Is it playoff time already? It seems winter is still clinging on and already the baseball season is winding up? Where have I been?
Even while most of us were waiting for the end of winter, the Baseball Bash Boys from Blanding made an opening round proclamation in Blanding on Saturday that it’s springtime, they are back, and they are poised to make another run at the 2A baseball title.
The Broncos ran to a convincing 11-1 pounding of Enterprise. After allowing an early run to the Wolves, Nache Nielson slammed the trap shut on the team from southwest Utah, giving up three hits to earn the pitching victory and run his 2010 record to a glossy 11-1.
Offensively, the Broncos banged out 16 hits, including six doubles and two home runs, one each by Benny Royer and Peyton Black.
Speaking of Peyton, he was honored last week by the Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation as one of 12 recipients of the Utah High School Scholar-Athlete award.
According to the website, “The Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation was founded in 1994 and is dedicated to promoting and developing unique qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence through participation in amateur football.”
Congratulations to Peyton, who joins six former Broncos and two former Buckaroos on the team. Former recipients from San Juan are Dane Lyman, Brian Kirk, Kade Lyman, Brett Burtenshaw, Brian Bradford and Kylee Brown, and from Monticello are Reed Anderson and Quinn Dowell.
Former Monticello head football coach, Ray Odette was honored for his Outstanding Service to High School Athletics in 2007.
Back to baseball. The Bronco win earns them a spot in the 2A finals at Utah Valley University, starting Thursday against the surging Parowan Rams. The Rams claimed two easy victories in their bracket, besting the Red Devils of Moab 11-0 and the Rams of Monroe 10-5.
Parowan opened the season losing six of eight games, but have come on strong, winning 13 of their last 14 games.
But the Broncos, motivated by last year’s second place finish, are self-assured. “They got wounded (last year),” says head coach Mike Bowers, “And now they’re fighting back. The state championship in football last fall has given them confidence.”
Track and (snow-covered) Field
Jeff Hunt reports on Monticello track teams: ”The Buckaroos made the journey up to Provo for the 100th BYU Invitational on Friday and Saturday. With more than 100 schools represented and close to 40 in the 1A-2A division the girls finished in 7th, while the boys placed 11th.
Both teams showed a lot of heart considering there was two inches of snow on the ground with the meet started on Friday. Probably most important for the girls was finishing only 2.5 points behind two time defending state champs St. Joseph’s for second place out of 1A schools.
The girls are running real well right now behind Jr. Captain Loren Randall, who finished 3rd in the 800m and 7th in the 1600m. Macee Nielson continues to tear up the track, finishing 2nd in the 3200m and 3rd in the 1600m. Both girls anchored their respective relay teams to top five finishes as Macee, Shaylyn Black, Rachel Beh and Miriam Reay finished 4th in the Medley Relay and Loren, Martha Beh, Brittany Keith and Shaylyn Black finished 5th in the 4x400m.
For the boys, Juniors Devin Wright and Dallin Duncan totaled 25 points in solid outings. Devin was first in the Javelin and third in the 400m while Dallin finished 4th in High Jump and 8th in the 300m Hurdles. The boys 4x100m relay team of Steven Redd, Kendal Maughan, Jake Duncan and Josh Anderson finished 8th.
Heading into the Region Championship at Grand County High School on Thursday starting at 3 p.m., the Buckaroos seem primed to defend their region titles. The girls are looking to win their 4th title in 5 years while the boys are looking for their third. Both teams are looking for their 3rd straight win.”
Bronco athletes also participated in the 110th annual invitational, led by Jace Holliday, who finished first in the 400 meter run and anchored the victorious 4 x 100 relay team along with Drew Nielson, Colby Redd, and Ryan Lyman, an annual Bronco winning tradition. Ammon Mitchell placed fifth in the 110 meter hurdles.
For the girls, Simone Shumway claimed a second place in the 100 meter dash. Megan McDonald grabbed a fourth in the 110 meter hurdles and a fifth in the 300 meter hurdles. Katie Hiatt was sixth in the 3200. Lindsey Christensen was sixth in the javelin, and Jorden Giddings was eighth in the shotput.
More coaching news
Should we end with more coaching news? Ryan Nielson, former Bronco player and current head basketball coach, and former Bronco and baseball coach Mike Bowers resigned their respective positions at San Juan High School.
Says Nielson, who will stay at San Juan for now in his teaching position, “I would like to say how much I have enjoyed coaching over the years. These young men have taught me more than I will ever give them. I will miss being in the gym coaching the game I love so much. Also I will miss just being around those kids.
“I have had so many wonderful experiences that I will cherish forever. I believe I will coach again in the future, but I little time off will really help me re-energize my batteries. I would like to thank all those who have supported me over the years it has meant so much.
“I know I am not perfect and have made mistakes and if I have ever offended anyone in any way I am sorry. I would like to thank all the coaches who have helped me; it takes a lot of time and effort it also means so much.
“I would like to wish the young men who play basketball at San Juan the best of luck. I will truly miss the times we have had together.”
For his part, Bowers will be leaving to move to Salt Lake City. “It’s sad, really sad,” Bowers says about leaving. “I love this place. You won’t find any better kids, well rounded kids than here.”
Bowers, whose wife Cheryl is moving with Eagle Air Med’s relocation to the big city, will interview shortly for an assistant basketball/baseball and teaching position at Juan Diego High School.
“I feel lucky to have such an opportunity when there aren’t that many jobs available these days.” Bowers lists one of his favorite things about coaching as “getting kids beyond what they thought they could do.”
This leaves the Buckaroo football team (see last week’s SJR) and San Juan basketball and baseball teams in search of head coaches. All three programs carry colossal traditions that surely will attract superior applications. Here’s hoping we’ll find the best possible teacher/coaches out there, because the programs certainly deserve it.