[ {"id":"9bb0109c-6c59-5a5c-9a72-ce16547bf407","type":"article","starttime":"1548956700","starttime_iso8601":"2019-01-31T10:45:00-07:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"high-school":"sports/high-school"},{"baseball":"sports/high-school/baseball"},{"boys":"sports/high-school/basketball/boys"},{"girls":"sports/high-school/basketball/girls"},{"football":"sports/high-school/football"},{"boys":"sports/high-school/soccer/boys"},{"girls":"sports/high-school/soccer/girls"},{"softball":"sports/high-school/softball"},{"volleyball":"sports/high-school/volleyball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"UHSAA looks to improve state tournaments, announces use of rating percentage index for seeding in new alignment","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/article_9bb0109c-6c59-5a5c-9a72-ce16547bf407.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/uhsaa-looks-to-improve-state-tournaments-announces-use-of-rating/article_9bb0109c-6c59-5a5c-9a72-ce16547bf407.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/uhsaa-looks-to-improve-state-tournaments-announces-use-of-rating/article_9bb0109c-6c59-5a5c-9a72-ce16547bf407.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Jared Lloyd\nDaily Herald","prologue":"For as long as there have been high school sports, there have been debates about how to run state tournaments. Often one region is particularly good in one sport, while another league struggles. How to make things match up as fairly as possible for the playoffs is a challenge. In order to attempt to set things up so the top teams meet in the semifinals and the finals, the Utah High School Activities Association announced Thursday that it will go to using a ratings percentage index (RPI) to seed teams in some of its sports.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf","description":"The Lone Peak Knights celebrate winning the state championship.","byline":"Jim Ballard, Special to the Herald","hireswidth":5568,"hiresheight":3712,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/ea/ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf/5bde5ee34510e.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1763","height":"1175","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/ea/ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf/5bde5ee320f08.image.jpg?resize=1763%2C1175"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/ea/ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf/5bde5ee320f08.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/ea/ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf/5bde5ee320f08.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/ea/ceabfab4-f28f-59bc-971c-4c5bd583e3bf/5bde5ee320f08.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"9bb0109c-6c59-5a5c-9a72-ce16547bf407","body":"

For as long as there have been high school sports, there have been debates about how to run state tournaments.

Often one region is particularly good in one sport, while another league struggles. How to make things match up as fairly as possible for the playoffs is a challenge.

In order to attempt to set things up so the top teams meet in the semifinals and the finals, the Utah High School Activities Association announced Thursday that it will go to using a ratings percentage index (RPI) to seed teams in some of its sports.

The change will occur at the start of the 2019-20 season, coinciding with the implementation of the latest realignment.

The press release explained that the RPI will be run by MaxPreps and will factor in three categories:

Supporters of RPI usage often say it\u2019s a fairer way to recognize teams that compete against better opponents, while detractors say it takes too much away from actually winning games and instead relies on what other teams do.

Here is the complete press release from the UHSAA:

\u201cThe Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) will be determining seeds into state tournaments differently in the coming years for the traditional team sports of baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball.

\u201cIn a meeting on January 24, the UHSAA Board of Trustees ratified a unanimous UHSAA Executive Committee directive to move to a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) to seed state tournaments in the traditional team sports, while simultaneously inviting every program in team sports to the postseason. The new seeding tournament format will commence with the 2019-21 alignment, beginning in the Fall 2019 season for all six classifications.

\u201cThe RPI score will be operated by MaxPreps and will be based on three distinct categories \u2014 forty percent of the score will be based off a team\u2019s winning percentage, forty percent will be based off an opponent\u2019s winning percentage, and twenty percent will be based off an opponents\u2019 opponents\u2019 winning percentage. The algorithm will then create an index score that can be ranked to determine a state tournament field.

\u201cSeveral western states are currently utilizing an RPI system to seed state tournaments, including neighboring states like Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Washington.

\u201cRob Cuff, the Executive Director of the UHSAA, said the move to the RPI was decided upon after looking at options to more accurately seed state tournaments.

\u201c\u2019It has become a growing issue in the realignment of member schools to have the alignment process directly connected to the qualifying and seeding of state tournaments,\u2019 he said.

\u201cCross Country, tennis, track-and-field and wrestling will use a traditional region-qualifying format, while golf, drill and swimming will use different methods to qualify teams for state tournaments. Every tournament will be conducted similarly, with the potential addition of a round to allow for the increase in team participants.

\u201cCuff said the change in seeding teams into state tournaments will provide new opportunities to several programs around the state.

\u201c\u2019This new approach in qualifying and seeding will bring added excitement to state tournaments as teams earn seeding based on overall season performance and not just region competition,\u2019 he said.\u201d

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Here\u2019s a list of former Utah Valley area high school athletes who are competing at the collegiate level during the Winter 2019 season:

MEN\u2019S BASKETBALL

BYU (4)

Gavin Baxter, 6-9 Fr. F, Timpview

Nick Emery, 6-2 Jr. G, Lone Peak

T.J. Haws, 6-5 Jr. G, Lone Peak

Dalton Nixon, 6-7 Jr. F, Orem

UTAH VALLEY (3)

Conner Toolson 6-4 Sr. G, Lone Peak

Richard Harward 6-11 So. C, Orem

Spencer Johnson 6-5 Fr. G, American Fork

SOUTHERN UTAH (1)

Maizen Fausett 6-6 Fr. F, Westlake

DIXIE STATE (3)

Zach Frampton 6-3 So. G, Lone Peak

Matt Conway 6-7 Jr. F, Pleasant Grove

Riley Court 6-4 So. G, Pleasant Grove

SNOW COLLEGE (1)

Trevor Alder 6-3 So. G, Manti

UTAH STATE-EASTERN (5)

Tanner Nygren 6-3 Fr. G, Lehi

Blaze Nield 6-1 Fr. G, Lehi

Tyler Walker 6-6 Fr. F, Timpanogos

Anthony Condie 6-4 Fr. F, Westlake

Chase Berry 6-6 So. F, Skyridge

SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (2)

Asa McCord 6-6 Fr. F, Westlake

Hunter Schofield 6-8 So. F, Spanish Fork

NORTHWEST NAZARENE, IDAHO (1)

James Nelson, 6-6 Fr. G, Salem Hills

WESTMINSTER (4)

Daniel Quesenberry 6-6 Jr. F, Salem Hills

Chantry Ross, 5-11 Fr. G, Lone Peak

Jacob McCord 6-7 Sr. F, Westlake

Nate Dow, 6-6 Fr. F, Wasatch

UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, ORE. (1)

Kolton Mortenson, 6-7 Fr. F, Payson

WOMEN\u2019S BASKETBALL

BYU (3)

Sara Hamson, 6-7 So. C, Pleasant Grove

Malli Valgardson, 6-5 Fr. F, Pleasant Grove

Tahlia White, 6-0 Fr. F, Mountain View

UTAH STATE (1)

Taylor Franson 6-1 So. F, American Fork

WEBER STATE (1)

Liz Eaton, 5-10 So. G, Springville

SOUTHERN UTAH (2)

Ashley Larsen 6-0 Jr. G/F, American Fork

Hannah Robins 6-3 Fr. C, Juab

DIXIE STATE (1)

Maile Richardson 6-1 Sr. F, American Fork

SNOW COLLEGE (3)

Paige Farnsworth 5-9 So. G, American Fork

Sam Barnett 5-10 Fr. F, Lone Peak

Savannah Domgaard 6-0 So. F, Westlake

UTAH STATE-EASTERN (1)

Rylie Tobiasson 6-2 Fr. F, Spanish Fork

SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (3)

Maya Smith 5-7 So. G, Mountain View

Dixie Lainhart 5-9 Fr. G, Salem Hills

Lauren Gustin, 6-1 Fr. G, Salem Hills

COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO (1)

Nicole Heyn Suarez 5-11 So. G, Maple Mountain

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA (1)

Angel Tuisavura 5-6 Jr. G, Timpanogos

GYMNASTICS

BYU (6)

Abby Beeston, Fr., Skyridge

Shannon Hortman Evans, Jr., American Fork

Gabrielle Hubbard, So., Maple Mountain

Abbey Miner, So., Maple Mountain

Sadie Miner, Fr., Maple Mountain

Brittney Vitkauskas, Fr., American Fork

UTAH (3)

Hunter Dula, Fr., Timpanogos

Makenna Merrell-Giles, Sr., Pleasant Grove

Kim Tessen, Jr., Mountain View

UTAH STATE (1)

Annie Beck, So., Spanish Fork

SOUTHERN UTAH (4)

Autumn Jorgensen, Jr., Timpanogos

Madison McBride, Jr., Mountain View

Megan McBride, Jr., Mountain View

Stephanie Tervort, Fr., American Leadership

SWIMMING AND DIVING

BYU

MEN (3)

John Morris, Jr., Springville

Kimble Mahler, So., Lone Peak

Connor Anderson, So., Springville

WOMEN (2)

Makayla Cazier, Fr., Spanish Fork

Katie Smith, Jr., Lone Peak

WRESTLING

UVU (10)

Kimball Bastian, 174 Jr., Maple Mountain

Mitch Brown, 133 Sr., Payson

Jakob Discher, 157 Fr., Wasatch

Spencer Haywood, 157 Fr., Wasatch

Josh Jensen, 125 Sr., Payson

Landon Knutzen, 149 So., Maple Mountain

Grand LaMont, 157 Jr., Maple Mountain

Taylor LaMont, 133 So., Maple Mountain

Ashton Seely, 197 Fr., Juab

Koy Wilkinson, 165 So., Pleasant Grove

MEN\u2019S VOLLEYBALL

BYU (1)

Taylor Richards, Sr. Libero, Timpanogos

Note: Despite our best efforts, there are always athletes that we miss on our list. If you know of someone who wasn\u2019t mentioned, please email Jared Lloyd (jlloyd@heraldextra.com) and we will be sure to recognize them as well.

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Another year of high school sports in Utah Valley has been relegated to the record books, but for thousands of players, coaches and supporters, 2018 was a time for memories that will last forever.

Any of them would be able to come up with their own list of the moments that would be the most memorable for them.

Sometimes those were phenomenal team successes, other times they were individual achievements.

Here is a look at the Top 10 stories that had the biggest impact on Utah Valley prep sports in 2018:

1. Lone Peak wins

10 state titles It was very much the \u201cYear of the Knights\u201d in 2018 as Lone Peak won an amazing 10 of the 19 possible 6A sports state championships.

It started with a win in the state boys swimming competition in February, followed by an impressive run through the boys basketball tournament in March.

In the spring, the Knights won titles in girls golf, boys tennis and girls track and field \u2014 but the real success was in the fall as Lone Peak won the 6A competition in girls tennis, boys golf, girls soccer, volleyball and football.

2. State football finals feature four local teams

Nov. 16, 2018, was a day to remember for Lone Peak, American Fork, Skyridge and Orem as all four teams made it to the final day of the high school football season.

The Tigers came in with the biggest expectations, having completely dominated all of their 4A competition throughout the year. Led by talented players like Cooper Legas, Puka Nacua, Noah Sewell and a host of others, Orem won their second straight title.

Lone Peak\u2019s defense and special teams propelled the Knights as they avenged a disappointing regular season loss to American Fork to win the 6A crown, while Skyridge couldn\u2019t stay with undefeated Corner Canyon in the 5A title game.

3. Salem Hills sweeps 4A hoops titles

With cousins Lauren Gustin and James Nelson setting the pace for the Skyhawk boys and girls teams, the basketball squads headed into their 4A tournaments with big goals.

The Salem Hills girls team put together a sparking run, winning all four games by double-digits including defeating Hurricane, 57-35, in the championship.

It was slightly more challenging for the Skyhawk boys squad as it was pushed by Juan Diego in the finals before emerging with the 64-55 win.

4. Utah Valley shut out of baseball and softball titles

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the entire year was some disappointment on the diamond.

Utah Valley has long prided itself on elite-level baseball and softball, and regularly area teams have battled each other for the state championships of their respective classifications.

But 2018 was a year where other schools surged to the forefront. Only one area team \u2014 Spanish Fork, who lost to Bear River in Class 4A \u2014 reached the finals in either baseball and softball. Don\u2019t expect that to be the case in 2019.

5. Pleasant Grove regains wrestling dominance, emerges as soccer power

Since 2011, the Vikings have been the team to beat in wrestling in their classification. After losing in 2017, however, Pleasant Grove was on a mission to get back to the top. The Vikings achieved that goal in 2018, once again winning the title in the state\u2019s largest classification.

Pleasant Grove also came together on the soccer field, winning a dramatic penalty-kick shootout against Herriman in the 6A championship to get the school\u2019s first boys soccer title.

The Vikings has solid success in other sports as well as they were also second in 6A in boys basketball, volleyball and boys swimming and fourth in football.

6. Realignment puts almost all Utah Valley schools in three regions

After being spread out over three classifications and four regions (five in football), the realignment for 2019-21 that was announced in December puts Utah Valley high school sports in a much more geographically-friendly situation.

All area schools except the new Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain will be in either Class 6A\u2019s Region 4 (five local schools) or in Class 5A\u2019s Region 7 (five local schools) and Region 8 (seven local school).

Cedar Valley will be in Class 4A\u2019s Region 10, while Mountain View football will also play in Region 10. Many more old rivalries and local matchups will be big in determining league titles.

7. Area schools once again dominate cross country

It\u2019s hard to debate the assertion that cross country is where Utah Valley is the most dominant right now.

Look at the 6A girls competitions, where American Fork won the title with Lone Peak getting second, Westlake coming in third and Pleasant Grove capturing fifth place. The Caveman boys dominated their 6A competition with Lone Peak getting fifth.

In Class 5A, Springville won the girls race with Timpview second and Timpanogos sixth, while in the boys competition Skyridge was second, while Timpanogos, Springville and Timpview came in fourth, fifth and sixth.

And don\u2019t forget Lehi junior Anna Martin, who destroyed the girls course record when she won the 4A race in a time of 17:15.0.

8. Region 8 dominates boys track, Region 10 teams do well too

The running success also helped area teams enjoy success at the state track and field meet.

That was particularly evident in the 5A boys competition, as Springville held off Region 8 foes Skyridge (second), Wasatch (third) and Timpanogos (fifth) to get the state championship.

Although none of the Region 10 were quite strong enough to win in Class 4A, teams like Orem (second in boys, third in girls), Lehi (fourth in boys, fifth in girls), Mountain View (fourth in girls) and Spanish Fork (fifth in boys) had a strong showing.

9. Skyridge continues emerging as Class 5A force

Although the Falcons will move to Class 6A starting in fall of 2019, the school that opened in 2016 has already had a wide range of successes.

Skyridge was a strong competitor in Class 5A competition, winning state in volleyball, finishing second in football, boys track and boys cross country while getting third place in baseball. Jake Lambert and Seth Lambert won state in No. 1 doubles in 5A boys tennis.

They were also either first or second in Region 8 in boys basketball, girls basketball, boys soccer, boys golf and girls soccer, showing a consistent high level of performance across the board.

10. Shocking upsets eliminate elite teams in stunning fashion

The American Fork girls soccer had an eight-game winning streak and had only lost once heading into the 2018 6A girls soccer tournament, but Davis went on the road and stunned the Cavemen with two first-half goals and desperate defending down the stretch.

Other teams that ended up on the wrong end of surprising upsets in 2018 included the Timpview and Orem boys basketball teams, the Mountain View girls basketball team and the Spanish Fork baseball team.

Honorable mention

Cooper Legas of Orem won three titles (wrestling, javelin and football), giving him five straight seasons with a state championship; Provo\u2019s Meghan Hunter wins the Class 5A 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter races and also competes in Youth Olympic Games; Orem wins 4A boys tennis; American Fork wins 6A girls swimming; Springville\u2019s Grant Gardner wins 5A cross country title and 5A 1,600 meters in track and field; Westlake\u2019s Abby Jensen edges Lone Peak\u2019s Ali Bybee in 6A girls 1,600-meter thriller.

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Consider all the things Utah Valley high school athletes have to deal with:

Games, practice, travel, club teams, school, social life, technology, family, community and religious responsibilities, etc.

With those types of demands on their time, perhaps one of the greatest things they could get for the holiday weekend was a break.

Hopefully they enjoyed it.

But all too soon it will be back to work as they strive to be as successful as possible in their chosen sports.

They have big goals, big plans, big dreams. Visions of wins and titles and scholarships and \u2014 for some \u2014 pro careers are still vibrant.

But is what they think they want what they really want?

With Christmas having come today, it\u2019s likely that many athletes have new equipment and new apparel.

But here is a list of the most important things that they should be getting as a high school athlete:

Hope

Sports are one of the greatest ways to learn the value of hope, since every effort is an example of it. Practices, workouts, repetitions, every action is about hoping for something good to happen.

One of the best things all athletes can take from that is that when they put in the effort, they have the right to hope for good results. Just like in sports, it isn\u2019t guaranteed \u2014 but it\u2019s just a reason to work harder and hope again.

Teamwork

Even in sports like golf and wrestling where the action is dependent on the individual, there is nothing like understanding the value of a team.

Throughout all aspects of life, the capability to step into a group and coordinate various talents and skillsets is tremendously valuable. Those who grasp it through high school sports have a big advantage.

Discipline

Life is full of distractions. Those who want to achieve have to understand that and lock in on what is truly important for them.

For many athletes, they understand that they need to work hard to improve if they want to be at their best. They sacrifice other things that aren\u2019t as important to gain that.

It is a great gift to know how to give up something good to get something better.

Discernment

All athletes know at some level that there are things that aren\u2019t in their control, things like the weather, the officiating, coaching decisions, observer reactions and opponent strategy.

The best approach is learning to control what you can control instead of getting caught up in things that you can\u2019t control. The most successful athletes come to realize this and turn it into an advantage.

Enjoying the moment

Whether it\u2019s a monumental win or a disappointing loss, time moves on. The agonies and ecstasies pass, sometimes in a surprisingly short period.

That\u2019s why athletes have to savor the journey. Winning or losing is the potential result but the journey \u2014 playing the game \u2014 has the greatest value.

Love

This is the greatest lesson of all in high school sports. This isn\u2019t referring to romantic love; it is all about human love.

Athletes rely on each other, rely on their coaches, rely on their trainers and medical professionals. In that reliance is constructed the seeds of human connection.

When they work together, when they cheer each other on, when they push each other to be better, when they spend the time to improve physically, mentally and emotionally, that is when they show the love that they have for each other.

At their deepest level, the holidays are all about love. It is a time to treasure those who are the most important.

Hopefully all athletes realize and treasure the value of love they share with teammates, mentors and supporters.

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A number of area high school athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday, cementing their decisions and officially opening doors for opportunities to compete at the collegiate level.

Here is the updated list of the Utah Valley athletes who signed:

American Fork

Isaac Johnson (Men\u2019s basketball, Oregon)

Jamie Shepherd (Women\u2019s soccer, BYU)

Trey Stewart (Men\u2019s basketball, UVU)

Sydney Bushman (Women\u2019s soccer, Snow College)

Sophie Stewart (Women\u2019s soccer, Dixie State)

Lehi

Aspen Moore (Women\u2019s soccer)

Nia Trejo (Women\u2019s soccer)

Savanah Heaton (Softball)

Maddie Lindsay (Volleyball)

Lydia Montague (Volleyball)

Maple Mountain

Anna Pickering (Women\u2019s soccer, Utah)

Madi Frischknecht (Women\u2019s soccer, Snow College)

Kendall Tormey (Women\u2019s soccer, Snow College)

Ciena Woods (Women\u2019s soccer, Snow College)

Brynlie Ivie (Women\u2019s soccer, Dixie State)

Tennessee Schellenberg (Women\u2019s soccer, UVU)

Orem

Chelsea Peterson (Women\u2019s soccer, Utah)

Mallory Ringer (Women\u2019s soccer, Snow College)

Caroline Clark (Volleyball, Weber State)

Payson

Meme Jensen (Volleyball, USU Eastern)

Pleasant Grove

Brock Watkins (Baseball, BYU)

Provo

Lavender Briggs (Women\u2019s basketball, Florida)

Meghan Hunter (Track, BYU)

Ally Gomm (Track, Utah)

Skyridge

Carter Smith (Baseball, BYU)

Ciarra Valdez (Women's soccer, Gillette)

Jaycie Greene\u00a0(Women's soccer, Gillette)

Shyley Hunter\u00a0(Women's soccer, Gillette)

Sydney Roberts\u00a0(Women's soccer, Dixie State)

Katelyn Standifird (Volleyball, Weber State)

Kennadee Christensen\u00a0(Volleyball, SLCC)

Abby Meck (Track, UVU)

Calli Adamson\u00a0(Track, UVU)

Josh Taylor\u00a0(Track, BYU)

Spanish Fork

Mason Nielsen (Baseball, CSI)

Taye Newman (Baseball, CSI)

Andrew Pintar (Baseball, BYU)

Cy Nielsen (Baseball, BYU)

Lindsay Smith (Softball, Snow College)

Marae Condie (Softball, Snow College)

Briley Young (Softball, Snow College)

Brylee Rudd (Softball, Dixie State)

Springville

Gabrielle Jensen (Women\u2019s soccer, Dixie State)

Saane Mavae (Volleyball, USU Eastern)

Sunny Perry (Volleyball, USU Eastern)

Timpanogos

Samantha Brady (Women\u2019s soccer, Minnesota)

Megan Unbedacht (Women\u2019s soccer, UVU)

Timpview

Josh Pearce (Men\u2019s tennis, BYU)

Shay Fano (Women\u2019s basketball, Southern Utah)

Ella Pope (Women\u2019s basketball, University of Ohio)

Kathryn Wynn (Women\u2019s soccer, Utah)

Nate Hansen (Men\u2019s basketball, BYU

Westlake

Karlee Willey (Girls soccer, University of Texas at San Antonio)

Deanna Roark (Girls soccer, Southwest Minnesota State)

Sage Bearnson (Volleyball, Central Wyoming)

Abbey Jensen (Cross country, Utah State)

Note: If you know of any other local prep athlete who has signed a letter of intent this week, please email Jared Lloyd at jlloyd@heraldextra.com so this list can be as complete as possible.

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Skyridge volleyball coach Deanna Meyer calls her senior setter, Kaitlyn Standifird, \u201ca trailblazer.\u201d

Standifird wasn\u2019t afraid of the challenge of coming to a brand-new school and helping to build a volleyball program. She wasn\u2019t afraid to take on the responsibility of being the setter for this new school, directing the offense and learning to lead by more than example. She wasn\u2019t afraid of making the big play and relying on her teammates when it mattered.

In a storybook ending on Nov. 3 at the UCCU Center, the Falcons topped Springville 3-1 to win the first-ever state championship for Skyridge, which opened its doors in 2016.

For her efforts, Standifird has been named the Daily Herald\u2019s 2018 All-Valley Volleyball Player of the Year.

\u201cA setter has to be kind of selfless,\u201d Meyer said. \u201cIt\u2019s easy to spotlight a hitter. They put the finishing touch on what happens. But it\u2019s the setter who\u2019s dishing these balls to the hitters and sometimes they get overlooked. To see Kate get recognized is awesome. She works hard to be a good friend, to be good in school, to be respectful to her teachers, who love her. She\u2019s the All-American girl.\u201d

When Standifird was younger she played softball and basketball but when she was 13 years old her next-door-neighbor convinced her to play rec league volleyball. That friend was Tylee Fuller, one of four seniors on this year\u2019s Skyridge team and the Falcons\u2019 libero.

Standifird played her freshman season for Lehi High School, though she was attending Lehi Junior High. When Skyridge opened, she jumped at the chance to attend a new school \u2014 to be a trailblazer.

\u201cIt was such a cool, new experience,\u201d Standifird said. \u201cNo one had ever been there. Everything was new.\u201d

The Falcons lost to eventual state champion Bountiful in the 2016 state quarterfinals and then to eventual state champion Box Elder in the 2017 quarterfinals. Those two disappointments helped the team learn to focus on the present and not look past anyone.

Skyridge got its chance for revenge in this year\u2019s 5A semifinals, rolling past top-ranked Box Elder 3-1 to advance to the championship match. The opponent there, Springville, was familiar because the Falcons had swept the Red Devils twice during Region 8 play. Springville was on a roll and won the first set in the championship match, but Skyridge won the next three to claim the state title.

Standifird, who had 22 digs in both the semifinals and finals, was an inspiration to her teammates when she dove into the bench area and bruised her chin trying to save a ball. The Falcons got their offensive groove back and during a timeout in the final set Standifird said to her teammates, \u201cYou guys are doing awesome. I don\u2019t even have to think about where I set it, someone is going to put the ball away.\u201d

That confidence continued until the final point and Skyridge could finally celebrate the state title.

\u201cWhen she was a sophomore, she had such a high level of intensity other kids her age couldn\u2019t understand that,\u201d Meyer said. \u201cShe had to learn how to be a good communicator and how to relate to her teammates. Kate makes everyone around her better, that\u2019s her gift.\u201d

As a senior, Standifird finished with 766 assists (9.5 per set), 291 digs, 53 blocks, 61 aces and 89 kills in an impressive all-around performance for a setter. She totaled 2,051 ball handling chances and committed just 19 errors.

Winning the state championship with fellow seniors Fuller, Kenadee Christensen and Alice Ellsworth was just icing on the cake.

\u201cIt was so much fun,\u201d Standifird said. \u201cI wouldn\u2019t have wanted to win it with any other group of girls. I\u2019d grown up with all of them and they are my best friends. It\u2019s so unreal to share it with my best friends. Everyone put everything they had into it and it paid off in the end.\u201d

Standifird will play next year at Weber State, beginning a whole new trail to blaze.

\u201cThat program is definitely changing and I want to be a part of that,\u201d Standifird said. \u201cI want to play a part in making that program better and helping them reach their goals. I\u2019d rather go to smaller school and make a big difference than go to a big school and hardly play at all. I want to be a part of potentially leading Weber State to bigger and better things.\u201d

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Player of the Year

Kaitlyn Standifird

Sr. S, Skyridge

Standifird was the anchor for the Falcons, which won the school\u2019s first-ever state championship. Standifird finished the season with 766 assists (9.5 assists per set), 291 digs, 53 blocks, 61 aces and 89 kills. Out of 2,051 ball handling chances, Standifird only committed 19 errors. In the semifinals and finals of the 5A tournament she not only directed the Skyridge offense but logged 22 digs in each match. She\u2019ll take her talents to Weber State next season.

Offensive MVP Tasia Farmer

Sr. OH, Lone Peak

Farmer was by far the best offensive player in the valley. She ended up with 510 kills (5.4 per set) and hit .362. She added 60 aces, 42 blocks and 307 digs for the Knights, which won their third straight state title. Farmer was at her best down the stretch, posting 24 kills in the semifinal win against Copper Hills and 18 in the championship match. Her college career will begin at UC Santa Barbara next year.

Defensive MVP Hikialani Kaohelaulii

Sr. L, Lone Peak

It\u2019s no secret that Lone Peak\u2019s lethal offense begins with an excellent pass, and Kaohelaulii \u2013 known as \u201cKey\u201d to her teammates \u2013 is usually the player who provides it. This season she had 605 digs (6.4 per set and 18.9 per match) along with 23 aces. In her career, Kaohelaulii has more than 1,100 digs.

Coach of the Year Deanna Meyer, Skyridge

Already an ultra-successful coach at Lone Peak, Meyer opted to move north to Skyridge when the school opened in 2016. It took just three seasons for Meyer to guide the Falcons to a state championship. This year, Skyridge posted a 24-5 record and defeated Farmington, Murray, top-ranked Box Elder and Springville to claim the 5A title.

All-Valley Team

Rachel Bingham, Sr. OH, Timpanogos

Timpanogos finished second in Region 8 and won its first state tournament match since 2004. Bingham\u2019s steady play was a big part of that. She finished the year with 251 kills, hitting .268 with 48 aces and 180 digs.

Bryton Bishop, Jr. OH, Pleasant Grove

Bishop may only be 5-foot-8 but she plays much bigger for the Vikings. She had 240 kills (2.8 per set) and hit .203 with 38 aces and a team-leading 329 digs.

Kennedi Boyd, Sr. MB, Lone Peak

Boyd knocked down 250 kills (2.7 per set) and hit .465 with adding 18 aces, 139 total blocks and 77 digs for the Knights.

Kenadee Christensen Sr. OH, Skyridge

Christensen had a big championship match against Springville (18 kills) and that capped off a great season where she had 237 kills (2.9 per set) while hitting .230. She added 44 aces and 196 digs.

Hailey Cuff, Sr. OH, Salem Hills

Cuff was the Region 10 MVP and led the Skyhawks to a fourth-place finish at state. She had 406 kills, a .318 hitting percentage and 39 aces this season.

Tori Dorius, Sr. OH, Wasatch

At 6-foot-2, Dorius was powerful force for the Wasps with 221 kills (2.9 per set) while hitting .238. She also had 30 aces, 59 blocks and 170 digs.

Tylee Fuller, Sr. L, Skyridge

Every championship team needs a good libero, and Fuller was often spectacular. She ended up with 403 digs (5.0 per set) and contributed 40 aces as well.

Chelsee Greenwood Jr. OH, Skyridge

Greenwood had a terrific season with 235 kills, (2.9 per set) and added 56 aces and 240 digs.

Gabi Haws, Jr. S, Lone Peak

In her first year as the starting setter Haws found a way to distribute the ball effectively and keep the Lone Peak offense humming. She ended up with 922 assists (9.8 per set) and added 191 digs and 27 aces.

Maddie Lindsey, Sr. MB, Lehi

Lindsey, who will attend the University of Hartford on a volleyball scholarship, helped the Pioneers to a third-place finish in the Class 4A tournament. She had 270 kills (3.8 per set) and hit .280 with 50 aces and 202 digs.

Saane Mavae Sr. S, Springville

Mavae kept the Springville offense in sync and stepped up her game during the team\u2019s state tournament run. She totaled 548 assists, 42 kills, 39 aces, 175 digs and 19 blocks.

Abigail Miller, Jr. S, Pleasant Grove

Another first-year starter shined just as brightly for the Vikings. Miller had 760 assists (8.7 per set) with 184 digs, 47 aces and 101 kills while hitting .435.

Lydia Montague, Sr. OH, Lehi

Montague was a great 1-2 punch with Lindsey. She finished with 215 kills (3.0 per set) while hitting .369. She added 69 blocks and will play next year at Snow College.

Sunny Perry, Sr. RS, Springville

Perry had a strong performance in the Red Devils run to the state finals and was solid all season with 169 kills, 24 blocks, 27 aces and 151 digs.

Korrin Thornock, Sr. OH, Spanish Fork

Thornock helped Spanish Fork to a tie for second in Region 10 and the Dons also took fifth place at state. She hit .405 this season with 119 digs and 25 service aces.

Honorable Mention Lone Peak: Carli Bernston, Rae Montrose, Lauren Smith, Grace Evans, Emma Ricks; Pleasant Grove: Mia Peterson, Lauren Jardine, Chloie Brinton, Sydney Valgardson, Heather Hamson Skyridge: Annie Taylor, Kjersti Strong, Alice Ellsworth; Springville: Kallysta Strong, Sage Loveland, Evie Hopkinson; Wasatch: Mary Moyle, Sidney Ostergaard, Jennifer Lythgoe; Lehi: Avery Shewell, Eliza Gibson, Marissa Page, Bailee Holland; Orem: Caroline Clark, Rylee Merrill, Hailey Robins; American Fork: Abbigail Poulton, Emersyn Larsen, Hannah Smith, Elle Vincent; Payson: Anna Staheli, Meme Jensen; Timpview: Teisa Kalaniuvalu, Ilamarie Tu\u2019ua; Timpanogos: Katy Vance, Zoe Pedersen, Kambry Jorgensen; Westlake: Sage Bearnson; Salem Hills: Whitnee Reid, Ryen Bradshaw; Maple Mountain: Sydney Liggett, Paige Cullum, Alice Call, Crystal Knutson; Spanish Fork: Meline Robarge, Emma Argyle, Marae Condie; Mountain View: Mia Wesley, Sami Suguturaga,; Provo: No names submitted.

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Tasia Farmer

Senior outside hitter

Lone Peak

Elite players have elite performances at elite moments and that is exactly what Tasia Farmer did in Saturday's 6A state volleyball championship at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Farmer was a machine on offense, putting down 18 kills as the Knights swept past Region 4 rival Pleasant Grove to win their third straight state championship.

Farmer had an incredible year for Lone Peak all season long and is certain to garner numerous postseason awards for her accomplishments.

Stone Mulitalo

Sophomore defensive lineman

Skyridge

Things certainly weren't going according to plan for the Skyridge football team in its 5A quarterfinal home matchup against Jordan. The Beetdiggers had surged out to a 21-0 lead and although the Falcons got in the end zone to narrow the gap, they still needed a big momentum play.

Stone Mulitalo provided that on the next Jordan drive as he won the race to a Beetdigger fumble, then rumbled 38 yards to make it a one-score game.

Skyridge rode the momentum to score 51 more points while Mulitalo's defense only let Jordan put 13 points on the board the rest of the way as the Falcons earned a return trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 4A state semifinals this Friday.

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Before the fourth set of Saturday\u2019s Class 5A volleyball championship match, the boisterous, orange-clad Skyridge student section at the UCCU Center began to chant, \u201cOne more set! One more set!\u201d

Got to keep the home fans happy, right?

The Falcons stormed through the fourth set, competing a comeback from a first-set loss to defeat Springville 3-1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-10) and raised the school\u2019s first state championship trophy in any team sport.

\u201cWe started off really frantic,\u201d Skyridge senior setter Kaitlyn Standifird said. \u201cOur nerves were on edge. We\u2019d never been in this state championship situation before. We calmed down and looked to each other. Our chemistry was there. The fact that we came in here and this is the first time this has ever been done in school history, it\u2019s so cool and such an amazing feeling to have.\u201d

Skyridge (24-5) was heavily favored coming into the championship match, having swept Springville twice during the Region 8 season. The Red Devils, who had knocked off fifth-ranked Bountiful, fourth-ranked West and third-ranked Corner Canyon during their magical state tournament run, won the first set 25-19 and had three set points to close out Set 2. But Skyridge got big kills from Annie Taylor and Kenadee Christensen and forced a pair of Springville hitting errors for a 26-24 win to even the match.

\u201cI told them to just be brave and go for it,\u201d Skyridge coach Deanna Meyer said. \u201cThis was their opportunity and we have to learn from these things. Life is about risk and life is about being successful when the opportunity comes. This was their moment and this was their time. They needed to take it.\u201d

The Falcons led most of Set 3, but Springville made them work for it. Leading 22-20, Christensen scored and the Skyridge block showed up with Standifird and Kjersti Strong blocking the next two Red Devils swings for a 25-20 win.

Christensen stayed hot on offense in Set 4 and Skyridge jumped out to an 11-3 lead when Standifird scored on a dump attack. Then, the end became inevitable as the Falcons started to realize they were near their goal. The past two seasons, Skyridge lost to the eventual state champions (Bountiful and Box Elder). This time, the Falcons wouldn\u2019t be denied.

\u201cI told them at the last of that match, right now you are making history because you\u2019re going out, creating the situation and finishing your story,\u201d Meyer said. \u201cGo out there and take it because nobody can take this away from you. You\u2019ll be telling your grandkids about this night.\u201d

The final Springville attack was blocked to the floor for a 25-10 Skyridge win and the celebration started on the Falcons sideline.

\u201cWe finally got in our rhythm as a team,\u201d said Christensen, who led Skyridge with 18 kills. \u201cThat really changed the game because once we get in our rhythm, we can\u2019t be stopped.\u201d

Skyridge lost the opening set in its 5A semifinal to No. 1 ranked and defending state champion Box Elder but powered through the next three to hold off the Bees. In the critical fourth set, a huge ace from Chelsee Greenwood got the Falcons to 23-21. Skyridge went to Christensen for the final two points and a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22) victory to advance to the final.

Saturday was the first state championship for Skyridge but the sixth for Meyer, who won five titles at Lone Peak.

Springville \u2014 attempting to win its first state championship since 1990 \u2014 earned a surprising 3-1 win against Corner Canyon in the other semifinal, claiming the first two sets behind a scrappy defensive effort led by libero Sage Loveland and setter Saane Mavae. The Red Devils got big swings and serving from Kallysta Strong against the Chargers as well. Strong\u2019s ace put Springville on the right path for a 26-24 win the opener. The Red Devils dominated in Set 2 but Corner Canyon rallied and closed hard in Set 3 for the victory. In the fourth set, Springville led 19-18 and finished strong. A roll shot from Sunny Perry set score at match point and a Chargers hitting error was the final margin in a 3-1 (26-24, 25-13, 20-25, 25-22) win.

Perry led Springville with 15 kills in the championship match in a great tournament showing from Region 8\u2019s third-place team.

\u201cHonestly, the girls just played their guts out,\u201d second-year Springville coach Elle Williams said. \u201cWe prepped like crazy for Bountiful because they were our first opponent, and that effort has carried over. We\u2019ve been so solid in every way. We\u2019ve had a rough year as far as emotions go but the girls have been able to figure it out.\u201d

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The experience and talent of the Lone Peak volleyball team was on full display Saturday in the Class 6A state championship match.

The result was a three-peat.

The Knights claimed their third straight large-school state title with an impressive sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-17) of Pleasant Grove at the UCCU Center.

It was also the third year the two teams had met in the finals. The last two championships went five sets, but Lone Peak left no doubt in this one and was in control from the start.

\u201cThis is amazing,\u201d said senior Tasia Farmer, who led the Knights with 18 kills. \u201cI feel like this is exactly what we deserve and exactly what we worked for every single day in the gym. Blood, sweat and tears, we just put it all out there. We really earned it.\u201d

Lone Peak (26-6) jumped out to a 9-2 lead in Set 1 and cruised to a 25-15 victory against the young Vikings, who start just one senior. Pleasant Grove responded in Set 2, taking a 14-8 lead with a five-point run punctuated with a big kill from Bryton Bishop. Lone Peak rallied to tie the set at 18-all, but the Vikings scored three straight, taking a 21-18 lead on a solo block from Heather Hamson. The Knights powered through the end of the set, getting a service ace from libero Hikialani Kaohelaulii and kills from Kennedi Boyd and Lauren Smith. A net violation on PG gave Lone Peak a 25-22 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

\u201cWe felt like if we could just maintain our level of play the whole time and execute the way we planned to execute, we could control the match and the rhythm,\u201d Lone Peak coach Reed Carlson said. \u201cPG is a great volleyball team and they\u2019ve proven that year after year. They had younger players and we felt like we could kind of put the pressure on them, force them to make the plays and let ourselves be in that flow state, we\u2019d be fine. That\u2019s kind of what happened.\u201d

The Knights rushed out to a 10-1 lead in Set 3 after consecutive kills from Farmer and later made it 19-5 during a stretch where Boyd contributed two blocks and two kills. Eventually, Farmer finished the sweep with a kill at match point to touch off another big celebration for Lone Peak.

\u201cOh, my gosh, Gabi (Haws) set the most beautiful match,\u201d Carlson said. \u201cThat\u2019s like her coming out party right there. Tasia and Ken (Boyd) can take over matches and there are points where they had to, but at the end of the day, Gabi (30 assists) mixed the ball around.

\u201cWe spend a lot of time talking about why we play this game as a team. We\u2019re here because we love the game, we love our teammates, we love our school and we love our family. That\u2019s what came out tonight, the most beautiful group of kids showing how much they love the sport of volleyball.\u201d

Pleasant Grove and Bingham had split two Region 4 matches earlier in the season, but the Vikings rolled to a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-20, 25-22) in one of the 6A semifinals earlier in the day. PG went on a 9-1 run in Set 1 with Abigail Miller dumping over the winning kill. In Set 2, a kill from Sydney Valgardson and a service ace from Jade Horsley at set point allowed the Vikings to hold off the Miners. Big kills down the stretch from Hamson and Bishop pushed PG to the win in Set 3 for the sweep.

Lone Peak had a much more difficult semifinal against No. 5 Copper Hills. The Knights won the first two sets handily, but the Grizzlies recovered from an 18-10 deficit to close on a 16-6 run and won Set 3 to force a fourth set. A combo block from Haws and Rae Montrose got Lone Peak to match point and Farmer\u2019s kill ended it for a 3-1 (25-16, 25-17, 24-26, 25-19) win.

Lone Peak won all four matchups with Pleasant Grove during the regular season and has now won 10 of the past 11 meetings.

The Knights also claimed their eighth state championship, one more than the Vikings. Farmer, Boyd and Kaohelaulii \u2014 who had 23 digs in the title match \u2014 all started for the past three title teams.

Pleasant Grove has advanced to the large-school state championship match in seven straight seasons (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 in 5A, 2017 and 2018 in 6A). The Vikings (28-10) will return most of its lineup next season, including sophomore outside hitter Mia Peterson, who had six kills in the championship match.

\u201cFor sure, we\u2019re motivated to get back,\u201d Peterson said. \u201cWe\u2019re really excited to get back in the gym and work hard. We\u2019ll get back by believing in ourselves, having lots of confidence and just knowing we can get there.\u201d

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Only one team in each classification will achieve that dream, of course, but many others have another method to show they possess the heart of a champion. 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Every team comes into the state volleyball tournament hoping to make a big run, maybe even get all the way to the top.

Only one team in each classification will achieve that dream, of course, but many others have another method to show they possess the heart of a champion.

It\u2019s always a test of character when a team gets knocked down and has to get up again.

Both the Timpview and American Fork volleyball teams proved themselves in Friday\u2019s consolation rounds of the 5A and 6A state tournaments at the UCCU Center in Orem, marching through to earn sixth place in their respective divisions.

The Thunderbirds \u2014 the No. 3 seed from Region 7 \u2014 lost their opening round match in the 5A competition on Thursday, 3-1, but came back that evening to beat Wasatch, 3-1 (25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 25-19).

They then maintained their momentum with a 3-0 sweep Friday morning over Farmington (25-17, 25-17, 29-27), setting up a showdown with Woods Cross in the sixth/eighth place match.

The two teams each put it all out there on the court in a back-and-forth struggle.

The Wildcats struck first and won the opening frame, but Timpview rallied to take the next two sets to seize control. When Woods Cross rolled in Set No. 4, it set up a winner-take-all fifth set.

It wasn\u2019t easy for either side, but eventually the Thunderbirds put away the match, 15-12, to get the sixth-place finish, 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 25-17, 15-25, 15-12).

American Fork \u2014 the No. 4 seed from Region 4 \u2014 followed a similar course in the 6A ranks after losing to Copper Hills, 3-1, in the first round on Thursday.

The Cavemen rallied to sweep Hillcrest on Thursday afternoon, 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-10), then kept winning on Friday in the consolation rounds.

First, American Fork took out West Jordan, 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-11, 29-27), then faced Herriman in the sixth/eighth place match.

The Cavemen did lose the second frame, but controlled the other three as they pulled away to get the 3-1 win (25-14, 27-29, 25-9, 25-17) to secure their sixth-place position.

Timpanogos also played on Friday, battling a determined West team that won Region 6 for the right to play in the fifth/seventh place game. The Timberwolves pushed the Panthers but ended up falling, 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18) to end their tournament run.

Four local teams \u2014 Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove, Skyridge and Springville \u2014 will compete in the 5A and 6A state semifinals Saturday morning at the UCCU Center in Orem starting at 10 a.m.

The winners will play in the state title game at 4 p.m. (6A) or 6:30 p.m. (5A), while the teams that lose will be in the third/fourth place games at 1:30 p.m.

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For two straight years, the Skyridge volleyball team found itself facing an elite opponent in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

In 2016, the Falcons lost to Bountiful while in 2017 it was Box Elder who knocked out Skyridge. Both of those teams went on to win the state title that season.

After the Falcons swept Farmington (25-7, 25-22, 25-14) in the first round of the 2018 state tournament Thursday afternoon at the UCCU Center in Orem, they entered the next match that evening taking on history as well as Murray.

And this time they were ready.

\u201cWe came in really strong,\u201d Skyridge senior libero Tylee Fuller said. \u201cWe had to get tough this round. Our goal is to take it one game at a time, like each was the most important one we had ever played.\u201d

The Region 8 champs didn\u2019t leave this one up to chance, breaking the curse by dominating the Spartans, 3-0 (25-12, 25-7, 25-12).

\u201cIt felt really good,\u201d Fuller said. \u201cWe came in after a hard week of practice and it felt great to perform at the level we performed at.\u201d

Falcon head coach Deanna Meyer said the key was to stay in the moment.

\u201cWhat we are trying to focus on is going as hard as we can all the time,\u201d she said. \u201cWhether we have had a mistake or a great play, it\u2019s on to the next ball. We take it a game at a time but we wanted to get past the second round. We wanted to prove we are a good team, a good program that is capable of playing at the highest level.\u201d

Skyridge appears to be putting all the pieces together at the right time.

\u201cWe are definitely reaching where we want to be,\u201d Fuller said. \u201cWe have stuff that we are going to work on tomorrow to be ready for Saturday but everyone has bought in. We will be ready to go.\u201d

Meyer said one of the things she likes about the new format \u2014 have a day between the first two rounds and the final two matches \u2014 is that the girls can savor their success.

\u201cThis gives us a chance to enjoy the moment,\u201d she said. \u201cWe played well today and right now the girls can enjoy what they did and where we are at now. We will talk about Saturday tomorrow.\u201d

The Falcons have a big task in front of them as they will play against the Bees, the defending 5A champs.

\u201cWe have got to stay in the moment,\u201d Fuller said. \u201cWe can\u2019t be thinking about what the other team is doing. We have to focus on ourselves.\u201d

Skyridge will take on Box Elder in the 5A semifinals at 11:30 a.m. at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Region 8 will have another representative in the other semifinal \u2014 and this one was much more unexpected.

Springville came in without fanfare as the No. 3 seed but played some of its best volleyball of the season as the Red Devils beat Bountiful, 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17) in the first round.

But that wasn\u2019t enough for a determined Springville team that wasn\u2019t ready to be done. The Red Devils went on to upset the Region 6 champs from West, 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23) to also prepare the semifinals.

\u201cThey played so well, better than I\u2019ve ever seen them play,\u201d Springville head coach Elle Williams said. \u201cWe were really excited coming in and the girls worked their butts off. They showed their true character today.\u201d

One of the big keys for the Red Devils was playing scrappy defense, led by sophomore libero Sage Loveland.

\u201cA big part of the team effort was to get balls up and get them to the hitters to put them away,\u201d Loveland said.

Springville had to fight through a couple of close sets, including the fourth, but managed to pull it out.

\u201cIt was full-blown emotion when we got the last point,\u201d Loveland said. \u201cEveryone was breaking down crying because we\u2019ve been through so much. We were third in region and now we are guaranteed to be at least fourth in the entire state. It\u2019s so amazing. I just love all of these girls.\u201d

Williams said that her girls head into Saturday\u2019s semifinal round \u2014 also scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. \u2014 against Corner Canyon without any pressure.

\u201cI don\u2019t even know the last time Springville was in this position,\u201d she said. \u201cWe can just go play and have fun. We will make it as far as we do but I know my girls are going to come play their guts out.\u201d

If the Falcons and or Red Devils win, they will play in the state title game at 6:30 p.m. while a loss would put them in the third/fourth place game at 1:30 p.m.

One other Region 8 teams won a first round match as Timpanogos \u2014 the No. 2 seed \u2014 defeated Woods Cross, 3-2 (20-25, 27-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-8) before falling to Corner Canyon, 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-20).

The Timberwolves will join Timpview in Friday\u2019s consolation action.

The Thunderbirds lost to Skyline in the first round, 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18) but then beat Wasatch, 3-1, in the first consolation match.

Timpview plays at 9 a.m. while Timpanogos plays at 10:30 a.m. at the UCCU Center in Orem.

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So far, the Knights\u2019 Gabi Haws and the Vikings\u2019 Abigail Miller are helping their respective teams into their usual position at the top of the 6A State Volleyball Tournament. Both Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove cruised through the first two rounds on Thursday at Utah Valley\u2019s UCCU Center, sweeping their way to Saturday\u2019s semifinals. The Knights \u2014 the favorite to win their third straight state title \u2014 took care of West Jordan (25-11, 25-10, 25-15) and Northridge (25-13, 25-9, 25-14) while Pleasant Grove didn\u2019t drop a set in sweeping Riverton (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) and Weber (25-21, 25-20, 25-18) on the other side of the bracket.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["6a volleyball tournament","uccu center","semifinal","sport","volleyball","lone peak","miller","viking","team","hill","gabi haws"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{"label":"Prep Volleyball","":""},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd","description":"Lone Peak senior middle blocker Kennedi Boyd (right) and junior setter Gabi Haws go up for a block during the first round of the 6A state volleyball tournament at the UCCU Center in Orem on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.","byline":"Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald","hireswidth":2945,"hiresheight":2227,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/66/0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd/5bdb884b14de5.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1655","height":"1251","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/66/0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd/5bdb884a9f0a4.image.jpg?resize=1655%2C1251"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"76","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/66/0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd/5bdb884a9f0a4.image.jpg?resize=100%2C76"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"227","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/66/0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd/5bdb884a9f0a4.image.jpg?resize=300%2C227"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"774","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/66/0669bfe5-da1d-5772-bfe7-b047903e32fd/5bdb884a9f0a4.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C774"}}},{"id":"0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc","description":"Pleasant Grove junior outside hitter Bryton Bishop prepares to serve during the first round of the 6A state volleyball tournament at the UCCU Center in Orem on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.","byline":"Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald","hireswidth":3922,"hiresheight":2792,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/bd/0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc/5bdb88508808c.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1706","height":"1214","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/bd/0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc/5bdb884f58cd7.image.jpg?resize=1706%2C1214"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/bd/0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc/5bdb884f58cd7.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"213","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/bd/0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc/5bdb884f58cd7.image.jpg?resize=300%2C213"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"729","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/bd/0bdf2b75-75e4-58d8-8624-123aee59cecc/5bdb884f58cd7.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C729"}}}],"revision":10,"commentID":"bb3d9101-4bed-5c20-a80b-364986fe37a3","body":"

Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove have spent the 2018 season breaking in new setters, which is never easy.

So far, the Knights\u2019 Gabi Haws and the Vikings\u2019 Abigail Miller are helping their respective teams into their usual position at the top of the 6A State Volleyball Tournament.

Both Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove cruised through the first two rounds on Thursday at Utah Valley\u2019s UCCU Center, sweeping their way to Saturday\u2019s semifinals. The Knights \u2014 the favorite to win their third straight state title \u2014 took care of West Jordan (25-11, 25-10, 25-15) and Northridge (25-13, 25-9, 25-14) while Pleasant Grove didn\u2019t drop a set in sweeping Riverton (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) and Weber (25-21, 25-20, 25-18) on the other side of the bracket.

\u201cOur rhythm was really good and clean today,\u201d Lone Peak coach Reed Carlson said. \u201cThat was our goal today, to come out and play clean volleyball. That way we can build off the rhythm in practice tomorrow and then come out Saturday and play at a high level of volleyball again.

\u201cI thought Gabi set great matches today. She was in rhythm with our middles. That was one of our offensive goals, to get the middles involved. Gabi did a phenomenal job of doing that. I feel like we have so many threats we can throw out there as long as we are passing well.\u201d

After racing past West Jordan, the Knights made short work of Northridge behind 20 kills from senior outside Tasia Farmer, a strong passing effort and 11 team blocks, led by senior middles Kennedi Boyd and Carly Bernsten with five blocks each.

\u201cI felt like we played pretty well,\u201d Haws said. \u201cIt\u2019s fun to run such a fast offense. I have great teammates who can do whatever they want with the ball when I get it to them. We want to be the hardest workers. I think some people feel like we\u2019re just gifted but we\u2019re in the gym every day, spending hours after practice working on stuff.\u201d

Pleasant Grove has just two players with state tournament experience. One of those veterans is junior outside Bryton Bishop, who had seven kills, two aces and 19 digs in the quarterfinal sweep of Weber.

\u201cIt\u2019s kind of crazy in here, but for me, it was just to go out and have fun,\u201d Bishop said. \u201cIt\u2019s different (than the regular season). It\u2019s more high pressure and there are more people here, but I think the best way to play is to go out and have fun. That\u2019s the one thing I told the younger kids. You play your game, have confidence and have fun.\u201d

Miller, who stepped in this year to replace graduated setter Bailey Bishop, directed a PG offense that took control late in all three sets against Weber. Miller had several timely dump attacks and distributed the ball well.

\u201cShe\u2019s setting a nice offense,\u201d Pleasant Grove coach Allyce Wilson said. \u201cShe\u2019s very athletic and that helps us to have more opportunities to swing. I like what our young kids are doing. For being so young, I think we\u2019re having fun and playing loose and when we do that, we\u2019re composed.\u201d

Lone Peak (24-6) will take on Copper Hills in one of the semifinals. The Grizzlies (25-4) moved past American Fork 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-10, 25-21) in the first round and swept Fremont 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-19) in the quarterfinals. The Knights swept Copper Hills in convincing fashion (25-16, 25-11, 25-17) to open the season back on Aug. 23.

\u201cThe game plan worked really well today and the kids executed beautifully,\u201d Carlson said. \u201cIf we can maintain that kind of flow throughout the weekend, it will be a lot of fun to see where it takes us.\u201d

Pleasant Grove has a tough draw in the other semifinal against Region 4 foe Bingham. The Miners (19-8) got past a determined Herriman team in a five-set first-round thriller (24-26, 25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 15-11) and knocked off Syracuse 3-1 (25-16, 26-28, 25-7, 25-20) in the quarterfinals.

The Vikings and Miners split their regular season meetings, with Bingham earning a sweep at home and PG turning the tables with a 3-1 victory just over a week ago.

\u201cI\u2019d say, honestly, for my team, it\u2019s all about the experience,\u201d Wilson said. \u201cToday helped us get really valuable experience for Saturday because none of them have had it (experience).\u201d

American Fork, the fourth-place team from Region 4, gave Copper Hills a good match before the Grizzlies managed a 3-1 victory. The Cavemen rebounded to sweep Hillcrest 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-10) and will play West Jordan on Friday for a chance to play for sixth place.

This year\u2019s 5A and 6A Tournament format calls for the elimination bracket matches, including the 6th-8th place match and the 5th-7th place match, to be played on Friday. Saturday\u2019s matches will be the semifinals, the 3rd-4th place match and the championships.

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1. Lone Peak (22-6)

Knights a favorite to repeat as 6A champs.

2. Skyridge (20-5)

5A Falcons looking to improve on last year\u2019s fifth-place finish.

3. Pleasant Grove (25-9)

Young Vikings ready for a state tourney run.

4. Lehi (25-7)

Pioneers finished third at 4A tourney with great effort in semifinals.

5. Timpanogos (17-10)

T'Wolves could surprise some teams at 5A tourney

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The members of the Lone Peak girls volleyball team knows exactly what\u2019s in front of them.

The Knights will play for their third straight state title beginning on Thursday at the UCCU Center on the Utah Valley University campus. They are the favorite in the Class 6A tournament and are 7-0 against their main competitors on both sides of the bracket \u2014 Region 4 foes Pleasant Grove and Bingham, Copper Hills and Syracuse.

\u201cWe did a good job trying to schedule against all the good 6A teams this year,\u201d Lone Peak coach Reed Carlson said. \u201cWe wanted to be familiar with them come tournament time. We\u2019re on the happy side of the bracket because we played Copper Hills at our place. We also played Syracuse at our place and we\u2019ve played Bingham and Pleasant Grove. We\u2019ve had a chance to see and play everybody.\u201d

The Knights (20-6) haven\u2019t lost in Utah since dropping a 3-1 decision to Pleasant Grove during the regular season last year. Carlson also scheduled his team in two prestigious national tournaments this fall \u2014 the Durango Classic in Las Vegas and the Nike Invitational in Phoenix \u2014 and Lone Peak compiled an 8-6 record. That included a victory against Hagerty (Florida), ranked No. 42 in the country currently by MaxPreps.

\u201cWe\u2019re getting a lot better, to the point where I thought we could be,\u201d Carlson said. \u201cIt took some high-level matches at the beginning of the season to expose some of our weaknesses. It was good for us to see some of the best teams in the country.\u201d

Junior Gabi Haws \u2014 daughter of BYU basketball standout Marty Haws \u2014 took over at the setter position this season for Jaquelyn Langham, now starting as a freshman for Tennessee-Chattanooga. There were some growing pains early on, but Carlson said he likes how Haws is distributing the offense.

\u201cNow she understands what it takes to be at the highest level,\u201d Carlson said. \u201cShe responded well after those early games. She put her head down and went to work. Our stats show we\u2019re getting more hitters the ball. Tasia (Farmer) and Kennedi (Boyd), she can default to them because they\u2019re so dynamic. But in the last month we\u2019re getting everyone involved and that\u2019s great because everyone is contributing.\u201d

Farmer, a 6-foot senior who has committed to UC Santa Barbara, averages 5.4 kills per set and hits nearly .500. Boyd contributes 2.8 kills and 1.6 blocks per set from her middle blocker position. Senior libero Hikialani Kaohelaulii, a three-year starter, has over 1,000 digs in her career and keys much of the Knights offense with her steady passing.

Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove have met for the past two large-school state championships and the Vikings have won seven of their past eight matches, the only loss a 3-2 thriller to the Knights. Junior Bryton Bishop and sophomores Mia Peterson and Lauren Jardine are streaky hitters who can get on a roll and cause problems for any team. Bingham (17-8), another Region 4 team, upset Pleasant Grove earlier this season and could play a spoiler role.

Syracuse (23-5) won Region 1 with a 12-0 mark and is on PG\u2019s side of the bracket. But the Vikings swept Syracuse earlier this season. Copper Hills (23-4), the champion of Region 3, is on Lone Peak\u2019s side of the bracket and were swept by the Knights in the season opener.

It\u2019s exciting to see the potential coming out of the other regions,\u201d Carlson said. \u201cIt\u2019s making it a lot more competitive and it\u2019s great for Utah volleyball.\u201d

Since Davis won the 5A state title in 2011, Utah Valley teams have won six straight championships in the large-school classification \u2014 three by Pleasant Grove, two by Lone Peak and one by Lehi.

CLASS 5A

Defending champion Box Elder (22-4) probably takes the favorite role in 5A but Skyridge (20-6) looks ready to challenge for the top spot. The Falcons went undefeated in Region 8 behind a strong senior class and played a difficult preseason schedule.

Deanna Meyer won five state titles at Lone Peak (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010) and took over at Skyridge when the school opened in 2016. She\u2019s led the Falcons to seventh and fifth-place finishes in two state tournaments, losing to the eventual state champion (Bountiful 2016, Box Elder 2017) each time.

\u201cThe key to being successful in anything is being in the moment,\u201d Meyer said. \u201cWe\u2019re focusing on what we can do right now. We have worked hard on being in the present and playing the best you can on a particular ball. Trying to manage emotions is big in teaching kids to play in the moment right in front of them.\u201d

Setter Kaitlyn Standifird, outside hitter Kenadee Christensen, middle blocker Alice Ellsworth and libero Tylee Fuller have been with Meyer since they were sophomores and as seniors come into the tournament with a desire to finish their careers on a high note.

\u201cThey have a chapter left to write in the book of their high school career,\u201d Meyer said. \u201cThey\u2019ve been good volleyball players, but last year they didn\u2019t reach their fullest potential. Opportunities come and go but when the opportunity comes, we have to be ready for it so we can have success.\u201d

Corner Canyon (27-5), which went undefeated in Region 7 for the second straight season, will be another team expected to advance past the first two rounds.

Timpanogos (17-10) has played well under first-year coach Isa Takahashi and was the only team to take a set from Skyridge during Region 8 play. The T\u2019Wolves could be a tough out in the tournament.

"} ]