SALT LAKE CITY — Although Juan Diego Catholic High School players contributed to one state championship during the winter sports season and a Soaring Eagle team narrowly missed another, athletes on most of the winter sports teams at Utah’s three Catholic high schools battled various challenges this season.
For example, a Utah High School Activities Association realignment led to Judge Memorial CHS dropping from 4A to 3A, while St. Joseph CHS moved up from 1A to 2A. While Juan Diego hockey players experienced a state-winning victory, they had to do so as part of the combined Oquirrh Mountaineers team because the school does not have enough players to field its own team (see story p. 9). The boys basketball earned a state playoff berth but fell to Salem Hills in the championship game (see story p. 9). Despite these challenges, athletes at all three schools excelled this season.
Juan Diego CHS
For the first time in several years, this season the Juan Diego wrestling team had a member place at the state tournament.
Soaring Eagle Matthew Sedillo, a junior, placed third in the 113-pound weight class after he defeated Quade Valerio of Payson, 31-14.
“He had a good season, wrestled tough and really finished strong with a 37-6 record on the year,” his coach and father Andrew Sedillo said.
Last year, Matthew Sedillo made it to state in the 106-pound class, and wrestled well the first day, but was disqualified the second day of the tournament because he did not make weight.
Also qualifying for this year’s state tournament were freshman Konnor Kegel in the 106-pound weight class and sophomore Joe Richardson in the 152-pound class. Both lost their first two matches.
Juan Diego’s eight wrestlers who finished the season are “a good, hard-working group of kids,” Andrew Sedillo said. “The good thing is they will all be back next year.”
Judge Memorial CHS
The UHSAA reclassification gave the Bulldogs the opportunity to take more swimmers to state this year. With 16 Bulldogs competing against 22 other teams, the result was a third place overall for the boys’ swim team and a fourth place overall for the girls swim team.
“There was not a single disappointing swim at state, both among the designated swimmers and their alternates,” head coach Sage Maararen said. “They were a really strong team and really supported each other. With incredible performances, they were all amazing.”
In individual performances, senior Thomas Kearns won the 100-yard breaststroke race by 2 seconds.
“He had been fighting for that for several years,” Maararen said. “He dropped a whole lot of time; it was amazing.”
Junior Hailey Grandy placed second in the 100 yard freestyle.
“That was a huge personal record for her,” Maararen said. “She fought for all she was worth to get that. It was really cool to watch.”
Senior Charlie Berea came in second in the 50 freestyle – “a very competitive race,” Maararen said.
Freshman Seth Overman finished fifth in the 500 yard freestyle.
“What was so amazing was not his finish but the time he dropped,” Maararen said. “He dropped 19 seconds. That’s unheard of.”
In other results, sophomore Ben Yarrish was 16th in the 200 yard freestyle. Freshmen Olivia Vandersteen and Grace Sherman both placed in the top 14 in the 100-yard butterfly. Junior Anna Shum was named to the 2018 UHSAA 3A Academic All-State Team.
Maararen said before she joined the team three years ago as coach, they had had three coaches in three years. The program has been steadily rebuilding ever since.
Now, “We can hopefully ride this momentum into next season,” she said.
Saint Joseph CHS
After winning the school’s first 1A region title in girls basketball last year, this year both the girls and boys teams competed in the 2A division as a result of the UHSSA reclassification.
Girls basketball coach Shane Reinhard said he was proud of the way the team performed in the higher bracket. While the record of the team (made up of primarily juniors and sophomores) this year was 6-14, Reinhard said he could see a lot of development in his young team and is excited for the “bright future ahead.”
“The girls really relied on each other and took the opportunity to grow as a team,” he said.
Leading next year’s team will be juniors Virginia Tomon, a forward who averaged a double-double on the season with a 17 points/6 rebounds record; and Kathleen von Hoffman, with 6 points/3 assists per game.
“Most of our development and skills will be coming back next year,” Reinhard said.
The boys team was defeated at region by Millard 61-23, leaving the Jayhawks with a 5-16 record on the season.
For the first time in school history, this year the Jayhawks put together a swim team. Ben Lomond High School’s coach Max Miller was asked to also coach the six-member team comprised of senior Connor Ybaben; juniors Elisa Bailey, Anne Davis and Hunter Young; sophomore Claire Young and freshman Blake Hanson.
At the Region 13 tournament, Davis medaled in both 200 IM and 100 back.
Also at region, Young competed in the 50 free and 100 free but did not qualify for state.
All three members of the girls team qualified individually for the region and state meets. A relay team was made up of the three, along with Virginia Tomon, but Tomon was unable to attend the state meet because she was playing in the state basketball game for the school.
At state, Bailey competed in 100 fly and 100 breaststroke. Davis competed in 200 IM and 100 back and Young competed in 200 IM and 500 free.
While none of the swimmers placed, all posted solid times, Miller said, adding that he feels if the team were bigger, it could compete well at region and state.
“For their first year of swimming, they did really good,” he said.