Top sports stories: beyond the top 10

Published: Saturday, Jan. 1 2011 11:00 p.m. MST

From perfect seasons to inspiring faith, 2010 offered local sports fans a lot to be grateful for.

Here are some of the stories that didn't make the top 10 list, but captured our attention — and our hearts — just the same.

Concussions end seasons, careers

It's one thing to listen to statistics on concussions.

It's another thing to watch players we know and love live with the effects of the head injuries.

In a season where the NFL, college programs and high school federations implemented education programs and rule changes meant to reduce concussions, three local players brought the story home.

University of Utah running back Sausan Shakerin and BYU safety Steven Thomas announced their football careers were over within days of each other in November. Both sustained multiple concussions in their college careers, and made their separate decisions with the help of family and medical staff.

Just a month later, former BYU receiver Austin Collie, who was enjoying a successful season with the Indianapolis Colts, was placed on injured reserve after suffering his third concussion this season.

Not Utah men, after all

The University of Utah men's basketball team lost another player this winter after losing four last year.

Head coach Jim Boylen, however, took the request to transfer from former Brighton High standout Jace Tavita in stride.

"Jace approached me this week and informed me that he wanted to leave the program based on his playing time," Boylen said.

Tavita played sparingly, but his decision was viewed more skeptically after Carlon Brown, Matt Read, Marshall Henderson and Jordan Cyphers all left the U's program last season.

Local golfer makes good

Farmington native and former BYU golfer Daniel Summerhays finished fifth on the Nationwide Tour money list. This qualifies him for the 2011 PGA Tour.

Perfect Panguitch

For nearly two seasons, the Panguitch volleyball team was perfect. The Bobcats set a new state record (and shattered several others) with 69 straight wins, including many against 5A and 4A programs. The Bobcats won two 1A state titles during that run.

The last time Panguitch lost was Aug. 22, 2009.

Women choose to pray, rather than play on Sunday

Both the BYU women's rugby team and the Southern Virginia University's women's soccer team gained national attention for their separate decisions to forfeit games rather than play on Sunday.

For BYU's Rugby team, it mean ending their season with a possible national title in sight. The Cougars earned a berth into the tournament's Sweet 16 with a win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but gave up the chance to keep playing when tournament organizers decided to play the next round on Sunday.

"We saw it as an opportunity to stand up for what we believe we have to do," said team captain Kirsten Siebach. "We're not trying to tell everybody not to play on Sundays. But we'd like to show them it's important to stand up for what you believe in."

Kevin Curtis inspired

NFL wide receiver Kevin Curtis is the embodiment of tenacity. The former Snow College and Utah State standout battled testicular cancer in the offseason and then vowed to make his NFL comeback.

His dream seemed to come true when Miami signed him a few weeks ago. Three days ago, they released him.

Drafted by the Rams in 2003, the 32-year-old Murray native offered a lesson to fans in heart and determination.

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