Another year of high school sports in Utah Valley has been relegated to the record books but for thousands of players, coaches and supporters, 2017 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 were most impactful to Utah Valley prep sports in 2017:
10. Realignment creates new classification, new rivalries
The Utah High School Activities Association that governs prep athletics changes the regions every two years, so realignment is nothing new. In 2017, however, it implemented a new 6A classification.
The new league organization split up natural rivalries like Provo and Timpview, Spanish Fork and Maple Mountain, Orem and Timpanogos, and Skyridge and Lehi. It also gave more area teams the opportunity to play for state titles and in the fall, they took advantage with some strong performances.
9. Lone Peak puts together phenomenal year of championships and runner-up finishes
By any measuring stick, the Lone Peak athletic program had an impressive year. The Knights won state titles in girls volleyball (defeating rival Pleasant Grove in a dramatic, five-set thriller), girls tennis, boys swimming and boys tennis.
In addition to those first-place finishes, the Knights were also the runners-up in boys basketball, baseball, boys golf and girls golf.
8. Maple Mountain girls soccer earns first state title
In its eight years of competition, the Golden Eagles have usually had solid girls soccer teams. Even with their talent, however, they hadn’t been able to get past the first round of the state tournament.
Maple Mountain finally broke through in 2017, then roared into the 5A semifinals. In two straight matches that required dramatic penalty-kick shootouts to determine a winner, the Golden Eagles emerged as victorious to secure the title.
7. Spanish Fork softball lays claim to dynasty label with third straight state title
The Dons have been one of the top high school softball programs in the state for years and the 2017 squad belonged in the conversation with the best ever.
Led by Utah Valley Player of the Year Cambrie Hazel at pitcher, Spanish Fork finished 30-3-1. Although league foe Uintah gave everything it had to upset the Dons in the title game, Spanish Fork was simply too deep and talented, earning its third straight championship.
6. Utah Valley cross country runners and track athletes savor more state and national success
It’s no secret that the area has some of the best track and cross country not just in the state but in the nation — and 2017 continued that trend.
Springville boys won the 4A title at May’s state track meet, while in October’s state cross country meet, Pleasant Grove won the 6A girls title, American Fork won the 6A boys crown and Springville won the 5A boys title.
In addition, Timpview’s Aidan Troutner won both a state title and the Nike Cross Nationals championship.
5. Timpanogos baseball emerges on top as local teams overwhelm Class 4A opponents
The top four teams in the 4A state playoffs were Timpanogos, Spanish Fork, Skyridge and Maple Mountain, while both Lone Peak and American Fork were in the top four in the 6A competition.
When the dust settled, no one was able to stop the powerful Timberwolves, who held off a determined Don effort in the 4A championships to secure another state title.
4. American Fork girls basketball and girls soccer dominate the competition
The Cavemen girls teams enjoyed a spectacular year as both the girls basketball and girls soccer squads put everything together for great seasons.
The American Fork girls basketball team went 25-1 and held off Viewmont to win the 5A state championship in February, while the soccer team — which featured the talents of some of the same players — finished 19-1 including defeating Syracuse, 3-1, in the 6A title game.
3. Springville boys basketball pulls off one of the most dramatic upsets ever in 4A championship
Josh Elison scored 28 points including two free throws with two seconds left in double overtime to give Springville a stunning 81-79 win over Olympus and help the Red Devils win a boys basketball championship for the first time since 1958.
Elison hit five 3-pointers. He had four rebounds and three assists. Bennett Hullinger nailed a pair of 3-pointers to keep hope alive and set the stage for Seth Mortensen, who drained a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and sent the game to overtime.
2. The city of Lehi gets historic first crosstown football matchup in 5A title game as Utah Valley secures two state crowns
For more than a decade, Lehi was beaten up on the gridiron. That changed dramatically in 2017 as both the Pioneers and Skyridge had tremendous seasons and reached the 5A state championship game, where they squared off for the first time.
The final turned out to be all about Lehi as the Pioneers — paced by senior quarterback Cam Cooper — exploded to a 55-17 win in the first meeting of the two Lehi-based schools.
Orem also dominated in its title game as the Tigers played Mountain Crest in the 4A championship. Junior quarterback Cooper Legas led Orem to a 26-0 shutout victory.
1. Springville’s Taylee Smith, Timpanogos’s Kate Pinder and Lehi’s Andelyn Hadfield inspire everyone with perseverance and heart
With all of the successes, championships and excitement in a year of high school sports, sometimes the hard work, the effort, and the tough times get overshadowed.
But in 2017, there were some impressive individuals who put things in perspective.
Springville girls basketball senior manager Taylee Smith didn’t let Down syndrome slow her down. Timpanogos senior Kate Pinder found a way to run cross country even with a disorder called arthrogryposis, which meant she was born with almost no muscle. Lehi assistant football and basketball coach Andy Hadfield’s 5-year-old daughter Andelyn showed the Pioneer athletes what toughness is really all about.
There are many other examples, but these are the stories that remind everyone the true meaning of high schools athletics.