Prep pigskin junkies, feel free to exhale now. The Deseret News' annual high school football previews are here, and the actual season is less than two weeks away.
Beginning in Monday's paper, we'll take an insightful look at each of the 13 football regions in the state. The previews will include a team-by-team look as well as guesstimations of how the region will finish according to straw polls taken by coaches from each league.The first preview will be of Class 2A, where the big question is if Kevin Butler's Grantsville squad has the manpower to win a third consecutive championship.
The rest of the schedule is as follows: Regions 9-10 (3A), Tuesday; Regions 7-8 (3A), Wednesday; Region 6 (4A), Thursday; Region 5 (4A), Friday; Region 4 (4A), Saturday; Region 3 (5A), Sunday; Region 2 (5A), Monday, Aug. 24; Region 1 (5A), Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The 1998 football season will officially begin Thursday, Aug. 27, with a couple of the traditional "Kickoff Classics," including Skyline at Highland and Fremont at Layton. The bulk of the state's teams will begin play Friday, Aug. 28.
MESSERSMITH HAS WILL TO WIN: Lehi High standout runner Shae Messersmith was recently named a Silver Award winner in the national "Will To Win" asthma athlete scholarship program.
Messersmith, who won the 1996 3A individual cross country championship and had two second-place finishes, received a $5,000 scholarship to use while she competes at Utah State.
Messersmith was honored at an awards dinner last month in New York City. Tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, who has had a successful career despite being asthmatic, presented Messersmith with her award.
More than 3,500 athletes from around the nation applied for the scholarships given to the 10 Will to Win winners.
"For the four million young people with asthma, the Will to Win program demonstrates that their condition need not be a limitation to success," said Raymond Slavin, a director at the St. Louis University who was the contest's chief judge.
WATER POLO ALL-AMERICAN: Rob Goldthorpe, a former Skyline High water polo star, has been named a water polo first-team All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.
Goldthorpe was the only Utahn to earn a spot on the Junior Nationals Water Polo team, which was selected after tryouts at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The U.S. squad will play games in California and Havana, Cuba.
In 1997, Goldthorpe played for the Nevada/Utah Stars (NUTS) water polo team. It turned out to be the only non-California team to move into the winner's bracket last summer after competing across the country.
In high school, Goldthorpe was captain of Skyline's swim and water polo teams. He scored two goals in the championship game to lead the Eagles to the title last year. During the season, he led Skyline with 48 points. He was then selected as a Utah water polo first team all-stater and was runner-up for MVP.
WOES FOR PROVO FOE: The Provo High boys basketball team, which won its second straight 4A championship in March, can no longer boast of being the only team in the country to beat national power Miami Senior High last season.
Miami Senior, which finished 36-1 and was ranked fourth in the nation in the final USA Today poll, was recently charged with a plethora of recruiting violations. Last Tuesday, it was stripped of its Florida Class 6A boys basketball title and it must forfeit all of its victories in basketball, baseball and soccer.
The Stingarees were found guilty of having eight players in the three sports who either simply lived out of school boundaries or who falsified addresses.
Provo, which ended being ranked 16th in the nation, won't get a chance to beat them this year. Miami Senior has been banned from playing in state playoffs and in out-of-state tournaments. Provo won a 67-66 thriller at a prestigious Hawaii tournament in December.