I just love learning new things, and I'm so happy where I am. —Preston Pitt
BOUNTIFUL — A lifelong soccer player, Preston Pitt decided to give football a try as he entered his freshman year.
“My mom was really, really worried, but my dad was really excited,” said Pitt, laughing. “I wanted to play wide receiver because all of my friends were doing it. About a week into it, the team had kicking tryouts, and I decided I might as well try it.”
It turns out, Pitt would find both a talent and a passion for the aspect of the sport that is both critical to success and easy to take for granted.
In Viewmont head coach Scott Ditty’s first season, he made a pitch to the freshmen players that would help him turn the program around.
“There were never really freshman who came up to play for the high school,” Pitt said. “He challenged us to come out and try playing at the high school. We were Ditty’s very first year, his experiment for his way of coaching.”
Now a senior, Pitt agrees that experiment seems to be a success. The Vikings started the season with three consecutive wins, although they’ve stumbled in their last two games losing to Skyridge and Weber. Still, hopes are high among the players and coaches that an outright region title is within their grasp this season.
Pitt’s teammates refer to him as the “field assassin because I can place the ball where I want it to go.”
He is making every contribution he can with six field goals and 30 total points. His best punt in a game is 76 yards.
“Sometimes I wonder how much different it would have been,” he said of whether or not he regrets making the switch from receiver to kicker. “But I learned to love kicking. I just love learning new things, and I’m so happy where I am.”
The senior is a 4.0 student and three-sport athlete – football, basketball and soccer. In 2016, he was the Region 2 special teams player of the year, and as a junior, he was first team All-state and Max Preps first team All-American.
Ditty points out that Pitt’s numbers are already exceeding this time last year.
After a successful junior campaign, in which the Vikings tied for the region title, Pitt decided to learn rugby style punting.
“That’s what colleges like to use now,” he said, describing the difference. “With a regular punt, you catch it, take about two steps forward and hit it off your foot where you want it to go. With rugby style, you catch it, run out to the right side, which gives your players a lot longer to let them get down field, and kick away from the person returning. It’s a lot hard kick to learn.”
Pitt has had extra motivation to learn that style as the school he hopes to attend – Utah – has relied on back-to-back rugby style kickers (both from Australia), and both have earned national honors for their abilities.
Pitt said he’s considering Utah, BYU, Utah State, and has had talks with Texas Tech and LSU.
Utah has an edge in the competition because Pitt’s cousin, Britain Covey, is a favorite of fans and coaches. Covey enjoyed huge success as a wide receiver after a successful career at Timpview High.
“Me and Britain are really close,” said Pitt, whose mother, Jenny, is Britain’s father’s sister. “We email every week. ..When he was in high school, I’d watch his highlight film. He was just insane.”
Like most people, Pitt was impressed with his cousin’s athletic ability, but that isn’t the only thing he hopes to emulate.
“He makes me want to lead my team the same way he did,” Pitt said. “It makes me want to be like Brit, how he is as a person and how he led the team.”
He said when he was younger, his older cousin would always include him, even though he’s three years younger than Britain, who is currently serving a mission in Chile.Comment on this story
“We’ve got cousins his age, and they’d go out and play basketball, and he’d always say, ‘Pres, come play’,” Pitt said. “He included us younger kids.”
Pitt has another cousin on the Utah football field in Olympus alum Conner Haller, who is playing special teams for the Utes. Pitt said his grandfather, Stephen Covey, who died in July of 2012 after a cycling accident, created a tight-knit family of 10 children who try to honor his legacy of leadership with their own best efforts.
“My grandpa was just a good example to us,” he said. “Gotta live up to the Covey name when you play.”