This has been a year to remember in Tooele County sports — in fact, so much so that it will be hard for 2018 to match it.
There was so much to take away from these past 12 months. There were individual state champions in wrestling (Stansbury’s Logan Gustafson) and girls tennis (Grantsville’s Maci Jackson), as well as in track and field (Stansbury’s Sami Oblad won the 200-meter dash in addition to the 400 and high jump, and Grantsville’s Gavin Eyre won the state title in the javelin). Two teams took home historic state titles of their own, with the Stansbury boys cross-country team winning the school’s first state title in any boys sport, and Grantsville winning its first softball state championship since 1998.
There were other highlights along the way, to be sure. Who can forget the Stansbury boys basketball team’s unlikely run through the Class 3A state tournament, as the Stallions got hot at the right time and ended up finishing sixth after squeaking into the postseason and winning their playoff opener on a late shot by Jase Wanlass? Or the football team overcoming a 1-3 start to the season and uneven efforts after that to turn it on in the postseason, advancing to the state semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the second year in a row?
There was the resurgence of the Tooele boys soccer program, a long-downtrodden group that not only made its return to the postseason, but stole a win from North Sanpete on the road in the first round. And how about Tooele’s girls basketball team, which found its stride late in the season to capture a postseason berth under first-year coach Randy Goss?
Both basketball teams from Grantsville went undefeated in the old Region 10 despite being by far the smallest school in the region. The Cowboys’ girls soccer team set school records in virtually every category and were one goal away from a trip to the state semifinals. The football team was a two-point conversion away from toppling Juan Diego in the quarterfinals in its first year under coach Kody Byrd.
It was a blast seeing all these stories unfold. The good thing about a new year is there are plenty more stories yet to be written. Will Grantsville win another state title in softball? How will the state basketball tournament unfold? What will happen on the soccer and football fields, as well as on the track and the tennis court?
2018 certainly has a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He would like to wish all of Tooele County the best in 2018. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.