High school sports: More than 600 athletes taking talents to college on scholarship
Soccer is starting to fall into that same category. Only 28 seniors from the 2012 graduating class received some form of athletic or academic scholarship, but this year that number ballooned to 59. Among the standouts are Brighton’s Matthew Coffey and Lehi’s Aaron Caprio who both signed with traditional powerhouse University of Portland.
“I think soccer is getting bigger in Utah and the exposure is increasing, and the club programs are participating in more and more out-of-state tournaments and showcasing the kids,” said Brighton coach Russ Boyer, who said the overall talent in Utah has increased dramatically in the past decade.
On the hard court, the 2013 graduating class was a particularly strong one and Utah and BYU benefitted from that. The Cougars landed both Nick Emery and Erik Mika from Lone Peak High School, while Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak signed a strong class that included East’s Parker Van Dyke and Brighton’s Brandon Miller.
Utah State’s lone signee was 4A state tourney hero Jalen Moore from Sky View, while South Sevier’s Race Parsons signed with SUU.
In the previous three years the Deseret News tracked scholarship recipients, girls soccer featured the highest-percentage of college-bound athletes. Not this year, though. Softball is the scholarship breadwinner for the class of 2013.
Of the estimated 596 high school seniors who played softball this spring, 69 (11.6 percent) earned scholarships.
Only eight of those are heading to Division 1 programs, which Bingham coach Mikki Jackson said is just fine.
“What we try to convey early with our kids is that there are some D2 programs that are better than D1 programs and some NAIA programs that are better than D1 programs,” Jackson said. “I think a lot more of them are opening their mind to play JC before moving on. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing for them.
“It’s getting them to think what do they want out of their academics, and getting the most money out of their athletic talent.”
As for girls’ soccer, even though the percentage of athletes who received scholarships was down slightly from 10.6 in 2012 to 9.9 in 2013, there are still 82 girls who received soccer scholarships.
Headlining that group is Juan Diego’s Emily Bruder who signed with 2012 National Champion North Carolina, where she’ll team up with Ohai this season.
Plenty of other girls’ sports churned out scholarship athletes. Fifty-one volleyball players signed to play at the next level (6.4 percent), while 46 basketball players signed (5.6 percent).
An estimated 2,600 seniors participated in boys and girls track and cross-country during the 2012-2013 school year, with 73 earning scholarships. That list includes Park City’s Ben Saarel, Davis’ Shea Martinez and Sky View’s Brenna Porter and Park City’s Megan Glassman — who combined to set six new state records this year.
“It’s gotten more competitive over the past few years, especially distance running. But really, most events are strong in Utah now,” said Davis coach Corbin Talley.
BYU remains one of the marquee track programs in the country, but programs like UVU, Weber state and Utah State are also great options for boys and girls track athletes to compete at the next level.