What do Olympic decathlete Bob Mathias, NFL greats Bart Starr and Paul Hornung have in common with long-time Manti High basketball and tennis coach Wilbur Braithwaite?
Those four, along with 10 others - such as Quinn Buckner, Ralph Miller, Bronko Nagurski and Don Sutton - were recently named to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame for their contributions to and outstanding achievements in high school athletics.The 14 were announced earlier in May as this year's class of inductees, having completed a two-selection screening process.
Braithwaite is well-known throughout Utah - his Templar teams compiled a 534-267 record in nearly four decades. Manti won the state "B" title in 1968 and finished second in the 2A tournament three times. Manti's tennis record during Braithwaite's 26 years is 190-21 in dual matches, plus eight state titles since 1963.
Besides the athletic achievements of his teams, Braithwaite is also respected for his emphasis on academics and sportsmanship.
RAM-TOUGH RUGBY: Highland's recent national high school rugby championship - claimed at home as Salt Lake City played host to the eight-team tournament - was the Rams' second straight national title and their third in four years.
Highland downed Burlingame, Calif., 14-3 in the title game in a rematch of last year's finals. The Rams also defeated Druids of St. Louis in the quarterfinals and Philadelphia's Whitemarsh. After falling behind 3-0 in the finale, Highland scored 14 points - initiated in part by a Paul Ellis sweep and concluded in a spirited 70-yard sprint by Siope Matakiongo after intercepting a Burlingame pass.
You can watch a not-so-instant replay of the Rams' winning ways in the rugby championship, thanks to an upcoming prep-sports segment on ESPN.
ANOTHER TELEVISED TITLIST: Another local championship team that has been seen with ESPN cameras of late is the Rowland Hall-St. Marks girls soccer team, which recently beat Waterford 6-4 for its third straight small-school title. Meanwhile, the RHSM boys team won its second straight soccer championship.
HOOP HONORS: The 1989 Converse All-America High School Basketball team was published in a recent edition of "National Coach" magazine. Among the 70 boys and 70 girls recognized from across the country were Provo forward Mark Durrant and Taylorsville forward-center Natalie Williams.
Utah's honorable-mention selections for the senior-oriented honors included Tanoka Beard, Bonneville; Russell Larson, Clearfield; Quincy Lewis, Timpview; Randy Reid, Spanish Fork; Nikki Eyre, Hillcrest; Kim Hill, Clearfield; Wendy Taylor, Taylorsville; and Wendy Wood, Bear River.