By Kurt Johnson
Photo by Ravell Call, DeseretNews.com
The end of the school year brings a time to look back at the top high school sports stories and participants of the past nine months, and for us at Preps Utah, it is time to focus on selecting the top athletes, coaches and teams of the year, among other things.
We have ranked the top performers in these areas ourselves, but we also want to hear the voice of the people who follow high school sports all year long. It’s not an exact science, but about 50 percent of our weighted results will come from our rankings, and about 50 percent will come from the input we receive from those who participate in our online voting process.
Next on our list of awards, we are looking for input on our girls team coach of the year. We have narrowed our season-long watch list down to eight finalists, though you may also feel free to write someone in if you think we have missed the boat entirely.
We are looking for the coach whose performance was most impressive. Does that mean the coach’s team must have won a state championship? Not necessarily, but each of our eight finalists did just that and it certainly adds to the resume.
A year ago, Laurie Dyer of the Desert Hills golf team was our top girls team coach after her team won its seventh consecutive state championship.
Here are our eight finalists for this year:
Joel Burton, Bountiful basketball – Joel Burton led his team to a strong season and a dominating 4A state tournament performance. The Braves finished the championship season with a 22-3 mark.
Yamil Castillo, Skyline soccer – With a team built for this amazing season, Yamil Castillo led Skyline to a breakthrough state title game win over the Timpanogos team that had the Eagles number in prior state championship contests. Skyline finished its 4A title season with an 18-1-1 record.
Katelyn Elliott, Riverton softball – Despite its overall 21-2 record, Riverton did not win its own region title this year, but ending with a pair of huge comebacks in their final two state tournament games, the Silverwolves ran the table at the most important time, winning the 5A championship.
Sabrina Hughes, Bountiful volleyball – That Bountiful was able to the 4A state volleyball season at the end of this, of all seasons, is impressive. Controversy swirled early on, leading to a coaching change, but Sabrina Hughes led her team to an impressive state championship run.
Jamie Ingersoll, Lehi volleyball – In her final season running the Lehi High volleyball program, Jamie Ingersoll led her team to its most impressive result. The Pioneers came out of the state’s most powerful league, Region 4, and won the 5A state championship.
Andy & Camie Jacobs, Orem track and field/cross country – A program that has been in the making for a few years hit its high point at the 4A state track and field championships. Led by coaches Andy and Camie Jacobs, the Tigers won both the boys and girls state titles.
Souli Phongsavath, Davis soccer – It’s what they often call a mythical national championship, but the Davis girls soccer team had an amazing resume along with a 20-0 season as Souli Phongsavath led the Darts to not just the state’s 5A title, but the USA Today national title.
Van Price, Layton basketball – While completing a 25-0 campaign, Van Price led Layton to a huge semifinal win over yet another unbeaten team, Copper Hills. That win followed by a state title game victory over Sky View put the exclamation point on a perfect season.
Eight great choices that we have attempted to rank on our end. Vote in the poll below and let us know which one you would pick as the top girls team coach of this past school year.