We limited it to only 10 students to make the honor more prestigious.
Those who were multi-sport athletes scored high marks on our tally sheet such as Logan Paulich, Alex Childs, Jordan Clemente, Matt Wihongi, Kylie Erickson, Sammie Jensen and Alexis Bird. Zac Clausing played football and baseball this year and opted out of basketball, but he was a force on the gridiron and the diamond.
Two Tooele girls, our female athlete of the year Lauren Folta and Sadie Palmer, are easy selections because they dominated the competition statewide in their respective sports. Folta was the 4A tournament MVP on the state championship softball team and she has been sensational from the pitching circle for four years.
Palmer is the best 4A female golfer in the state and proved it by winning the first ever girls state championship in 4A and 5A combined.
If domination in a single sport were the sole criteria it would be impossible to ignore Tooele junior basketball player Tanner Stuart who could glide, penetrate the defense and shoot the ball with uncanny accuracy. He most likely was the top basketball player in the county.
Grantsville senior Dustin Durfee and his championship performances in hurdles competition at the state meet made him a quality candidate. He also was strong in football. Fellow track athlete Collin Thompson won a state title in the javelin and Tooele's Mason Halligan finished second in the state in the javelin against the stronger 4A competition.
Dugway junior sharpshooter Morgan Kartchner is fun to watch in basketball. He's going to go double-digits for three-pointers scored in single game next year. Kartchner is also a multi-sport star.
I watched Wendover's Victor DeSantiago cause the Mustangs and coach George Bruce some frustration in a basketball game late in the season with his 23 points and solid rebounding. DeSantiago had an unorthodox shot, but they would drop and he battled hard all night But Kartchner came through in that game with four three-pointers for the Mustangs late in the contest when they were desperately needed to help his team prevail. DeSantiago is a top pitcher in baseball as well.
The 152 weight class was good for both Tooele and Grantsville wrestling teams this year with Tooele's Monte Schmalhaus winning a state title in that weight in 4A, and Grantsville's Austyn Vickers placing fourth in the 3A meet. Isaac Brown of Tooele was solid this year with a sixth-place finish at the state meet in the 215 division.
It's hard to ignore players like four-year basketball starter Meredith Nigh at THS for her contributions, or Grantsville sophomores Kelsie Wells and Marissa Robbins who played consistently all season to lead their team to the Region 11 basketball title and a high state ranking.
The football teams had some top running backs with Jordan Biorge, Trifon Gochis and Matt Gochis at THS and the speedy Austin Gumucio at GHS.
Championship teams are loaded with superb players like the THS softball team. Just list the starting lineup and you have an all-star team.
When you start to look you find there are plenty of talented prep athletes in this county. Now some of the teams just need to work together, stay together and perhaps they will develop their own winning legacies like the THS softball squad.
Coaches preach team effort and cohesiveness and it's extremely important, but championship teams usually have two or three star athletes who lead the way and make a huge difference. Here's to the stars of this year's high school sports teams -- and may there be plenty more to praise again next year.