Preston Sanchez, Copper Hills (Sr.)
Copper Hills’ point guard had a great showing at the KSA Orlando tournament last weekend, leading the Grizzlies to the tourney title in the top division.
Sanchez scored 25, 25 and 13 points respectively in wins over Golden, Colorado, Chartiers Valley, Pennsylvania and Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
“He was so aggressive offensively and really created a lot of opportunities for other guys to make shots, but at the same time he didn’t miss a lot of shots and really had it going from the three,” said Copper Hills coach Andrew Blanchard.
“He was tremendous even more on the defensive end. He was able to shut down the best players on the other team and then created a lot of deflections that led to a runout.”
The Dixie State commit is averaging 20.0 points, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals for the 9-0 and second-ranked Grizzlies.
Aubrey Vanderwerken, Tooele (Sr.)
Senior shooting guard Aubrey Vanderwerken could score even more points than she does if she wasn’t such a great teammate.
She is among the state’s best 3-point shooters with an average of 3.4 per game. She’s hit eight 3-pointers in two games and nine in another contest. Still, she agreed to take over point guard duties when a teammate went down with an injury.
“She’s not selfish with the ball,” said Tooele coach Thomas Ware. “If she has a teammate that’s open, she’ll give the ball away.”
The honor student earned a starting spot for the Buffalo midway through her junior season. She worked hard in the offseason to improve her long-range shooting with impressive results. Still, it isn’t just points that she's added to Tooele’s successful start.
“Her greatest ability is to use both hands equally, encourage her teammates and be a leader,” Ware said. “She’s not selfish and she works within the bounds of the program.”
Kody Hafen, Snow Canyon (Sr.)
This second-year captain is off to a strong start to the 2015-16 wrestling season.
Two weeks ago he posted an undefeated 10-0 week at 120 pounds, with seven of those wins coming by technical fall.
He’s a returning 3A Southern Division champion and fifth-place finisher at state.
“With a vise-like grip, Kody is a near-fall specialist relying on a variety of relentless tilts that frustrate and wear down his opponents,” said Snow Canyon coach Nick Lang. “Kody has not given up a single takedown this season and has spent less time in the bottom position than a snowball in a hot oven with his explosive escapes and reversals.”
As of last week, Hafen was 16-1 with his lone loss coming to two-time state champ Brandon Meikel from Kearns.
“Kody is one of the most all-around, solid wrestlers to come through Snow Canyon. He works hard. He's a leader on the team and he's a great young man. We have high expectations for him and he meets them in every way,” said Lang.
Wyatt Graham, Salem Hills (Sr.)
Graham participated in the Speedo Winter Junior National Swim Championships in Austin, Texas, last week, and lowered his qualifying times in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
“He did very well. He was competing against some of the best in the nation,” said Salem Hills coach Brad Graham.
The senior Graham qualified in a club meet at Kearns last summer.
“He is a strong swimmer because he’s very dedicated to the sport. He works out in the morning, lifts weights, goes an extra two and half hours to work out with his club team after school. He’s good academically as well and takes three AP classes,” said coach Graham.
At last year’s 4A state meet, Graham finished fourth in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 breaststroke.
Lily Plaudis, Kearns (Fr.)
This freshman has made an immediate impact on the Kearns swim team this season.
At the Granite District Championships last week, Plaudis won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:07.35. The time lowered the school-record mark she set just a few weeks earlier.
“She started swimming when she was really young. I’ve been her coach since she was eight. She’s just a really hard worker. To have her on the high school team has been a big boost to the team,” said Kearns coach Chris Horne.
Plaudis finished second in the 200 individual medley at the Granite District Championships as well.
“She’s a fantastic athlete. She really puts in a lot of work. I look forward to her trying to qualify for junior nationals,” said Horne.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: [email protected]