Brighton swimmer Robby Miner breaks 33-year-old state record in 500 free
Former Weber State basketball coach Joe Cravens takes over as St. Joseph girls coach
Alta football coach Les Hamilton resigns, takes job in Chile
Brighton’s Kylie Hirschi wins four events at state track meet
Mountain Crest wrestler Raider Lofthouse caps career with four titles
American Fork’s boys cross country teams wins state title, finishes eighth nationally
Snow Canyon volleyball wins fourth straight state title
Emery track coach Darrell Gardner dies tragically in backhoe accident
Orem’s Kyle Turner wins four events at state track meet
Juan Diego beats Hurricane again to claim third straight state title
Davis’ boys soccer team sets defensive state records on way to 5A championship
Bryce Valley wins 1A boys basketball title, schools first sports state title in history
Mountain Crest swimmer Jake Taylor finishes career with six state records
Mountain Crest’s Alex Kuresa sets numerous state records, named Mr. Football
Opening of Herriman High School
Panguitch’s girls volleyball team won its second straight 1A state championship back in October, and in the process extended its state-record winning streak to 69 straight. At various tournaments throughout the streak the Bobcats beat 5A, 4A and 3A teams.
Despite graduating four seniors, and all-stater Kalani Norris, the Bobcats could keep the streak going in 2011 as its JV team also finished with an undefeated record in 2010.
The opening of the 2010 season was an emotional night for the Cottonwood and Springville football teams this past August.
A month before the season started, first-year Cottonwood coach Teko Johnson died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family in Atlantic City. The Colts paid tribute to him with a magical 28-21 come-from-behind victory over Alta.
Springville was also playing with heavy hearts in its 55-48 season-opening victory over Dixie. Three weeks earlier senior linebacker Brandon Curtis died from injuries suffered in a Jeep rollover in the high school parking lot after practice.
“Brandon Curtis has been a blessing in my life the past three years, and he’s been a great example to me and our players. ... I’d want my son to grow up and be like Brandon Curtis,” said Springville coach Scott Mitchell.
The Syracuse and Springville girls basketball teams capped dominant seasons with state titles in February.
Syracuse beat Pleasant Grove 62-49 in the 5A championship game to finish the season with a perfect 25-0 record. The Titans are well on their way to duplicating that feat as they’re already off to a 9-0 start this year.
Springville beat Timpanogos 42-36 in the 4A championship to cap a 23-0 season. Like Syracuse, the Red Devils are dominating again as they’ve started this year with six straight wins.
“We heard all year we were in a soft region. There were questions about how good we really were. The girls took on a personal goal to go out every night and prove we were the best team in the state,” said Syracuse coach Rob Reisbeck.
Unlike most of his peers, who commit months and sometimes years in advance, Brighton defensive lineman Ricky Heimuli waited until the last minute to make his college football decision last February.
Heavily recruited by many, Heimuli narrowed his choices down to Oregon, UCLA and Utah two days before National Signing Day.
During a gathering at his Glendale home on the eve of Signing Day, Heimuli informed roughly 40 family members of his intentions to commit to Oregon. The following morning he was wavering in that decision.
“Thoughts were running through my head. UCLA was still calling me, it made it tough. I actually thought I was going to go with UCLA, but in the end my gut feeling told me to go to Oregon.”
Heimuli — ranked by rivals.com as the eighth-best defensive lineman in the 2010 recruiting class — finally put an end to all the speculation when he picked Oregon and signed his National Letter of Intent in a ceremony at Brighton High.
Pine View shortstop Marcus Littlewood, a two-time Deseret News Mr. Baseball winner, became the highest position player ever selected in Utah history when the Seattle Mariners snagged him with the 67th pick in the MLB draft in June.
“It’s awesome. There were a lot of great players coming out of Utah this year, and in the past. I’m fortunate,” said Littlewood.
During his senior year Littlewood finished with a .538 average, 10 doubles, eight home runs and 27 RBI. Littlewood signed a contract with the Mariners in August for a reported $900,000.
Pine View catcher Ryan Bowers previously held the distinction of being Utah’s highest-drafted position player when he was taken with the 77th pick by the Mets in 1995.
After starting the year 0-2, and then dropping region games to Olympus and Woods Cross, Highland’s football team wasn’t regarded as much of a threat to win the 4A state title when the tournament began. All eyes were on such teams as Timpview, Bountiful, Springville and Mountain Crest.
Rallying around its role as underdog, Highland defied the odds and snapped its 23-year state title drought with a thrilling 37-36 double-overtime win over Mountain Crest in the championship game.
Nate Fakahafua, Anthony Smithson and Sione Houma were offensive catalysts throughout the playoff run as the Rams scored at least 35 points in every game.
In winning its first title since 1986, Highland also snapped a four-game championship losing streak with losses in 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2006.
In May the UHSAA changed its long-standing, and controversial, transfer policy. Students who want to change high schools for athletic reasons will now lose a year of eligibility.
While state law allows students to choose any high school that has room for them (open enrollment), students are not allowed to change schools for athletic reasons.
The old rule had been in place about 15 years and was meant to allow transfers liberally.
The new rule still allows students to go to any high school that will accept them on first entry without losing any eligibility. But after they try out — even if they don’t make it, and even if the student is just a ninth grader — the students have established eligibility and the decision to transfer school will result in the loss of one year of eligibility at any level (varsity, junior varsity, sophomore and freshman) from the date of transfer.
Students can request a waiver, but they must prove the move is a hardship case. Two notable athletes successfully proved hardship earlier this year. Chase Hansen was allowed to transfer from American Fork to Lone Peak and Xojian Harry was allowed to transfer from Woods Cross to Viewmont.
After 44 years, 634 wins, three state championships, six runner-up finishes and the publishing of a very “personal and meaningful” book, Judge Memorial basketball coach Jim Yerkovich retired last March. He simply said it was time.
“My energy is not what it was before, and I think the kids deserve — and the job demands — full-force energy going forward,” said Yerkovich, 67. “It’s been a great ride. It’s the people that have made the difference. I know that might sound trite, but it’s not. It’s all about the people.”
His teams won 16 region championships, qualified for the state tournament 38 times and won state championships in 1980, 2006 and 2008.
In 2006, he became the first high school coach to be honored as Utah Sports Professional of the Year at the Utah Chapter MS Dinner of Champions. The following year, he was named U.S. Western Sectional Coach of the Year. One of his biggest honors came in 1981, when he coached the West team in the McDonald’s All-American game at Wichita, Kan.
With an average margin of victory of nearly 40 points, Bingham’s football team was simply unstoppable in 2010, finishing with an unblemished 13-0 record and a second consecutive 5A state championship.
The success didn’t go unnoticed nationally. The Miners finished the year ranked No. 4 in the final USA Today rankings and No. 13 according to MaxPreps.
The team featured 13 players who have received Division I scholarship offers, and it not surprisingly is regarded by many as the best team in state history
Its two closest games were 23-point wins over Alta and Fremont. Throughout the season Bingham’s defense forced 30 turnovers and scored eight defensive touchdowns.
No story dominated the high school headlines in 2010 like realignment.
It started in August as the Board of Trustees of the Utah High School Activities Association approved a new realignment procedure to reclassify schools every two years. Schools in 5A, 4A and 3A will use enrollment numbers from 11th and 12th grades, while 2A and 1A schools are determined by population numbers from 10th through 12th grades.
Three months later the Board of Trustees evaluated the enrollment numbers and announced sweeping changes across the board, most notably dropping Highland and Orem from 4A to 3A while keeping Springville in 4A. Those changes were just a rough draft, however.
After a week of hearing pleas from various communities across the state, the BOT tweaked its initial draft and finalized the 2011-2012 realignment — much to the delight of Orem and Highland, which were permitted to stay in 4A.
The BOT wanted an equal number of teams in each region in a particular classification, but it deviated from that formula to accommodate Highland and Orem.
“I thought the BOT used a lot of wisdom and tried to accommodate as many schools as possible, but still maintained the system,” said Highland Principal Paul Schulte, who was the architect of the new formula.
Beginning next year there will be 24 teams in 5A, 26 teams in 4A, 26 teams in 3A, 20 teams in 2A and 30 teams in 1A.