As we ring in another new year, it’s time to look back on the 2017 year that was for Grand County High School Sports, beginning with the spring sports farthest away from our collective memory and coming full-circle to the winter sports currently in-season.
Baseball: The Red Devils finished with a 21-5 record, including an 8-2 mark in Region 15 play, placing second to Gunnison Valley (24-3, 9-1). The Red Devils made it to the state championship game, which they lost 9-4 to the Bulldogs. Ace pitcher Josh Jones made First Team All-State with a 9-2 record on the mound. Teammate Brayden Schultz was also First Team All-State with four home runs and 18 stolen bases. Bruin Meador and Masen Ward were named to the Second Team and Alec Williams earned honorable mention. All five players were juniors last spring and figure to return to the team this year and make another run at a state championship
Softball: The Lady Red Devils went 14-10, 7-3 in 2A East, finishing second to Gunnison Valley in the region standings. The Lady Red Devils went 3-2 in the state tournament, eventually getting ousted 8-7 by the Manti Lady Templars. Tia Shumway earned Second Team All-State honors in her senior season.
Track and Field: The boys finished seventh and the girls finished 15th at the UHSAA Utah State Track and Field Championships in May, highlighted by a second-place finish in the boys medley relay from the quartet of Ryan Lewis, Stacy Randall, Connor Guerrero and Trent Elmore, who ran a time of 3:44.94. Lewis, then a junior, also placed third in the 3200-meters and sixth in the 800-meters. Then-sophomore Teddy Park placed fifth in the high jump, then-freshman Evan Ellison placed sixth in the 3200-meters. Several other boys came close to top-eight finishes in various events. Scoring for the girls were Halli Stocks, who placed third in the discus and Auburn Jackman, who placed eighth in the 400-meters. Grand was young on both sides and have most of their key components back for the Red Devils’ first year in 3A.
Boys tennis: The Red Devils had three competitors qualify for state: Kai Wainer in No. 2 singles and Elton Kunze-Jones and Braxten Pierce in No. 1 doubles, but Wainer and the team of Kunze-Jones and Pierce were eliminated in the first round. Grand should fare better in 2018 as all three state qualifiers and most of the rest of the team were underclassmen in 2017.
Girls golf: The Lady Red Devils finished fourth at the 2017 UHSAA Utah State 2A Girls Golf Championships with 259 points. Joopy Bamrungmuang tied for sixth place, followed by Sarah Day, who tied for ninth; Jamie Day, who tied for 14th; and Charly Kohler, who finished 26th. The Lady Red Devils will need a strong turnout if they hope to be in the mix in 2018.
Boys golf: The Red Devils won their third straight state championship, their first in 3A, beating Morgan by four strokes in the UHSAA Utah State 3A Boys Golf Championships. Grand’s Masen Ward was the individual state champion with a 150 over two days, followed by Brendon Woodard, who tied for second at 151. Alec Williams finished fifth at 154, Kane Scherer tied for 23rd at 168, Jaxen Saunders tied for 28th at 170 and Taylor Torgerson finished 40th at 182. With just about everyone figuring to come back, there may be at least one more year of Grand’s boys golf dynasty.
Football: The Red Devils finished 9-2, 4-1 in 2A South play, which was good for second place behind Beaver in the region standings. Grand was eliminated in the state semifinals 47-9 by eventual state champion South Summit. Dakota Johnson was named to the 2A First Team after rushing for 992 yards and 15 touchdowns, Gage Hansen joined him on the First Team thanks to his stout offensive line play. Nick Downard earned First Team accolades based on his defensive performance of 61 tackles and four interceptions. On special teams, Dante Wells was named 2A’s best kicker with 48 point-afters and five field goals. On the Second Team for their defensive play are Jared Smith and Chris Thompson. Trent Elmore, Brayden Schultz and Jarett Reidhead earned honorable mention. Grand lost a lot of seniors, but had its deepest team in recent memory in 2017, and with Elmore and Thompson leading the way, they should be just fine in 2018.
Cross Country: Grand finished fifth in both the boys and girls divisions at the UHSAA Utah State 3A Cross Country Championships, claiming the individul runner-up in both races. Freshman Kylah Ricks ran a 19:30.0 race for the girls and senior Ryan Lewis ran a 16:02.2 for the boys, less than a second out of first place. Grand had two other All-State boys runners as sophomore Evan Ellison took sixth at 16:34.9 and sophomore Malachi Ricks took seventh at 16:36.5; Senior Braxten Pierce took 39th at 18:-09.0. For the girls, freshman Anika Sherer took 16th (21:00.5), senior Hannah Stripeika took 31st (21:57.8) and sophomore Jessie Anderson took 38th (22:36.9). With several talented underclass runners returning in both divisions, Grand should have a strong 2018.
Girls soccer: The Lady Red Devils went 3-8-1, including a 2-7-1 mark in Region 15, placing fifth in the region standings and losing 4-0 to Juab in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. Freshman Emree Olsen had three goals, while Josie Camps, Ali Hirt, Olivia Medina and Corah Moody all had two. An extremely young team in 2017 will look to make a stride up the standings in 2018.
Volleyball: The Lady Red Devils finished sixth in the 3A state tournament, dropping their first match and winning three straight matches in the consolation bracket. Grand only had one senior in 2017, so the sky is the limit for the 2018 Lady Red Devils.
Girls tennis: Jamie Day (No. 1 Singles), Kiersten Kimmerle (No. 2 Singles), Annie Kopell (No. 3 Singles) and the duo of Maara Holyoak and Kyla Jackman (No. 2 doubles) each qualified for the state tournament, all losing in the first round. As none of the five girls mentioned were seniors, look for a strong season from the Lady Red Devils in 2018.
Mountain bike: The Red Devils finished 11th out of 47 teams in Division 2 at the State Mountain Bike Championships and will continue to improve, having had a team made up mostly of underclassmen in 2017.
Swimming: The Grand girls won the 2017 UHSAA State 2A Swimming title, claiming back-to-back titles before moving to 3A, where they are currently experiencing a rebuilding year after several graduations and relocation of top swimmers. The boys finished fourth in 2A in 2017 and will be at or near the top tier of 3A in 2018, having several swimmers putting up strong seasons thus far.
Boys basketball: The Red Devils made great strides in 2017, advancing past the play-in game for the first time in several years when they beat Rowland Hall 63-44. Grand lost to Summit Academy in the state quarterfinals and South Sevier in the consolation bracket. Grand is 6-1 so far this season, but region play in 2018 will be far tougher than the Red Devils’ non-region state. By mid-January, the Red Devils will know whether they’re contenders or pretenders.
Girls basketball: Grand went 7-12, including a 1-9 mark in Region 15 play in 2017. Grand again has a small roster with only 11 players (you’re allowed to suit 12 for varsity), so it looks like another tough year for the Lady Red Devils.
Wrestling: The Red Devils are in the same boat as the girls basketball team. Only 10 grapplers comprise the roster with eight weight classes filled out of 14, thanks to graduations, relocation, injuries and former team members deciding not to return. The Red Devils had four guys place in the top five in their weight classes in the 2A state tournament in 2017 and look to have at least three do the same in 3A in 2018, but as far as the team score goes, it may as well not even be recorded.
Drill team: The Devilettes finished outside of the top five in each of the three categories: military, dance and kick at the state 2A competition in 2017. This team works tirelessly on its routines and has yet to compete this season, having the first meet canceled because most of the team were sick. They are scheduled to compete January 13, 2018 in Richfield.
It was another good year for Red Devil sports