Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
Editor’s Note – The TOSH Top 25 is our countdown of the top 25 stories from the 2016-2017 school sports year, beginning with No. 25 and counting down, one story a day, to No. 1. The 2016-2017 high school sports year was filled with big performances, both team and individual. The act of narrowing down our initial list of top stories for our TOSH Top 25 stories of the year to just 25 was a difficult task. We asked people all over the state for input into our final list and beginning July 5, we are counting them down in reverse, from story No. 25 to story No. 1. Hopefully your favorite story of the past school year made our list.
Today, we announce No. 22 and celebrate the major successes at Ridgeline High School in Millville as a first-year program.
#22 – First-year success at Ridgeline
The opening of a new high school provides an opportunity for all kinds of “firsts.” When Northern Utah’s latest school opened for business in August of 2016, a number of athletes who had been successful elsewhere came together to create their own story and Ridgeline High made a major splash in year one.
The success came early for the first-year athletic program as the Riverhawks came out of the gate fast. The first state title in school history was an individual one, as Naya Tillit won the Class 3A first singles title at the girls tennis state tournament to close out the fall season. Tillit’s performance helped the Ridgeline girls to a second-place result in the 3A team standings.
During the fall, the Riverhawks also reached the state semifinals in 3A girls soccer, finished fourth in boys golf and sixth in boys cross country.
The success picked up in the winter season, as the Ridgeline boys basketball team won the Region 11 title and then earned the schools’ first team state championship with an 89-63 win over Juan Diego Catholic High School. The Riverhawk drill team earned a second-place result for its military routine and finished fifth overall.
The girls swim team was No. 5 in the state, and on the boys side, Karson Christensen won an individual title in the 50-yard freestyle. Also in the winter, wrestler Conner Wengreen won an individual state championship at 160 pounds.
Ridgeline won a second team state championship to close out the year, as the Riverhawks closed out the spring season with a 2-1 win over Juan Diego to capture the 3A boys soccer title. The school’s softball team finished third in Class 3A, but clearly announced its presence when it knocked off three perennial 3A powers – Stansbury, Juab and Tooele – in its first three state tourney contests.
Spring brought one additional individual state champion to Ridgeline, as Jaxon Brenchley became a two-time title winner. He had played on the state title winning boys basketball team in the winter and then closed out his high school career winning the 3A third singles boys tennis state title.
That’s a lot of winning for Ridgeline in its debut campaign and it’s our No. 22 story of the 2016-2017 school sports year.
TOSH Top 25 stories of 2016-17