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Top 10 prep sports moments from the spring season in Northern Utah

Friday , June 08, 2018 - 5:30 AM

The spring sports season has come and gone, ushering in the summer lull and a vacation.

Let’s take a look back at the best 10 moments of this year’s slew of spring sports in Northern Utah.

1. Cole Cheney’s recovery

Doctors told Syracuse High teenager and football player Cole Cheney and his family that he was lucky to be alive, let alone being on track to making a 95 percent recovery from a dirtbike crash in April.

He was dirtbiking with family and friends in Juab County when he went off a jump and landed headfirst onto the roll bar of an ATV below. He could’ve, maybe even should’ve, died on the spot or a couple days after, as he suffered traumatic brain injuries and a skull fracture.

Two EMTs happened to be riding nearby and gave immediate aid. He was taken by helicopter to a Provo hospital, then went into rehab before going back home. He wasn’t the same person until he woke up one night not remembering anything of the previous month.

But now he’s walking, talking, living quite normally and plans to go back to high school in the fall and help out with the football team in some way. Talk about miraculous.

2. Box Elder softball’s state championship comeback

Box Elder’s softball team lost all three Region 5 matchups to Bountiful this season, then saw the Braves in the 5A state semifinals and lost again. 

The Bees were 0-4 against Bountiful by the time the two met in the state championship game with Box Elder needing to win twice and the Braves needing to win once to take home the crown.

The buzz was loud after the Bees did exactly that, scoring seven runs in the seventh inning of the first game, a 12-7 win. Then catcher Maycen O’Neal drove in the go-ahead run for Box Elder in its 5-4 win in the take-all game, the one that clinched a state championship when the Bees were oh-so-close to going 0-5 against the Braves this year.

Nobody beats the Bees five times in one season.

3. Bear River’s state softball title

Everyone assumed Spanish Fork would roll over the 4A softball competition. Bear River had other ideas as the Bears walked off against the Dons for a 5-4 win in the state championship game.

At 27-3, Spanish Fork was definitely the best team the Bears had defeated in any of their nine championship wins dating back to 2001

Seven titles have come since 2008; all nine have been under head coach Calvin Bingham. They would not have reached the title this year without a group led by pitcher Kapri Toone, outfielder Mercedes Call, infielder Taylor Fox and catcher Ashley Hess.

4. Davis’ out-of-nowhere region baseball title

A look at the Region 1 baseball teams before the year would’ve yielded this fact about Davis High’s group: they’re inexperienced.

What wasn’t known at that time was just how fiery and chippy the Darts would be, something many teams didn’t learn until they were on the losing end of a lopsided score.

When Davis won the Region 1 championship outright, it was a surprise to a lot of teams. If you had asked Davis before the season for a realistic assessment and expectation, a region championship wasn’t in the conversation.

5. Kyler Bush, the only Utah prep baseball player drafted

By early in the third day of the 2018 MLB Draft, Kyler Bush was moving on, knowing that a good-enough offer from a Major League Baseball team to entice him to forgo a college baseball scholarship at Washington State wouldn’t likely come.

But his name was still called anyway. He was the only prep baseball player in the entire state to be selected when the Kansas City Royals picked him in the 40th (and final) round with the No. 1,202 overall pick, just 12 picks before the draft ended.

No matter what happens in his college baseball career, he’ll have that.

6. Jobi Einerson’s state golf title

Jobi Einerson from Bountiful High had a three-shot lead in the 5A state golf championships heading into the final two holes.

Her final lead ended up being one, but it was enough for the Westminster College-bound golfer to win the individual 5A girls golf championship.

She shot consecutive 74s over the two-day tournament at Glenmoor Golf Course.

7. Syracuse’s Lexi Wightman sets new state pole vault record

Syracuse pole vaulter Lexi Wightman was going for the state pole vault record, set last year at 11 feet, 11.75 inches. She got it, clearing the 12-foot mark on May 4 at the Herriman Twilight, as did Bingham vaulter Hannah Stetler.

For Wightman, it was an achievement she had worked toward for quite some time but didn’t get close to until this season when she started jumping off a longer pole.

8. Bountiful softball sends defending 5A champ West running

Everyone knew that Bountiful sophomore shortstop Dashani Purcell could hit home runs. 

The moment was such that when both she and sophomore catcher Sophia Stoddard hit two bombs in the 5A state quarterfinals and chased the defending champion West Panthers to the loser’s bracket in a 16-6 win, that was a ‘wow’ moment.

It was a ‘wow’ moment in a season full of them for the young Braves, who won the Region 5 championship.

9. Weber girls track team ends Davis’ long streak

The Davis High girls track team had won 19 straight region championships.

That streak ended at the hands of the Weber High girls this year, who beat the Darts and Syracuse en route to a third straight region track title in the newly aligned 6A Region 1.

Krista Farley, a Utah Valley University-bound sprinter, won the 100 meters, the 200 and the long jump after dealing with a nagging hip injury.

McKenna Lee, a BYU-bound distance runner, won the 3200 after sitting out a month with shin splints.

The Warriors got four more first-place finishes — Abby Triplett in the high jump, Alyssa Hansen in the javelin, and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams — as part of a gutty performance.

10. Jones, Hedquist return to run again for Davis track

Connor Jones and Adam Hedquist, two Davis High cross country runners, showed up to the Region 1 cross country meet last fall in wheelchairs about a week after suffering several fractures and bruises in a car crash. 

This spring, they laced up their shoes and ran again. They didn’t qualify for the state meet, but it didn’t really matter much to them at all. They were both grateful to be on the track running again, even if it was a painful recovery that involved some painful races, too.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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