Let the Games begin . . . to end.
Today marks the sixth and final day of the 1988 Utah Summer Games, and if Friday serves as any indication, the week-long sporting event could wind up kind of like it started - all wet.A late Friday afternoon rainstorm soaked - and temporarily delayed - some outdoor sports, such as softball and track. The former competition is doubling as the USSSA regional qualifying tournament, while the latter is serving as the state TAC meet.
You'll remember that Monday's opening ceremonies at the SUSC Thunderhead, er, Thunderstorm, no, make that Thunderbird Stadium were unceremoniously rained out by a violent late-afternoon storm. And you'll remember that the ceremonies were quickly rescheduled for this evening and officially named the closing ceremonies.
More than a dozen sports boast finals today, ranging from basketball to bowling, from shooting to soccer and from weightlifting
to volleyball. Undoubtedly the most popular is men's basketball - a sport nearly everyone understands, with competition refined at the region level and name-recognition players.
In the men's scholastic division, a Timpview High team called Rocky Mountain Hoops will face American Fork in a 1 p.m. gold-medal game. American Fork is composed of prep-age players from in and around Utah County, including three-point shooters like Brian Santiago, Mike Dean and Mark Rydalch.
The most talked-about title hoop contest is the 2:30 p.m. Centrum games in the men's open, with Woodbury facing Pro Image. Woodbury represents the Central Region and boasts former BYU players Jeff Chatman, Brent Stephenson, Tom Gneiting, Scott Runia and Glen Roberts. Rounding out the six-man team is Canadian National Team member Karl Tilleman, himself a long-shot threat.
Meanwhile, Pro Image is a Utah State-laden team, featuring the likes of Greg and Nathan Grant, Reid Newey and Chris McMullin.
-- MEDAL COUNT: Friday was a hectic day, but few medals were given as most sports featured only preliminary competition.
As of Friday night, Salt Lake Region had extended its medal lead. The regional breakdown for gold medals was Salt Lake 230; North, 107; South 86; Central, 93. And the regional breakdown for all gold, silver and bronze medals was: Salt Lake 566; North 286; South 234; and Central, 225.
In all that's 1,311 medals awarded since Monday, with a Fort Knox-type quantity yet to be distributed after today's final round of competition.
-- WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The pairings for today's gold-medal scholastic-age finals are already set, pitting Clearfield representing the North and the Valley Stars from the Salt Lake region. And in the open, it's a Salt Lake-based gold-medal matchup between Taylorsville and the Rebels.
In Friday's bronze-medal play, it was a South Region matchup in the scholastic division, with Valley Aces edging J.F., 46-43. In late games, the Cedar Breakers edged Central's Coca-Cola 66-62 for the bronze in the open division.
-- MORE MEN'S BASKETBALL: In the master's gold-medal game today, it's a Salt Lake area affair, with South Valley and Ringers advancing to the championship. Ringers features a number of former collegiate players, such as Kenny Gardner and Jim Eakins.
Tracy's All-Stars, comprised in part by Emery County High players, claimed the scholastic-division bronze by beating Brighton, 71-63. In late bronze-medal games Friday, a Marty Haws-led Utah Valley Stars beat the Utah State-laden Raymond Construction 95-83 to win the bronze in the open. Haws scored 33 points while Raymond's Greg Houskeeper finished with 27. Willie Sojourner and his Motta's Army team played Certified Ford for honors in the masters.
-- VOLLEYBALL: Bronze medals were awarded to South's Lady Royals in the women's open, Salt Lake's Fresh in the men's open, and Spanish Fork in the women's scholastic.
Today's gold-medal match-ups include a pair of Salt Lake teams in Diggit and Studebakers in the women's open, South's Sunset Spikers and North's Regs in the women's scholastic, and Hill Air Force Base and Central's Fallout in the men's open.
-- WEIGHTLIFTING: Juniors and teens competed Friday, with Sandy's Bryan Kramer topping the scales for all teen divisions with a lift of 170 kilograms. Meanwhile, Providence's Matt Lund set a new state record for his junior division with a lift of 152.5.
-- SHOOTING: A pair of Sandy shooters, Angel Worthen and Paul Difrancesco, each won two gold medals Friday - Worthen in the scholastic division and Difrancesco in the men's open.