It would have been an exciting race for the Transcript Bulletin Cup this spring.
All three schools — Grantsville, Stansbury and Tooele — had a case for claiming the prize that goes to the Tooele Valley’s top sports school. GHS and THS were state-title favorites on the softball diamond and SHS looked great in early-season soccer action. The track season would have no doubt added to the county’s state-championship stash.
Unfortunately for fans of local high-school sports, we won’t get to see that play out this year. And you can’t help but feel even worse for the student-athletes themselves, who lost an opportunity to compete alongside their friends this season, some of whom will never get that chance again.
It also made the always-difficult task of picking a winner for the Transcript Cup even tougher this year, with only two-thirds of the school year complete when COVID-19 brought everything to a standstill. But I still managed to find a way.
This year, the Transcript Bulletin goes to Stansbury High School after having gone to Grantsville each of the past two years. Before the Cowboys’ two-year reign at the top, the trophy had resided at SHS for eight straight years, dating back to when it was first awarded at the end of the 2009-10 school year. It was a tight battle, but the Stallions’ case was too strong to ignore.
During the fall, without Grantsville and Stansbury facing each other on the football field, nobody can say with 100% certainty which team was better. In fact, the only opponent the two teams had in common was Tooele, and even that isn’t a direct comparison considering the Cowboys squeaked past the Buffaloes on the road with a backup quarterback, and full-strength Stansbury routed THS at home. Maybe a slight edge goes to SHS if you put Grantsville in 4A and Stansbury in 3A — the Cowboys likely don’t get past Dixie in the 4A playoffs either, but you can make a case for the Stallions winning a 3A state title by beating Juab in the semis and Morgan in the title game based on depth alone.
They also didn’t meet on the soccer pitch, but Stansbury falling just a goal short of eventual state champion Ogden on the road in the Class 4A quarterfinals shows the Stallions belonged among the state’s elite. Grantsville, despite setting a school record for wins during the regular season, was knocked out early in the Class 3A tournament at home. Volleyball saw Stansbury finish fifth in Class 4A, and the Stallions brought home a team state title in boys cross country along with an individual state title for senior Carson Belnap. The Stallions also had a pair of top-20 finishers at the state golf tournament in Braydon Griffith and Peyton Thevenot.
Grantsville’s Brynlee Butler and Hallie Johnson won a doubles state title in tennis, and Porter Whitworth won his second state cross-country title in a row.
In the winter, Grantsville’s boys and girls basketball teams each finished in the top-five at state while Stansbury and Tooele did not, though Class 3A vs. Class 4A is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Grantsville clearly had the strongest girls basketball team in the county, having beaten both Stansbury and Tooele head-to-head. The boys from Stansbury and Tooele split their two meetings, and each beat Grantsville by double-digits. A slight edge goes to the Stallions over the Buffs for a better finish in Region 10, though both teams lost in the second round of the postseason.
Grantsville’s Hadlee Begay and Zane Thomas combined for three state swimming titles, though Tooele’s girls were Region 10 champions and finished seventh at state and Stansbury’s boys were second in Region 10. Tooele’s Aspen Grgich and Cade McEachern each medaled twice at state, as did Stansbury’s Caroline Wilson and Kally Morris. Tooele gets the edge in the pool, followed by Stansbury and Grantsville.
On the wrestling mat, Grantsville’s Joseph Mecham was the only grappler from the county to reach the championship round. Stansbury had four placers (Kaden Shin, Luis Mejia, Carsen Cooper and Braydon Allie) to Grantsville’s three (Mecham, Thomas Coates and Grant Rounds) and Tooele’s one (Parker Hansen). So, score another one for the Stallions.
Again, Grantsville might have closed the gap on Stansbury if the spring sports hadn’t gotten canceled, but SHS was also well on its way to a special soccer season and had just beaten GHS on the baseball diamond when things were halted. Tooele had a chance to make some noise as well and would have made it an interesting battle, considering the Buffs’ high-end talent on the track (hello, Makenna McCloy!) and a baseball team destined to take a giant step forward this spring.
But, based on the first six months of the school year, there was no question where the Transcript Bulletin Cup belongs.
Congratulations, Stansbury. The Cup is coming back.