It's been a bitter-sweet week for Alta boys basketball coach Ron Carling.

For the first time since 1991, his Hawks sat at home during the first round of the state playoffs. That's not an easy thing to do when you have a strong postseason tradition. Alta has won three region titles and two state championships in Carling's 11-year tenure.And, though another local crown is at least a year away, he could add a world championship to his impressive coaching resume in the meantime.

Carling has been named one of three coaches for the United States' select squad of 16- and 17-year-olds at this summer's World Youth Championships in Moscow.

"That's kind of fun. It's pretty exciting," Carling said. "It will keep me plenty busy."

That's for sure. He and the other two coaches - one's from North Carolina, the other from Memphis - will train with the U.S. team in Colorado Springs from July 1-7. They will then go to Russia to compete against the world between July 8-22.

The players will be selected from a national committee, beginning with a core group of 48 of the best high school boys in the nation. Those players will play against each other at the Olympic Training Center starting on June 22, giving the committee a chance to trim the team. Carling said the three coaches won't be involved with the selection process.

Carling's involvement in the summer AAU program and his three-year coaching stint in Australia likely helped him to be chosen, he said. He has made a lot of acquaintances around the country from taking his teams to national tournaments in Nebraska each December. The Hawks played at a respected tournament in Tennessee last year, too.

As for not making the state tournament, Carling still has some bragging rights. The Hawks beat eight of the 16 state playoff teams and five of the eight quarterfinalists this season.

REGIONAL PLAYER OF YEAR: Highland volleyball star Logan Tom has been named the 1997 Gatorade Circle of Champions Mountain Regional girls volleyball player of the year. She is one of eight finalists for the national honor.

Tom, the Deseret News 4A MVP, has gained worldwide acclaim for her ability to crush the ball. The junior, who carries a 4.0 GPA, is the only high school athlete to train with the U.S. women's national team.

SIMPLOT GAMES RESULTS: Utah's contingent of high school track and field athletes fared quite well at the 20th annual Simplot Games last weekend at Idaho State.

Bingham's Justus Talley had an especially good meet. He won the boys' 800-meter dash (1.54.46) and then anchored the Bingham boys 4X800 relay team to a meet record of 7:47.88. Jeff Allen, Nic Evans and Dennis Lorenz were also on the Miners' winning team, which missed the national record set in 1969 by 0.34 seconds.

Provo had a pair of winners, too. Sophomore Josh Rohatinsky beat Wasatch's Matt Adams by 3.84 seconds with a time of 9:31.47. Bulldogs Brian Lindsay (4:15) and Nate Robinson (4:22) earned the top two spots in the boys' 1,600-meter race.

Kearns also had a good showing. The Cougar girls' 1,600-meter team won the medley relay, and sophomore Rachel Voorhies finished in second in the girls high jump with a leap of 5-5.

The East girls won the 4X800 relay in 9:39.48.

Other Utahns who placed include: Dixie's Cody Fonnesbeck, second in 55-meter dash (6.492); Emery's Damon Visser, third in 55 hurdles and eighth in 55m; Murray's Oliver Webb, third in long jump (21-7), fourth in high jump (6-7) and 10th in 200m; Murray's Brian Murray, third in 200m (22.46); Clearfield's Renn Thompson, third in 400m (50.11); and Pine View's Brittany Lott, sixth in long jump.

Bear River's Marlon Shirley tied the World Paralympic record in the 55m with a time of 7.06 seconds.