Cross as the two teams faced off in Brigham City (results not available by press time). The Wildcats are coming off a 3-1 win over Viewmont. That game illustrates what could have happened to the Bees in the game against the Vikings as Woods Cross came out quick and scored three early goals and held off Viewmont for the remainder of the game. Next week, on Tuesday, April 24, the Bees will be on the road at Bountiful for a game scheduled to kickoff at 3:30 p.m.
Softballers grab 10-run wins over Woods Cross, Viewmont
April 18, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer Last week was the type of week the Box Elder High School softball team has grown accustomed to in recent years, as they grabbed two 10-run wins over region opponents, first against Woods Cross on Monday, and then over Viewmont on Tuesday. Against the Wildcats, the Bees were short a couple of their regular starters and had a little trouble getting used to some changes in the lineup, and the game stayed scoreless for the first two innings. But the offense clicked in the bottom of the third as the Bees erupted for five runs and never looked back as they cruised to a 12-2 win. Senior Nyah DeRyke picked up with win from the pitching circle as she gave up just three hits on the day and recorded eight strikeouts. The Bees racked up 18 hits and 10 RBIs on their way to posting 12 runs. One especially bright spot against the Wildcats was sophomore Mickelle Lish, who stepped into a starting role for the first time this season and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate. The Vikings entered the game Tuesday still searching for their first region win, but the Bees weren’t going to be caught napping as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning and finished the game in just five innings while cruising to a 12-0 win. Brylee Marziale was dominant from the circle as she pitched a complete game no-hitter and rang up nine strikeouts in the process. Junior Sydnee Blacker hit a home run in the game while Marziale recorded a triple and DeRyke, Maycen O’Neal, and Reagan Marziale each had doubles during the win. The wins move the Bees into a tie for first place in the region with Bountiful as both teams sit at 4-1. Roy is in third at 4-2, followed by the Wildcats at 2-4 and the Vikings at 0-6.
Box Elder’s Jake Holgate sprints for home as the Bees break open a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Baseball team blows out Granger, drops close game against Fremont April 11, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School baseball team returned to action last week after a week-long hiatus and notched a convincing win over Granger, 10-0, on Wednesday afternoon followed by a close 7-5 loss to Fremont on Thursday. Against the Lancers, the Bees were excited to suit up after the long break, and that excitement showed in a dominant second inning that blew the game open. The Bees posted five runs in that frame, added two more in the third, and three in the fourth to overwhelm the Lancers. Jace Myers, Jace Wilding, Jerum Ferland, and Ryan Greer each hit home runs to spark the offensive onslaught. Jeremy Gee pitched a complete game from the mound and got the shutout win while allowing just two hits in the game. Garrett Curtis took the loss on the mound for the Lancers. After the game, Bees’ head coach Jesse Roberts said it was the kind of performance he expects from his team day-in and day-out. “That was an awesome game,” Roberts said. “We hit the crap out of the ball and that was great to see. We also got a great pitching performance from [Gee] and he performed like we expected him to. We have high expectations for him.” The next day, the Bees were back in action at home against the Silverwolves. The Bees jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, but the visitors erased the deficit in the second and opened up a 5-2 lead in the fourth that they never gave up. The Bees battled the rest of the game, but four fielding errors proved costly as the comeback attempt fell short. Of his team’s effort, coach Roberts said, “I’m really proud of how our boys battled back in that game after getting down. We let our guard down for one inning and it got away from us. But we didn’t roll over and die and that shows a lot. Sometimes, you can have a bad inning and end up losing by 10 runs. But our boys battled to the end and I’m really proud of that.” The Bees had just one game this week, on Monday afternoon against Logan (results not available by press time). The schedule originally had the Bees facing Bonneville on Monday and the Grizzlies on Friday, but the unpredictable springtime weather has forced some changes. In addition to the weather wreaking havoc on schedules, rescheduling postponed games has been hampered by a shortage of officials. Throughout the state, Utah is down almost 100 umpires from last season. Following spring break, the Bees will kick off region play with a three-game series against Bountiful. The Bees will host the Braves Tuesday and Friday and head to Bountiful on Wednesday. Each game is scheduled to start at 3:30 pm. As the Bees enter region play, coach Roberts feels good about their chances while also understanding the team will have to come to play each week. “Every team in our region has one or two studs that can come out and win a game for them,” Roberts said. “I think we’re right there, but every series in our region should be competitive.”
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