There isn't exactly a dearth of experience among this bunch.
Heading into today's Class 5A boys soccer semifinals, the four schools that have advanced to the second-to-last round of the tournament Brighton, Alta, Viewmont and Weber have all been fixtures in the event in recent seasons.
In the last five years, Alta (2006) and Weber (2004) have both been 5A champions, while Brighton (2004 and 2006) and Viewmont (2005) have both appeared in state championship games.
Perhaps the most accurate reflection of on-the-field success in prep soccer can be gauged by looking at state semifinal appearances, and when you do that for this group, you quickly realize that Brighton has appeared in four of the last five 5A semifinals, and that Alta, Viewmont and Weber have each been in three of the last five.
Add all those numbers up, and it becomes obvious that today's semifinal round should be a whole lot of fun.
The action gets under way at 4 p.m. when No. 3 Alta collides with No. 4 Viewmont in what should be an outstanding semifinal contest, while top-ranked Brighton will face Weber at 6. Both games are at Woods Cross High.
Alta coach Lee Mitchell pointed out that while the experience factor bears significance because it can help drive the players to build on what's previously been accomplished, prep teams are different and unique each season.
"Most of these players probably haven't been in the semifinals before," said Mitchell.
Accordingly, the question is, which group of players from this year's field will shine on the big stage? The answer will come this afternoon and on Thursday in the state-championship game.
Mitchell today faces one of his close friends in Viewmont coach Dave Wigham. The pair accounts for a bevy of championships and are two of the most respected soccer coaches in state history.
Viewmont, with seniors Colton Cook, Tommy Barrett and Tyler Arbuckle helping to lead the way for a fantastic supporting cast, has two big advantages over the other three remaining 5A survivors 1, the Vikes are the only school to regularly play on the same artificial surface that will be used this week, and 2, Viewmont High, according to Google, is just 2.9 miles away from Woods Cross High School.
It's an advantage that Alta High enjoyed for several years while the tournament was at Juan Diego, but the Hawks ride into today's contest having won six of their last seven games and will have all the confidence in the world.
Meanwhile, Brighton faces Weber in the other semifinal contest.
Many didn't expect much from the Weber Warriors when they dropped five of seven games toward the end of the regular season, but here they are in the semifinals for the third time in five years."It's obviously something that we're proud of as a coaching staff," said Weber coach Kenny Beus, who said credit for the accomplishment goes to his players.
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