Anddddddd, they’re off!
With school beginning and contests scheduled this week, local high schools begin play in volleyball, football, cross country and golf.
The Monticello Buckaroos begin football play this week at home against the Carbon Dinos. First year coach Lee Chadwick brings with him from Alaska a new offense, which coupled with an experienced team, should make for an exciting season.
The San Juan Broncos of head coach Monty Lee begin defense of their 2009 state 2A title on the road against always-tough Kanab. The Broncos and the Cowboys have developed quite a rivalry in the past couple of years.
The Broncos are two-time defending state girls cross country champs. Steve and Kimberly Hiatt have high expectations for both the girls and boys.
Monticello girls and boys, both third place finishers in 1A last year, intend on improving that record. Coach Jeff Hunt has a stableful of young runners and veteran runners.
Volleyball finds Cassy Moon’s Broncos hoping to improve on a disappointing 2009 season and the Buckaroos, under the tutelage of veteran coach Tony Esplin, hope to finish high, bettering their fifth place finish of a year ago.
Monticello plays Carbon High School in football for the first time. Carbon is riding, or maybe being dragged along by, a 25 game losing streak. During the streak, they have been shutout 11 times. This year, under a new coach, the Dinos are optimistic.
The Bucks played the Carbon JV four times back in the early 1960s, winning two and losing two. And the Bucks had a 15-year run playing Notre Dame, a private school in Price that closed its doors to football in 1969. The Bucks had six victories, 11 loses and one tie in that series, including the last game in 1969, a 30-0 Buckaroo homecoming victory played in six inches of wet slushy snow. I know, cuz I was there and played and got soaked to the skin.
The Bucks also played East Carbon in football 43 times, winning 29. East Carbon’s last season of football was 1991, when the Bucks won 41-6. Interestingly, in 1960 and 1961, the Bucks played all three teams in football -- Carbon JV, East Carbon and Notre Dame -- and lost all three both years.
The Broncos travel to Kanab for their 19th meeting. The series began in 1982 with a 42-6 Kanab victory. Since then, the Broncos have won 11 of the 17 games, including two last year.
Sportshorts asked local coaches 10 questions concerning the upcoming season. Over the next few weeks, we’ll publish.
This week, find the answers of Bronco cross country coaches Steve and Kim Hiatt and Monticello volleyball coach, Tony Esplin.
Steve and Kimberly:
#1-What are your expectations for this season? A: Girls are expected to bring home their 3rd 2A State Championship in a row, led by senior Katie Hiatt. Boys look for a podium finish as well. Boys will have to dig deep to beat Rowland Hall but its possible, barring injuries.
Training hard all summer, senior Taylor Francom looks to repeat his 2A individual title from 2009. We are fortunate that the ARL XC team, under the direction of Steve Francom, has been such a success the past eight years. Under his wing, talent feeds into our high school program each year.
This is our third year encouraging our team to participate in the San Juan High School 200 mile club (a summer running program where runners accumulate at least 200 miles of running from June 1 to the middle of August).
In the past two years, we’ve only had two individuals each season accept and complete this challenge. Yet, this summer, a third of our team are involved in the program. Such preparation provides a huge base and will likely lead to markedly improved times.
#2 Who are your assistants and their assignments? A: It’s the Steve and Kim Hiatt “show”. Actually, it’s the kids’ “show” and we just enjoy the ride!
#3-Who are your returning starters this year? A: Girls: Katie Hiatt (senior, Brielle Francom (junior), Makenzie Ward (junior), Kendra Parker (junior), Trienna Arthur (sophomore), Keosha Benally (sophomore). Our 7th place position is up for grabs. We have about five or six girls who could easily run in this spot: the talent of our team runs deep.
For the boys: Taylor Francom (senior), Jade Grover (junior), Hans Hurst (senior), Wheeler Heck (junior), Dallin Jacobsen (sophomore), Lane Palmer (junior). A large number of freshman boys will put pressure on the returning XC boys for the seventh position.
#4-Who are your key newcomers? A: Girls: We have a number of newcomers, half a dozen freshman as well as junior Jolene Kirk. Jolene joins the team with a load of physical talent, notably her speed running bases in softball: we look forward to seeing how this translates into longer distances.
Boys: Christian Sherrow (who took first at many of the local middle school races last season)and Chase Chamberlain will add a great depth to the boys team.
#5 Your predicted finish? A: Girls - 1st at Region and State. Boys - 1st at Region and a definite shot at first at State
#6 Number of years at current school? A: Kimberly - 14, Steve - 8
#7 Number of years as head coach? A: Kimberly - 8, Steve - 8
#8 What is your record at your current school? A: Girls - 2008 2A State Champions (first time at SJHS), 2009 2A State Champions Boys - 2009 3rd place team finish at State; 2009 2A State Champion - Taylor Francom
#10 Your outlook on the season? A: We believe this year will be the best for both boys and girls XC at San Juan. A double state title isn’t out of the question.
And the Buckaroo coach, Tony Esplin:
#1-What are your expectations for this season? A: Last year we had a lower than expected finish at state in fifth place. This year we are expecting to be every bit as good as we were last year and we are shooting for the top spot in state. That is a tall order because there are several very good teams in the state. We hope to improve our play all year and at the state tournament this year have a better showing.
#2 Who are your assistants and their assignments? A: This year my assistants are Kara Boyd and Sheila Wells. They have been with me the last several years and really are the big difference in our team getting to a higher level of play. I guess if I have to put the assignments down Kara will be the JV coach and Sheila the C-team coach. However they are more like co-assistants when it comes down to it.
#3-Who are your returning starters this year? A: After having only been in season for about four days, now with several girls out with injuries I’m not completely sure where we will start. I think you can count on our last year starters to be there in Mara Wells, Bryanna Kershaw and Swayzi Slade. We will also add in there Ashley Moore and Abby Chadwick. We have several other underclassmen competing for other positions.
#4-Who are your key newcomers? A: At this point we have not completely determined exactly who will be our other starters but there are several that are looking pretty good.
Other Sophomores and Juniors in the mix are Martha Beh, Jamie Keyes, Robin Randall, Ally Anderson, Jessica Ewart, Kaisha Low, Devin Dalton, Shaylyn Black, Stevee Wilcox and Toni Torres. We have five new freshman this year in Tara Frost, Josephine Torres, Maranda Martinez, Aapree Sheeran, Saydee Musselman.
#5 Your predicted finish? A: I hate predicting the finish after only four days of practice. There is way too much in front of us to predict the outcome. If we can get healthy and stay healthy, and avoid untimely injury and illness like (the swine flu) that hit us in the last three weeks of last season. It is like I said before, We expect to be every bit as good as we were last year, and exciting to watch.
#6 Number of years at current school? A: I think that this will be my eighteenth year coaching volleyball all at Monticello. After about twelve years, I took about three years off. Then when the position came open again I applied and was able to get back into the mix again. It has been a great run the last six years. Volleyball has come a long ways in the last 20 years. The youth leagues have done a great job in teaching the basic skills before the players reach the high school level.
#7 Number of years as head coach? A: I have been head coach all of the 18 years at Monticello.
#8 What is your record at your current school? A: I don’t have any idea of what my record is. That isn’t anything that I care much about. I never did think much about my record. I just strive to teach the girls to do the best they can, have fun and play hard every practice and game. In doing that the winning usually takes care of its self. Not every girl can say that those goals were achieved, but that is what we are after.
The championship still eludes me, but we have been right in the hunt and mix of things many times. Hopefully that can change in the near future.
#9 Last year’s record and playoff results? A: Last year we had a great season and team. However we were upset in the quarter finals by Piute, who ended up placing second, with Monticello finishing in fifth place. Last year was probably the best team I have had, we just met a hot team at the wrong time. I think we had like 27 wins and 6 losses on the year.
#10 Your outlook on the season? A: My goal for our team is to improve every week, finish on top in our region, and place 1st at state. Those are some stiff goals, but with the commitment, hard work, and a bunch of good luck we can achieve them. I believe our girls have the ability and I don’t think that they would settle for any goal that is less than that.