PARK CITY In one year's time, Park City has gone from struggling to qualify for the playoffs to being on top of the world in 3A girls soccer again.
All of it has hinged on the return of several talented seniors including top scorer Hannah Terry and Parade All-American Lindsi Lisonbee who took a year off while focusing on playing with their club team, Black Diamond.
One singular goal drove them to come back to high school soccer: Winning another 3A soccer championship for the Miners.
"I'm glad, this year, we are playing," Lisonbee said. "And, hopefully, we're going to take state again, as we did our freshman year."
A major reason for all the time spent with the Black Diamond club team was to better showcase themselves for colleges. Now the recruiting process is finished. And these Park City seniors are finding out there are many things they missed about high school soccer during their time away from it.
"In club soccer, sometimes, it's so competitive," Terry said. "High school (there) is lots of good teams, but it's more about the fun of it and just enjoying it. Just playing with your best friends out there."
How has the return of so many talented seniors impacted the Miners' fortunes? For one, Park City is much more formidable on offense. The Miners are averaging 3.5 goals per game in 2008 and are tied for first in Region 10. It's a stark contrast to a year ago where they averaged 1.4 goals and finished with a 5-8-3 overall record.
RUNNERS CONQUER IDAHO: Football is not the only sport where Utah athletes excelled versus out-of-state opponents last weekend. Several cross country teams journeyed to Boise, Idaho to take part in the annual Bob Firman Invitational on Saturday.
It turned out to be a banner day for Utah runners.
Davis scored 64 points to win the elite girl's section, besting runner-up Mountain View by a 22-point margin. In the boy's elite section, Timpview took second overall behind North Central a school out of Spokane, Washington ranked No. 1 nationally by Harrier Magazine. The T-Birds tallied 115 points overall, well behind North Central's total of 51.
Local runners claimed top individual honors. Skyline's Shalaya Kipp edged out Danielle Menlove of Jordan for the elite girl's title. Kipp finished in 18 minutes and 28.24 seconds, only 0.52 seconds ahead of Menlove. Timpview's Jonathon Nelson claimed first in the elite boy's race. His time of 15:51.88 put him 4.05 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Andrew Kimpel from North Central.
More than 100 schools from six states raced in three divisions at the Invitational.
HAWKS FALL SHORT: No. 1 Alta's quest to beat Grant, Calif. for a second straight season did not come to fruition on Saturday. The Hawks could not overcome four interceptions by Ammon Olsen, or a pair of fumbles, and lost 35-28.
VOLLEYBALL TEAMS FIGHT CANCER: For the last six years, high school softball teams have been raising money for breast cancer research through the Swing-for-Life fund-raiser founded and organized by Rowland Hall softball coach Kathy Howa. Now volleyball teams, both high school and college, are getting in on the action with Pink Games.
The teams wear special pink and white jerseys that they play in and then they auction off the shirts and other items in a silent auction. All of the money raised is donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Rowland Hall-St. Mark's is the first prep volleyball team to host a pink game and the squad raised $3,000 in its game against Waterford last month. South Summit and North Summit played a pink game last week, while Hunter and Copper Hills will play and host a silent auction on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at Hunter high. Riverton and Kearns will play a pink game at Riverton High on the same night.
Westminster College and Montana State Northern will play a pink game on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. The Swing-for-Life fund-raising effort will be featured on the Glenn Beck Show, which airs on CNN on Thanksgiving Day.
Other teams that have committed to hosting a pink game and silent auction are: University of Utah, Salt Lake Community, Utah Valley State, Dixie State, Texas A&M, Arizona State, and Northwestern are joining us in softball this spring.
Donations can be made to any of the teams or to the Huntsman Cancer Institute on behalf of any team. The Swing-for-Life Foundation is a non-profit, tax deductable contribution.
UIAAA LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP: The Utah Intermountain Athletic Administrators Association is taking applications for a new executive director. Anyone interested should contact Richard Barton, CMAA, president of the UIAAA, Richfield High, at 435-896-8247. He can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The position, currently held by Jordan High's Athletic Director Marc Hunter, is a four-year term.