The Grand County High spring sports season is upon us, meaning local students are preparing to ply their skills in baseball, softball, boys soccer, boys tennis, girls golf and track and field. The Red Devils expect to compete at high levels in several sports.
In track and field, the boys should be favored to win the state title in 2A this year, boasting a large senior class and lots of depth, coach Dennis Wells said.
“If (senior) Jacob Francis is back to where he was last year before he got injured, along with (senior) Jackson Knowles, we’ll be very strong in the distance events,” Wells said. “We’ve got three of the top hurdlers in the state in (seniors) Andy Bathemess, Wade Kemmsies and Jordan Bryant. In the discus and shot put events, (seniors) Edgar Gomez and David Bentley will be very strong; Richie Cordero, he’s only a junior, is ranked No. 1 in the state in the javelin. We’ve also got a couple of baseball players who well help us in speed and long jump, (seniors) Koi Cook and Cameron Taylor. (Junior) Koby Sobremesana, he’s playing soccer as well, will help us in the speed events.”
At the end of last season, Wells said he expected the girls to be state-title favorites as well, but a few injuries and a couple no-shows have darkened the outlook.
“A couple of girls I thought were going to come out didn’t end up coming out, so we really won’t know where we’re at on the girls side until we start competing with other teams,” Wells said. “We’ve got some strong competitors, (sophomore) Kwincey Wells and (senior) Tiffanie Whipple in the long jump, three of the top five discus throwers in the state in (seniors) Madi Stocks, Kayeley Wells and (sophomore) Brittnee Lewis and the No. 2 high jumper, (junior) Kasey Betts, who injured her foot in January and won’t be ready to compete probably until the middle of April. We should be better than last year, but we’ve still got lots of spots to fill.”
The Red Devil baseball team is also hungry to compete for the state title after a heartbreaking end to their 2013 season, assistant coach Ron Dolphin said.
“The team’s looked pretty good in practice so far,” he said. “They’re really motivated. They felt cheated last year when Kanab had the game of their lives and gave them an early exit from the playoffs. We’ve got a lot of talent back and we’ve got pitching depth, which is what you need in the playoffs.”
The baseball team will be anchored by senior leaders Adam Jenkinson, Koi Cook, Cameron Taylor and Kiel Schraft, Dolphin said. Juniors Tanner White, Ronnie Dolphin and Kyler Nelson and sophomores Dalton McElhaney and Brayden Ward are also expected to play big roles in the 2014 season.
The softball team has a new coach as Brook Shumway replaces Stephanie Cluff. They also lost a large senior class so it will be interesting to see if they can build on their 15-16 season from 2013.
The girls golf team should have a competitive 2014 campaign despite losing 4-time region medalist Jessica Pyatt to graduation.
The boys soccer team also has a new coach as Mick DunLavey takes the reins of a Red Devil program that finished 7-8 in 2013. Junior Koby Sobremesana figures to be Grand’s top scorer on a team that could make strides this spring.
The boys tennis team lost three seniors, but still boast a promising group of returning players. Junior Elijah Stock figures to step seamlessly from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles and pick up where he left off, qualifying for the state tournament in 2013.
Several spring sports begin competing this week. The baseball team is scheduled to play host to Gunnison and Manti on Thursday, March 6 with games at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., before hosting Millard on Friday, March 7 at 3 p.m. The boys soccer team is scheduled to play host to Emery on Thursday, March 6 and North Sevier on Tuesday, March 11 with both games beginning at 4 p.m. The track and field team’s only home meet of the season, the Red Rock Invitational, is scheduled to take place Saturday, March 8 beginning at 9 a.m., and the softball team is scheduled to hit the road for two games against Morgan, the first at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 7, and the second at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 8.
Track and baseball teams expect to compete for titles
Where: Grand County High baseball field, 608 S. 400 E.
When: Versus Gunnison, 10 a.m., Thursday, March 6
Versus Manti, 12:30 p.m., Thursday, March 6
Versus Millard, 3 p.m., Friday, March 7
“The (baseball) team’s looked pretty good in practice so far. They’re really motivated. They felt cheated last year when Kanab had the game of their lives and gave them an early exit from the playoffs.”