Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 28, 2017
Top 5 Sports of 2017 #2: Four athletes bring home the top prize

Gustafson, Oblad, Eyre and Jackson at their best when it mattered most 

In addition to seeing the Grantsville softball team and the Stansbury boys across-country team capture their respective state championships, 2017 also saw four of Tooele County’s top athletes bring home individual state championships.

Tooele County’s run of success began in February, when Stansbury’s Logan Gustafson became the first Stallion wrestler to win a state title, capturing the Class 3A title at 138 pounds.

Gustafson edged Morgan’s Antonio Nava 9-8 in the championship match, taking the lead with a two-point near fall with 58 seconds left in the final period. Each wrestler had a chance to win the match by pin in the second period, but both managed to escape, setting up Gustafson’s dramatic finish.

“It feels amazing,” Gustafson said. “It’s obviously been my dream since I was little. My older brothers —  they were wrestlers and they never took state. They pushed it hard, but they had tough brackets. I had their experience plus my coaches, and I came out on top.

“I knew all I had to do was wrestle hard and wrestle smart,” he added. “I knew that even if at times it looked like I was going to lose, I had to keep pushing because I knew I could bring it back. I was confident in my own ability.”

The two wrestlers embraced in the middle of the mat following the match as the crowd at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center roared its approval.

“Antonio’s such a great guy,” Gustafson said. “I’m glad he was the person I had to beat in the finals. We were pushing each other in that match and probably both hit a new level that we didn’t know we had.”

A little more than three months after Gustafson’s triumph, Stansbury’s Sami Oblad dominated the Class 3A girls state track and field meet, winning titles in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and high jump, while Grantsville’s Gavin Eyre took home a championship in the Class 3A boys javelin competition.

Oblad, the Transcript Bulletin’s Female Athlete of the Year for the 2016-17 school year who set SHS records in the 200 (25.29 seconds) and 400 (56.14), as well as a personal-best mark of 5 feet, 9 inches in the high jump, was motivated by a disappointing finish in the 100-meter dash early in the state meet.

“So, my first event was the 100 and I took third in that,” Oblad told Community News Editor Peggy Bradfield. “I was really upset about it, so I think that kind of fueled the rest of my day.

“After that I ran the 400 and I PR’d. I ran a 56.14 —  and I took first in that. Then, I ran the 200,” she added. “I took first in that and I also got a school record, with 25.29. Then right between the 200 I was running from the high jump to the 200 to figure everything out. I went and did high jump and I [jumped a] 5-9 and I won that. That was also a PR.”

Eyre, who was named the Transcript Bulletin’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2016-17, won the javelin title by six feet with a mark of 181 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

For the second year in a row, Grantsville’s Maci Jackson walked away from the Class 3A state tennis tournament as a champion. One year after winning the second doubles title with teammate Marissa Linares, Jackson was dominant in capturing the third singles crown, losing just nine games in four state tournament matches. Her run through the tournament culminated in a 6-1, 6-1 win over Richfield’s Hayden Harris in the championship match at the Salt Lake Tennis and Health Club.

“I was a little bit scared because I played doubles last year, not singles,” Jackson said. “It also gave me confidence because I knew I could do it again. I was definitely scared at the beginning of the season, but I knew if I just worked at it all season long, I could do it.”

Jackson, a junior, hadn’t played singles before the 2017 season, according to Grantsville coach Stephen Thurgood. However, as she gained experience, she also gained confidence, which proved invaluable in her run to the state title.

“I had to keep my nerves under control,” Jackson said. “I knew if I just played every point and didn’t slip up, I could do it.”

Jackson will be back for another run at a state title in 2018, as will Oblad and Gustafson. Eyre graduated from Grantsville High in May 2017 and joined the football team at Southern Utah University.

Darren Vaughan
Darren Vaughan

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