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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