Grand County High School freshman Taylor Torgenson tees off at the Moab Golf club on Aug. 25, as assistant golf coach Shane Ward looked on. [Photo by Murice D. Miller/Moab Sun News]

2015 was an up-and-down year for Grand County High School athletics, from the boys golf team’s dominating state title win and the boys tennis team’s surprising second-place showing to the boys basketball and soccer teams each struggling in one-win seasons. We’ll take a look back to how each team under the GCHS banner performed in 2015, and look to the future, beginning with the spring sports and coming full circle to the winter sports currently in season.


Baseball: The Red Devils finished third in Region 15 with a 16-9 record, 8-4 in region play. In the state tournament, they lost in round one to Summit Academy 6-5, before defeating American Leadership Academy 13-1 and South Sevier 7-0. Their season came to an end at the hands of region-foe Emery, who also beat them twice during their undefeated run through region play during the regular season, for a second straight year as they were ousted 11-3. Senior Kyler Nelson was the team’s pitching ace, earning first-team all-state accolades from the Deseret News after going 10-4 with 98 strikeouts. Nelson struck out 12 Monticello Buckaroos on his way to a perfect game and an 11-0 win for the Red Devils on March 24. Fellow senior Tanner White also earned first-team honors after belting three home runs and 13 doubles. Senior Ronnie Dolphin earned honorable mention.

The future looks bright for Red Devil baseball with the likes of seniors Dalton McElhaney and Brayden Ward, junior Christian Wilson and sophomores Brayden Schultz and Josh Jones giving the team a chance to win every time it takes the field.

Softball: The Lady Red Devils placed second in Region 15 with an 11-16 record, 5-3 in region play. Grand spent much of its season playing against competition from 3A and 4A schools. Senior Kat Phinster hit five home runs, two triples and six doubles on her way to second-team all state honors. Honorable mention was given to Kesley Backus, who hit four triples and four doubles; and Rhiannon Bohannon, Grand’s primary pitcher, who went 6-10. Grand defeated Parowan 12-2 and Gunnison 3-0 in the first two rounds of the state tournament before an 8-1 loss to South Summit and a 9-2 loss to Enterprise ousted them from the tourney. With a good group of returning players, including Tiana Shumway and Madison Jones, the Lady Red Devils should at least be able to continue their run in the upper-middle-of-the-pack in 2A.

Boys soccer: Outgoing senior Koby Sobremesana scored 9 goals in 11 games, but Grand struggled to a 1-10 record, 1-9 in 2A Central play, with its lone victory coming in a 5-2 decision over North Sevier on March 19. A once mighty competitor in 2A, the Red Devils will look to returning players, such as junior Rylan Ruggeri, to help them return to form.

Boys track and field: The Red Devils placed 14th at the state championships, just one year removed from winning the state title in 2014 — after losing a decorated senior class. Outgoing senior Richie Cordero’s fourth-place finish in the javelin and outgoing senior Jasen Christensen’s fifth-place showing in the discus were Grand’s only scoring finishes at the state tournament. With up-and-comers such as sophomore Ryan Lewis in the longer distances, the rebuilding process may not take that long for the Red Devils.

Girls track and field: The Lady Red Devils placed 10th in the state championships as then-junior Kwincey Wells placed fourth in the long jump and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles, and just missed out on top-nine finishes in two other events; and then-junior Britnee Lewis placed fifth in the shot put and seventh in the discus. With the duo coming back as seniors and Grand’s continued growth in the longer distances, the Lady Red Devils should climb the 2A ranks in 2016.

Boys tennis: In what was likely the final tournament of coach Ed DeFrancia’s career, Grand posted its best result in school history, placing second at the state championships on May 9. Then-junior Derek Johnson and then-freshman Elton Jones won the state title in No. 2 doubles, Grand’s first title ever in a boys tennis event. Seniors Elijah Stock in No. 1 singles and Alec Tatton in No. 3 singles almost joined them, each advancing to the state title match before finishing second. Along with Johnson and Jones, junior Nolan Beeman, who reached the state semifinals in No. 2 singles, should keep the Red Devils competitive, whoever their coach may be in 2016.

Girls golf: The Lady Red Devils finished sixth at the state championships on May 12, led by outgoing senior Brook Schultz’ third-place performance. Then-sophomores Sarah Day (21st place), Sophia Richardson (26th place) and Delanee Olsen (53rd place) rounded out the score for Grand. If Grand can field a full team, look for them to be around sixth place again in 2016.


Football: The Red Devils went 6-5, 3-2 in region play, placing third in region. Grand defeated Gunnison 53-27 in the first round of the playoffs before North Summit came from behind at home for a 28-14 victory in Coalville to oust Grand from the tournament in the quarterfinals. The highlight of the year came when Grand beat North Sevier 62-0 in the homecoming game on Sept. 18. Senior Dalton McElhaney ran for 157 yards and four touchdowns and passed for two more touchdowns, while junior Kayden Cresswell snagged two interceptions, bringing one back for a score. McElhaney, and seniors Brandon Secrest and Seth Holyoak, earned first-team all-state honors from the Deseret News. Senior Joseph Shumway was a second-teamer, while seniors Brendan Bennett and Derek Johnson, and sophomore Nick Downard earned honorable mention.

Downard and Cresswell should be key returning players, along with the likes of Gage Hansen, Taylor Horton and Josh Jones.

Boys golf: The Red Devils won the 2015 Utah State 2A title in dominating fashion, posting the top score in the entire field in both days of the two-day event on their way to beating second-place South Sevier by 15 strokes. Masen Ward placed third individually, Brendon Woodard tied for fourth, Alec Williams tied for ninth and Brayden Ward tied for 11th. A strong group of returning golfers gives the Red Devils a strong chance to repeat as champions in 2016.

Volleyball: The Lady Red Devils finished second in Region 15 play under first-year coach Brittney Melton before going 1-2 in the state tournament. The Lady Red Devils lost a large senior class, including libero Talaunee Croasmun, hitters Kennedi Patterson, Michelle Lopez and Kylie Haycock, and setters Madison Jones and Tracy Dalton. Key returning players include hitters Rylee Pruitt and Hunter Moore, and the likely libero Tiana Shumway. Younger players will have to step up to make 2016 a year to remember.

Girls soccer: Senior Hannah Rice scored 9 goals in 10 games for Grand, who went 3-7, 3-5 in region play, before losing 6-2 to Summit Academy in the first round of the playoffs. Key returning players look to be junior Ellie Kelley and sophomore Brooklin Hugentobler, who scored three goals and two goals, respectively, for the Lady Red Devils in 2015.

Cross country: The Lady Red Devils will look to continue their steady ascent up the 2A rankings with their entire team returning for 2016 after junior Jayelen Knowles placed 19th, freshman Auburn Jackman placed 25th, sophomore Hannah Stripeika placed 29th and sophomore Brooklin Hugentobler placed 51st at the state championship meet in 2015. Sophomore Ryan Lewis headlines a boys team full of returning runners as well, after placing seventh at the state meet as the only boys runner to qualify.

Girls tennis: Senior Kayla Weston in No. 2 singles, seniors Kwincey Wells and Kyra Scovill in No. 1 doubles, and sisters junior Sarah Day and freshman Jamie Day in No. 2 doubles, each won their first-round matches in the state tournament on Oct. 2 before being ousted in the semifinals. Senior Brityn Ballard in No. 1 singles and sophomore Hannah Owen in No. 3 singles also competed at the state tournament, being eliminated in the first round. Rowland Hall competitors won the title in all five divisions in girls tennis, leaving everyone else in a race for second place. Grand finished tied for third in that race (tied for fourth overall) at the state tournament. With Owen and the Day sisters returning, 2016 could be another good year for Grand girls tennis.


Swimming: Grand’s girls placed second at the 2015 state championships in the team’s third year of existence, earning coach Brian Pierce Coach of the Year and sophomore swimmer Alexa Pierce Swimmer of the Year honors. Alexa Pierce added to her collection of state records at the meet on Feb. 12, setting records in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle after already holding the state records in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke events.

Fellow sophomore swimmers River Richards and Jayelen Knowles also had strong showings at state. Richards placed second in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly, while Knowles finished third in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle. With a strong youth swimming program producing strong freshman swimmers London Richards and Mary Kimmerle to join the decorated group of now-juniors, the girls look to stay near the top this season.

The boys swimmers placed seventh at state in 2015 and figure to stay at or below that mark with a young team this year, led by freshman Braxten Pierce.

The swim season is already underway with several strong showings from Grand early on. The Red Devils were scheduled to compete at the Tooele Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19, and are scheduled to return to competition in a three-team meet in Castle Dale hosted by defending state champion Emery on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.

Boys basketball: The Red Devils are off to a 3-3 start in 2015/16 after a 46-42 win over Kanab on Friday, Dec. 18 and a 54-43 victory over Altamont on Saturday, Dec. 19, extending their win streak to three games after an 0-3 start. Against Kanab, Grand came from behind in the second half to pick up the win. Senior Brendan Bennett scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds, sophomore Alec Williams had nine points and four steals, and sophomore Brayden Schultz had 9 points. Against Altamont, senior Brayden Ward had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Williams had 12 points and Bennett had eight points and seven rebounds.

Second-year coach Scott Horton said early in the season that this year’s Red Devils are far ahead of last year’s group that went 1-18. The Red Devils are next scheduled to compete at a tournament Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 29 and 30, in Beaver before opening 2016 at home versus Maesar Preparatory Academy on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, at 5 p.m.

Girls basketball: The Lady Red Devils are off to a 3-4 start under first-year coach Raye Lyne Robertson, including a pair of wins over Green River and a victory over the Fruita Monument, Colorado, junior varsity team. However, three of Grand’s four losses so far have come to larger competition from Colorado: a 52-11 loss to Fruita Monument’s varsity and losses to Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central.

Senior Talaunee Croasmun is off to a hot start, averaging 14.6 points per game, while freshman Veda Gritts has her high school career off to a promising beginning, averaging 7.9 points per game. It will be interesting to see how the Lady Red Devils stack up once region play begins.

The Lady Red Devils are scheduled to compete at a tournament in Enterprise on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 29 and 30, before beginning 2016 at home versus Monticello on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, at 7 p.m.

Wrestling: The Red Devils are in the midst of a string of several years in which they’ve struggled to field a full team, consistently forfeiting in several weight classes. However, grapplers Preston Barlow and Kayden Robertson have gotten off to promising starts to the season. The Red Devils are next scheduled to compete at the 2A duals on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8 and 9, 2016, at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.

Red Devils look forward to promising 2016