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.”
Pitcher Logan Holgate is one of only four returning seniors for the Bees.
March 4, 2020 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
Warmer temperatures and longer evenings mark the beginning of spring across Utah and with it brings the start of the high school baseball season.
This weekend, the Box Elder High School baseball team will head to St. George for four games in the Dixie Sunshine Classic as the team prepares for another year and hopes to improve on last year’s record, where the team finished with a 5-20 overall record.
The team will have a mixture of youth and experience this season as there are only four returning seniors on the team, headlined by pitching ace Logan Holgate, who recently committed to play for Salt Lake Community College.
Center fielder and lead-off hitter Nate Wheatley will also be an integral part of any success the Bees may have this season.
When asked about his goals for this weekend’s tournament, Bees’ head coach Jesse Roberts said, “We have a lot of experience back this year so we have some high expectations for ourselves. This weekend, we’ll be looking for who is going to step up as our second and third pitchers in our rotation. We know Logan will be our stud on the mound, so we’ll be looking for who else can step into those roles.”
Junior pitcher Trevor Sorensen has put in a lot of work during the off-season and earned the start on the mound for the Bees’ first game Friday morning against Cedar City. Roberts said that Sorensen and several others will have opportunities to pitch in the coming weeks and the regular rotation starts are up for grabs to whoever makes the most of those opportunities.
A triumphant Kyle Douglas of Harrisville celebrates his big win at the international archery competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Feb. 9. Douglas is a member of the Brigham Bowmen Archery Club.
February 12, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
A member of a Brigham City archery club claimed the professional compound bow championship title at The Vegas Shoot 2020, an internationally-acclaimed competition.
Kyle Douglas of Harrisville won $54,000 after beating 21 other “perfect shooters” in the Feb. 9, competition in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“It’s insane, nothing like it, nothing like it for sure,” said Douglas after winning the event. “It was absolutely crazy. I had so much adrenaline flowing.”
The field continuously shrank as archers were eliminated with each successive round until only five remained. In the last round, each of the five shot three arrows. As his third arrow hit the big 10-ring, Douglas raised his arms in celebration.
But it wasn’t until the only other archer left, shot and missed that the crowd went wild and he knew he’d won.
Douglas, 22, had previously won the young adult division in Las Vegas and had participated in the bigger pro tournament for seven years before taking the main event title this year.
“Archery doesn’t have any qualifiers to be considered a pro. There’s just a bigger entry fee and way better competition,” he said.
Douglas has been shooting since he was in the second grade, starting in a Brigham City children’s archery league.
He currently practices with the Brigham Bowmen Archery Club, which closes off the bowery behind the city pool in the winter for practice.
While the Las Vegas event is the world’s biggest, Douglas said he also competes in about 10 other national events and many local ones throughout the year.
When he’s not competing, he is an avid compound bow hunter, along with most of his family, whom he said mostly bow hunt but also enjoy target shooting and attending the competitions. None, however, compete to the level that he does.
Douglas opened Douglas Archery in Harrisville in April of 2019, and said he has seen steady growth in his fledgling business. “Archery is actually very big in Utah compared with a lot of other states. A lot of people bow hunt and there are a lot of professional shooters in Utah.”
Often people start out as bow hunters and then move on to target shooting and competition, he said. “Hunting rules are about the same as rifle shooting but archery hunting is early in the hunting season and rifle hunting is later.”
When asked if he has ever considered competing in the Olympics, he said that compound bows are not allowed, which is all he uses. The Olympic Committee only allows recurve bows.
“But compound bows are the most popular in archery so a lot of people are trying to get the Olympics to change the rules.”
As for how he plans to spend the $54,000 he just won, Douglas responded, “Hopefully I’ll do something smart with it.”
January 15, 2020 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
Farmington’s Valerie Kunzler led all scorers with 20 points as the Phoenix dealt the Box Elder High School girls’ basketball team their first region loss of the year last Friday night, 55-22.
The Phoenix came into the game fresh off a 38-33 loss to Ridgeline and were looking to—and succeeded in—establishing the tempo early. The home team jumped out to a 17-4 advantage after the first period and never looked back as they cruised to the win.
In a game that was always going to be a tough one for the Bees, Box Elder found out why the Phoenix came into the contest as the third-ranked team in the 5A classification as they flustered and frustrated the Bees’ offense all night, holding them to a season-low scoring output.
On the other end of the court, the Bees had no answer for Kunzler or junior guard Abigail Ferrell, who netted 17 points on the night. Naomi Kehl also added 10 points and six rebounds in the win.
The Bees were led by Tegan Mecham with six points.
The loss drops the Bees to 5-8 on the year and puts the team into a two-game skid after winning four out of five prior to the loss against Ridgeline two weeks ago.
The loss didn’t change anything for the Bees in the RPI standings as they still sit ranked number 15 in the 5A classification to start the week.
In other action from the first week of play in Region 5, Viewmont upset Woods Cross to jump up to 11th in the RPI rankings and Bountiful took down Bonneville to improve their ranking to 17th. The Wildcats check in at ninth while the Lakers find themselves in 13th to start the week.
The Bees also will have the whole week to prepare for their next opponent, which they’ll face on Friday night when Bountiful comes to Brigham City.
The Braves will come into the gym with a 6-7 record, but are riding a three-game winning streak with their latest victim being the Lakers last Friday night.
In order to start a winning streak of their own, the Bees will need to be aware of freshman standout Jordyn Harvey. The 6-foot 1-inch youngster is averaging 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game to lead the Braves.
The game against the Braves is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m.
Box Elder volleyball team loses in straight sets to revenge-minded Woods Cross squad
October 30, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School volleyball team got a rude awakening in their road match at Woods Cross last Thursday—the Bees’ only one of the week—as the Wildcats avenged a defeat earlier in the season with a straight set win.
In their earlier match, each team found some success against the other in spurts, with the Bees getting the last spurt in the fifth set to ultimately grab the win.
This time around, however, the Wildcats were able to maintain momentum while closing down some of the holes the Bees exploited in the first match.
Woods Cross’ freshman standout, Olivia Ruy, led both sides with 10 kills as the Wildcats took the first two sets 25-19, 25-17.
Needing to make a run, the Bees fired back in the third set, though the Wildcats matched them point for point until the score was tied at 24.
The Wildcats found enough of a run to score two straight points and took the third set 26-24 to secure the match.
The win moves the Wildcats to 9-10 overall on the season while the Bees fall to 10-15 with just one match, which came last night on the road against Bountiful (results not available by press time), before beginning the state tournament on Tuesday.
The final RPI poll for the state tournament won’t be available until Friday when the final seedings will be announced.
With the changes to the playoff format and use of the RPI ranking system, this year, the first round matches will be held at the home site of the higher ranked team.
From there, the winners will advance to the second round and beyond, which will be held at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem beginning next Thursday, Nov. 7.
The tournament will wrap up on Saturday with the championship match scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
Logan Holgate pulls in a perfectly-placed pass from quarterback Parker Buchanan in the first quarter and finishes the play for a 42-yard touchdown. Holgate had five catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Volleyball sweeps Sky View in first outing
September 4, 2019 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
The Box Elder High School volleyball team started off their 2019 campaign with a straight-set victory over Sky View last Thursday in Smithfield.
Immediately following the match, Bees head coach Kristine Harding said, “Anytime you walk into Sky View’s gym, you know it’s going to be a battle.”
That battle proved true in the first frame, where the teams fought tooth and nail for each point with neither side able to build much of a lead.
The Bees finally caught a break on a few mistakes from the Bobcats and were able to capitalize to grab the first set, 26-24.
The Bobcats came out as the aggressors in the second set and built a five-point lead, 15-10. The lead held at 18-13 before Harding called a timeout to make a couple of tweaks. During that same timeout, coach Harding said their message was simple. She said, “I just reminded the girls that we play to win, not to lose. Don’t get timid. Play aggressive.”
That message seemed to resonate as the Bees came out and ripped off seven straight points to erase the deficit and take a 20-18 lead.
From that point, the Bobcats were never the same as the Bees took the second set, 25-20, and rolled through the third set, 25-13.
Harding complimented the team’s mental toughness in the win.
“When those long rallies go on, and [the Bobcats] win one and we win one, it’s just good volleyball,” Harding said. “But at some point, you could see that [the Bobcats] were getting torn down a little bit and it was good to see that we did not change our level of play. If anything, we got more confident and stronger as the match went on. It can always snowball two different ways and it was great to see our girls stay focused and not get rattled during some of those low times.”
When asked about those low times in the match, coach Harding said, “It’ll be probably a couple of weeks before we really have our varsity rotation down. We’re still tweaking, we’re still moving. We’ve got girls playing in a couple of new positions where they haven’t played before. So we’ll still be working on that as a team going forward, but, overall, it was a great first match to our season.”
Last night, the Bees hosted rival Bear River in the team’s home opener (results not available by press time).
The team will be off the rest of this week and not take the court again until next Wednesday, when they head south to Provo to take on Timpview before kicking off region play the following week at home against Farmington.
The match against the Thunderbirds is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
September 4, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School football team held Mountain Crest scoreless in the fourth quarter to earn their second win of the season, 21-15, over the Mustangs.
The game was tight from wire to wire and neither team was up by more than one score the entire game.
The game was also very statistically tight as the Bees just edged out the Mustangs in total yardage 274 to 263. The methods to gaining those yards looked very different on each side of the field as the Bees did more damage through the air, racking up 198 passing yards with two touchdowns, while the Mustangs were more effective on the ground, gaining 199 yards and scoring their two touchdowns with the running game.
The Mustangs opened the game with a little trickery as they squibbed the opening kickoff, and recovered it, on the Bees’ 26-yard line. Six plays later, senior running back Hunter Schroeder plowed in from five yards out for the first score of the game.
Feeling lucky with their trick plays, the Mustangs pulled out another gadget as wideout and place kicker Brandon Arnell took the snap on the extra point try and found Trae Fuller open in the end zone for a two-point conversion.
The Bees struck back later in the first quarter when junior quarterback Parker Buchanan connected with tight end Logan Holgate for 42 yards and Holgate’s third touchdown of the season. A successful extra point trimmed the lead to 8-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The defenses on both sides took over in the second quarter as neither offense could break through before the half.
To start the period, the Mustangs had a drive squashed by a fumble that was recovered by Holgate. On their ensuing possession, the Bees drove 68 yards over 11 plays, but couldn’t come away with any points as a 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
It looked like the Bees were going to take the lead just before the halftime whistle when senior cornerback Bentley Miles stepped in front of a pass from Mustang quarterback Taden Burbank and returned the interception 55 yards for a touchdown. However, offsetting personal foul penalties during the return wiped the points off the board and left the Mustangs leading by one point, 8-7, at intermission.
The Mustangs found some fireworks from Schroeder midway through the third period when he found some daylight on the edge and went 59 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
Schroeder finished with 155 yards rushing on 20 carries with the two scores.
Box Elder senior defensive back, Brayden Petersen, put a stop to the next drive by the Mustangs by coming up with an interception near midfield that set up an eventual touchdown run by Buchanan to again cut the lead to a point, 15-14.
The Bees took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter when Buchanan again found Holgate, this time for a 23-yard strike and a 21-15 lead.
Holgate lead all receivers with five catches for 131 yards with the two touchdowns. Buchanan finished the night completing 10 of 16 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, both to Holgate.
Needing to make something happen, the Mustangs went to the air again on their next possession, but again only found purple jerseys as Lucas Taylor came up with the team’s third interception of the night to kill the comeback attempt.
The Mustang defense did all they could to keep things interesting as they forced and recovered a fumble by Buchanan in the backfield to give the offense one more chance.
But the Bees’ defense held and forced a four-and-out to preserve the win.
The loss keeps the Mustangs winless on the year at 0-3 while the win moves the Bees to 2-1 in the preseason.
This Friday, the Bees will be back at home for their final non-region test against Green Canyon before starting region play next week at home against Farmington.
The Wolves come into the contest hot, easily winning their first three games of the year by more than 20 points each.
The Wolves are led by do-it-all junior quarterback Jacob Lundin, who has eclipsed 400 yards both rushing and passing so far this season and has accounted for nine total touchdowns.
The game against the Wolves is set to kick off at 7 p.m.
Benjamin Johns makes an athletic play on the way to beating current world No. 1 and defending U.S. Open champion Tyson McGuffin in the Tournament of Champions professional division men’s singles finals.
Twelve-year-old Anna Waters (left) holds a check for $500 for taking silver in the women’s professional singles competition. Anna Waters and her mother, Leigh, took first in the women’s professional doubles division, earning the teenager a total of $2,000.
Boys miss opportunities, succumb to adversity in draw and loss
April 3, 2019 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
Missed opportunities and a lack of fortitude in the face of adversity resulted in a tie against Jordan and a loss against Viewmont in the Box Elder High School boys’ soccer team’s first region game of the year.
According to Box Elder head coach Nate Bywater, the Bees executed their game plan well, and he was pleased, overall, to see that tactics and training for the game transferred to the field of play. However, the same struggle the boys have dealt with all year—uncertainty and a lack of confidence in front of the net—stymied their efforts and resulted in a 1-1 tie.
“We got the chances where we wanted, when we wanted...but execution left was wanting a little bit,” Bywater said. “The touches we got on the ball just weren’t good enough. But we were pleased with what we were seeing on the field.”
Jordan scored the first goal of the game in the first half, and Bryce Shimazaki evened the score with a goal in the second.
Fighting back from an early goal was not something the Bees could replicate in the 3-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Viewmont.
“We actually took a step backward,” Bywater said about the game that featured a “good” Viewmont team returning about 13 players, but that was no where near as good as last year’s Vikings squad.
In the first 20 minutes of the game, Bywater said his team was executing and performing well, and his expectations rose for a closely-contested, high-quality match.
But that changed after the Vikings scored their first goal at about the 17th minute of the first half.
“We just kind of stopped playing, and we were just hanging on,” Bywater said, as the Bees’ defensive discipline dissolved and they were unable to maintain possession on the attack. “We just made it a lot more easy for them...after they scored that first goal. The result was definitely deserved.”
Bywater said his team recognized what happened—that they mentally gave up and allowed that first goal to dictate the outcome of the game—which he said was a positive takeaway from an otherwise disappointing outing.
The Bees had one game this week, a non-region contest at Cottonwood on Tuesday (results not available by press time).
Before the game, Bywater said he was glad for a non-region game to give the team some time to continue developing chemistry, and to work on finishing scoring opportunities before the team’s next region contest on Tuesday, April 9, on the road at Farmington.
“It allows us to regroup and focus...and hopefully start to put away those ‘sitters’ [easy scoring opportunities in front of the net] as they call them in the game,” Bywater said.
Bees lose game to Bountiful, bounce back against Roy
April 3, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School softball team picked up a much-needed region win last Wednesday when they notched a come-from-behind win over Roy, 4-3, after losing 9-1 to Bountiful the day before.
On Tuesday, March 26, afternoon, the Bees knew they’d have their work cut out for them as the Braves entered the game ranked fourth in the 5A classification according to the Deseret News, and carried some extra motivation from falling to the Bees in the state championship round in the two team’s last meeting.
The Braves jumped out to an early lead and built a 5-0 advantage after four innings.
The Bees found a bright spot when Mallory Merrill sent a solo shot deep for her second home run of the year, but that was all the offense the Bees could muster as the Braves cruised to the win.
Things again started slowly for the Bees the next day as the Royals fought their way to a 3-0 lead at the end of five innings.
The Bees then finally found some offensive rhythm and drove in two runs in the top of the sixth and two more in the seventh to overtake the lead.
The defense then buckled down and blanked the Royals in the final frame to hold on for the win.
Following the week, Bees’ head coach Taleas Marble said she saw the team build their confidence one game to the next and that was a great thing to see.
“The Bountiful game was kind of rough. We had too many errors, both in the field and just mental mistakes, and that put us into a hole,” Marble said. “But against Roy, we hit the ball a lot better. We were getting runners on base every inning. We just left them on too much early. But we finally got a run in the sixth and I think that lit a fire in their belly that carried them through.”
The week moves the Bees to 2-3 in region play and keeps them in the thick of the early-season playoff hunt.
After the first round of games, the Braves have separated themselves as the team to beat with a 5-0 record, and Viewmont couldn’t pick up a region win and sit at 0-5. Farmington and Woods Cross each finished with a 3-2 record while the Bees and Royals both sit at 2-3.
When asked about the team’s focus this week, coach Marble said, “We’re going to hit a lot. We’re finally starting to hit the ball better and we want to keep that going. We’ve got a ton of speed this year, so if we can string some hits together, that will be big for us.”
The Bees will be off this week for spring break and will be back in action on Tuesday on the road to start the second round of region play against the Vikings.
The team will also be in action back at home next Friday afternoon in a non-region game when they host the defending 6A state champion Herriman Mustangs.
Both games next week are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.
Morgan Reeder goes up for a contested shot in a game against Viewmont last week. Reeder led the Bees with a game-high 28 points.
Girls eyeing at least share of region title after wins over Vikings, Braves
February 6, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
It was another week and another two convincing wins for the Box Elder High School girls’ basketball team as they ran past Viewmont 72-51 last Tuesday at home before completing the season sweep over Bountiful on Friday, 76-47.
The Bees started a little sluggish against the Vikings and the first quarter ended with them tied at 16.
After the game, Bees’ head coach Aaron Dooley said, “We had a bad first quarter defensively tonight, but we really turned things around in the second, had a great quarter defensively, and really put the game away then.”
The Bees turned numerous turnovers and missed shots from the Vikings into a 28-5 run that essentially sealed the deal for the home team.
Morgan Reeder led the way for the Bees with 28 points while Emily Isaacson recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Karli Gunnell connected on three shots from downtown and finished with 16 points to lead the Vikings in the loss.
The team will conclude their regular season on the road against the Vikings on Tuesday, Feb. 11, ahead of the state tournament, which will start the following Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Jenna Mortensen puts up a contested shot in the Bees loss to Copper Hills last Tuesday. Mortensen made the most of her opportunities in the Bees’ next game when Farmington focused on teamates Emily Isaacson and Morgan Reeder, and left Mortensen to score 14 points.
Girls fall to Copper Hills, blast Farmington
January 16, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School girls’ basketball team wrapped up a brutal preseason schedule last Tuesday as the Bees faced their third state-ranked opponent in Copper Hills last Tuesday, before beginning their region schedule at home on Friday against first-year school Farmington.
In the preseason, the Bees had already played against Fremont, ranked first in the state, and Corner Canyon, ranked fourth, and came up just short in each.
The Grizzlies came into the game against the Bees ranked second, and showed the reason why with crisp passes on offense that lead to easy baskets and a seven-point lead at halftime.
That lead ballooned to nearly 20 points toward the end of the third quarter behind the hot-shooting tandem of Breaunna Gillen and Eleyana Tafisi, as each netted 22 points on the night. Lenisi Fineanganofo added 12 points in the win.
Despite getting down in the second half, the Bees fought back in the fourth quarter behind their leaders as Morgan Reeder poured in 19 points and Emily Isaacson added 14 with a game-high nine rebounds as the Bees whittled the lead down to seven points with just under four minutes remaining in regulation.
But the Bees couldn’t get any closer as the Grizzlies took care of the ball and made free throws down the stretch to seal the win 71-59.
The Bees continued region play last night with another home game against Bountiful (results not available by press time). The Braves fell to Viewmont, 48-34, in their region opener last week and were looking to end a three-game losing skid.
The Bees will be on the road Friday at Roy. The game against the Royals is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m., followed by the boy’s game at 7 p.m.
Emily Isaacson drives the lane for two of her game-high 25 points. Isaacson also pulled down 18 rebounds in a solo exhibition.
January 9, 2019 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Box Elder High School girls’ basketball team took care of business in convincing fashion in its only game last week when it hosted Mountain Crest and blew out the guests, 60-41.
With fellow running-mate Morgan Reeder slowed by an illness, senior wing Emily Isaacson stole the show on both ends of the court for the Bees as she finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds to overwhelm the Mustangs from the start.
Following the game, Bees’ head coach Aaron Dooley said he was happy with the result and saw a more complete game from his team, even when playing with a big lead.
“We did what we were supposed to do against a young team tonight,” Dooley said. “There have been a few games this season where it seemed like we played down to our competition and that has bitten us a couple of times, so it was really good to see the girls stay focused and just take care of business.”
The win moves the Bees to 7-4 in the preseason with just one more tune-up before beginning region play Friday against Farmington.
The final preseason game was one the Bees had circled on the calendar as one of the toughest games of the year, against 6A powerhouse Copper Hills last night (results not available by press time).
The road won’t get any easier for the Bees once region play begins as they host one of the preseason favorites Friday.
According to Dooley, the Bees possess the keys for success, they just have to use them consistently.
“We’ve proven to ourselves so far this year that we can beat anybody we want to beat if we put everything together,” Dooley said. “We’ve learned how to play Box Elder basketball no matter what the other team is doing, and if we can keep being ourselves night in and night out, we’ll be in good positions all season.”
The game against the Phoenix is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the boys’ game at 7 p.m.
As the preseason winds down, the Bees are led by Isaacson, who is averaging a double-double per game with 17.5 points and 10 rebounds. Reeder is also averaging double figures at 14 points per game.
December 19, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
It was a roller coaster week for the Box Elder High School boys’ basketball team, which started low as the team fell to Green Canyon 89-72 Tuesday night, but then finished riding high with a 71-70 win over Ridgeline on Friday.
Bees’ head coach Jace McKee said the team definitely has room to improve, but he sees them on the right path in the early going.
“Friday night, we showed a lot more of what we can be than we did on Tuesday. Things started well on Tuesday [against the Wolves], but we couldn’t maintain it and we ended up in a big hole,” McKee said. “On Friday, we played much better on the defensive end, so that was really good to see.
The win was the first for the Bees in the preseason and moves them to 1-3.
The boys will be back in action at home tonight against Clearfield. The Falcons enter the game with a 4-4 preseason record and are lead by senior guard Connor Izatt, who is averaging just under 16 points per game.
The game against the Falcons is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
This Friday, the Bees will be in action in the second game of a double-header in Tremonton when they take on Bear River. The girls team plays first at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the boys at 7 p.m.
Looking ahead to the coming week, coach McKee said, “We’re really looking to get better defensively. That’s where we’ve struggled in our games so far and that will be our focus this week.”
Eagle Mountain Golf Course Superintendent Spencer Mendenhall was named the UGA’s Superintendent of the Year for public courses
Dedicated greenskeeper earns Superintendent of the Year nod
November 21, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
In the recent release of the Utah Golf Association’s annual awards, Brigham City’s Eagle Mountain Golf Course got a nod when the course’s greenskeeper was named Superintendent of the Year for public courses.
According to Eagle Mountain’s Director of Golf Chris Marx, Superintendent Spencer Mendenhall is dedicated to creating superior playing conditions on the course, and has an eye for detail that results in changes most people won’t notice, but contributes to the overall experience of patrons.
Most notable among the changes over Spencer’s three-year tenure at Eagle Mountain are improved greens and sculpted fairways that improve playability and beauty. The golf course’s greens have been argued as being among the best in the state—if not the best—by locals and visitors.
“On a daily basis we have people come into the pro shop and compliment us on the course conditions,” Marx wrote in a letter nominating Mendhenhall. “My favorite compliments are from two different customers from prominent country clubs in the state. They said, ‘This is wrong that I belong to a country club and we can’t have as good as greens as you guys here at Eagle Mountain.’ Spencer has made a marked difference in the daily quality of the greens and the golf course as a whole. The professionals that have played in the Brigham City Open over the years have noticed this also.”
Mendenhall’s dedication to creating a “great course” come from his own passion for the game, and—besides the quality of the greens—the changes he has made are due to a keen eye for detail, including sculpting fairways to improve playability and allowing native grasses in areas of rough to grow out.
Box Elder midfielder known for consistency and reliability signs with SU Red Hawks
Mylan Daniels (seated) looks on as her father, Shawn, signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Seattle University. Also pictured is Pamela Daniels.
As he sits in the coaches office lined with trophies won under former coach Mike Ripplinger, new Box Elder High School wrestling coach Jed Craner said he is aware of the ‘shadow’ cast by Ripplinger’s legacy, and that he is excited for the challenge of continuing it.
The shadow of expectation
It’s difficult—at best—to not be constantly reminded of the legacy and tradition of Box Elder High School’s wrestling program.
“Those trophies,” said first-year Box Elder coach Jed Craner, indicating the several large Spartan-style helmets atop a cabinet—reminders of the many Layton Invitational titles won under retired head coach Mike Ripplinger—“they cast somewhat of a shadow.”
And that’s just inside the coach’s office. The wall of the school’s wrestling room is adorned with names; a litany of the legacy left behind by Ripplinger’s 34-year career.
“It’s intimidating,” said Craner about being asked to fill the very large shoes Ripplinger left behind. And even though he knew the expectations he would face, he said he never had a second thought about taking over Ripplinger’s program.
“It was instantly yes,” Craner said. “I love a challenge...[I’m] ready to take the challenge on.”
Prior to taking the head coaching position at Box Elder, the 27-year-old Craner had spent two years as head coach at Bonneville High School, and was an assistant at Viewmont for five years before that.
Along with his experience as a coach, Craner brings his own legacy of success. As a wrestler at Fremont High School from 2008-2010, Craner claimed the 160-pound 5A state title as a junior, and finished with a record of 48-2. That same year, he claimed third at the Reno World Championships.
As a senior, he compiled an undefeated record of 52-0 and earned his second state title at 170 pounds. He was named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights that year. He placed second at both the Utah State Freestyle Tournament and the Reno World Championships.
Craner said that he perceived a decline in the Box Elder wrestling program over the last several years as the Bees saw fewer and fewer wrestlers make it to the state championship mat. Given that perception, he thought Ripplinger had left the “cupboard bare” following the graduation of three-year state champion Garrett Ricks and Ripplinger’s second four-time state champ, Brock Hardy.
Jed discovered that his perception was not reality (see related story on this page), but even if it had been, he had a good track record of building a team at Bonneville, where in just two years he went from just six returners to a team of more than 40 wrestlers. He also established a strong little league program.
Fumble in final minutes is killer for Bees
October 31, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
After a season full of them, the Box Elder High School football team couldn’t come up with another final-minute miracle last Friday in their first-round playoff game against Springville as the Red Devils advanced with a 17-13 win.
The Bees were managing a promising drive in the final minutes of the game that became even more promising after converting a fourth down to set themselves up on Springville’s 15-yard line with just over two minutes to play.
But a missed exchange between quarterback Parker Buchanan and running back Bernard Pena resulted in a fumble, which the Red Devils recovered to preserve the win.
After the game, Bees’ head coach Robbie Gunter said that, despite some mistakes, the team executed their game plan and gave themselves a chance to win, which is exactly what they wanted.
“We had a game plan to control the ball tonight,” Gunter said. “We knew [the Red Devils] were a power team, and we did a good job stopping the run. We wanted to keep them off the field and we were able to do that.”
Even heading into the final minutes trailing by a score, coach Gunter said his team never lost any faith on the sideline. He said, “We always felt like we were going to win that game. Late-game heroics are very common for this team and that’s something that has been a lot of fun about this season. We’ve been on the other side of close games a lot, so this one definitely hurts.”
The Bees finished with a big advantage in time of possession, 35:07 - 12:40, and number of offensive plays run, 72 - 32, but were unable to muster enough scoring drives to advance in the tournament.
Senior Ryan Gunn reacts to the Bees’ defeat at the hands of Springville in the first round of the state playoffs last Friday, as junior Bentley Miles consoles senior Kash Christoffersen as they leave the field.
Tyson Madson stretches the ball forward as he’s pushed out of bounds to secure the first down and keep the Bees’ final drive alive. Madson had four receptions for 52 yards.
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