Note: Every two years, the Utah High School Activities Association dives into the arduous process of realigning all of its member institutions into classifications The goal is to make the competition level as even as possible, even though there will always be leagues that are deeper in some sports. The latest realignment added a sixth classification and now Utah Valley has schools competing in every division. Here is a brief look at what to anticipate for Utah Valley teams in their new classifications in the upcoming winter season. What to expect in the fall sports was published on Friday and take a look at the spring sports on Sunday.
Class 6A: Bingham is the defending 5A champs but the Miners should have a difficult task in defending their title since Lone Peak returns a solid cast of talent that features Stephen Ashworth, who helped the Knights finish second. American Fork missed out on the playoffs last year but the Cavemen return Isaac Johnson, one of the top players in the state. Pleasant Grove is coming off a 22-4 season and the Vikings return 7-foot-3 center Alex Von Komen, who is considered to be the state’s top big man. Class 5A: The bulk of talent in 4A is now in 5A. Springville is the defending 4A champs. Maple Mountain, Timpview, and Skyridge all figure to be title contenders. Corner Canyon was one of 4A’s biggest surprises last year under the direction of former Payson coach Dan Lunt. Class 4A: Orem figures to be the team most ready to make an impact. The Tigers return their top two scorers from last year in Ross Reeves and Puka Nacua, along with the versatile Taylor Hockersmith. Lehi, Salem Hills, and Spanish Fork should also be ready to capitalize on their new spot in 4A. Class 3A: Carbon and Juab should be in a good position to contend for a Region 14 title. Maeser, ALA and Delta move up from 2A. Class 2A: Merit finished in fifth place in last year’s 1A state tournament. Rockwell was 2-6 in region play last year and made the tournament but lost in the first round. Class 1A: Panguitch is the defending state champs. Tintic won the Region 18 title last year with a 13-1 record but lost to Rich in the second round.
Class 6A: American Fork completed a dominating season by beating Viewmont 50-46 in last year’s 5A state championship game. The Cavemen finished the year with a 25-1 record. Addie Holmstead returns after averaging 8.8 points per game. Pleasant Grove should also be strong with the return of Saddie Nixon, who averaged 12.8 points per game along with a solid core of young talent. The Vikings were 14-9 last year. Class 5A: Timpview returns Ella Pope, its leading scorer (12.9) from last year’s team that lost in the 4A semifinals, along with Jasmine Espinoza (8.0 ppg). Springville won the Region 8 title last year but its top three scorers were seniors. Maple Mountain should be competitive with the return Maddie Eaton, the team’s second-leading scorer (12.4) from last year’s team that was 14-8. Class 4A: Mountain View shared the Region 7 title last year and finished with 19-4 record. The Bruins should be in a good position to defend its region title. Spanish Fork, which lost to Salem Hills in a play-in game, should be competitive with the return of Rylie Tobiasson (9.1 ppg). Class 3A: Carbon tied for the Region 12 title last year finished third in the state tournament. The team returns Kelsey Sorensen.(8.4 ppg) and Juab finished third in region play and the Wasps return Hannah Robins was the team’s leading scorer last year (14.4). Class 2A: Rockwell was 2-8 last year and missed out on the playoffs but coach Troy Gifford has the program on the rise. Class 1A: Tintic was second in region play last year and despite losing its top two scorers from last year, the team does return Ashley Holden, who averaged 7.1 points per game last year.
Class 6A: Pleasant Grove may have had its run of state championships ended by Layton in 2017 but the Vikings have the type of program that will always be in the mix. Class 5A: Maple Mountain and Wasatch will maintain their wrestling rivalry, although the Wasps have had the best of it recently. Box Elder and Viewmont should also be competing for the top spots. Class 4A: Payson moves back into a classification where it should be one of the best wrestling programs, although Uintah and Bear River have excellent traditions as well. Class 3A: Don’t underestimate the powerhouse teams in Region 14 as Delta and Juab can be expected to battle for state titles every year.
Class 6A: Lone Peak, American Fork and Pleasant Grove have all enjoyed recent swimming success and more might be in store with some of the teams who have moved to other classifications. Class 5A: The swimming battles between powers Brighton and Skyline could be big but Maple Mountain and Springville will be looking for their own success stories as well. Class 4A: None of the teams in the new Region 10 have been known for team swimming success but athletes have done well individually at times. Park City, Cedar and Desert Hills did well in 3A in 2017 and should continue to be tough to beat. Class 3A: Grand County and Emery each won a title in 2A in 2017 and will continue to be near the top. Maeser will hope to build on some solid recent showings.