Now, I can finally catch my breath.
February is always a busy time in the Transcript Bulletin sports department.
There’s the end of the high school boys and girls basketball regular seasons, right at the same time as the state swimming championships and the state wrestling tournament. After that, it’s time for the basketball playoffs to start, and the spring sports start practicing right at the end of the month.
It’s a lot to handle. There are many hours spent sitting on hard plastic bleachers in cramped high school gyms and many miles spent driving from Heber City to Wendover and Morgan to Salem — and all points in between.
But, you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, this section exists because of the kids who play these games. And while I may grumble a bit about the amount of time it takes to put all these words into print two times a week, and not being able to spend much time at home unless it’s spent sleeping, there’s no greater reward than watching Tooele County’s athletes succeed.
And, was there ever a lot of success to follow this winter.
All six of the Tooele Valley’s high school basketball teams finished with at least 11 wins. That has never happened before. All six made the postseason, and Grantsville’s girls and boys each finished third.
I’m not going to lie — I expected the girls to go that far, but the boys were a pleasant surprise. The frustration was evident on Grantsville coach Bryan Detweiler’s face as his team struggled through region play, and I don’t know if even he expected this. But maybe the Cowboys were just flat-out built for the postseason and the increased intensity and physicality that comes with it. It was nice to see the Grantsville seniors go out on such a high note. And, I say this often about our local athletes when I’m talking to people — they’re good kids. Not just good athletes.
And that’s what makes it rewarding. Even though I’m not from Tooele County originally, I can’t help but root for the Buffaloes, Stallions and Cowboys — as well as the Mustangs and Wildcats — to do well. And it’s because the kids are not just good athletes, but they’re likable personalities as well.
I enjoyed hearing the excitement in Anthony Herrera’s voice after he won his wrestling state championship. It was awesome seeing the culmination of Savannah Thomas’ high school career with her two state titles, as well as the beginning of another stellar career with Hadlee Begay winning two titles of her own as a freshman.
So while the 7 p.m. start times won’t be missed, and I’m welcoming the return of a semi-regular work schedule, that’s not to say I won’t miss the winter sports season. I absolutely will.
And now I’m looking forward to watching many of those same athletes — as well as some fresh faces — succeed this spring.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He’s looking forward to leaving the confines of a cramped high-school gym for the great outdoors, unless it’s cold out there. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.