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When it comes to hardware: Ace may be the place, but the Utah High School Activities Association headquarters is a close second - at least for the time being.

Loaded to the hilt with trophies and balls for all-state athletic and activity competitions through May, the Midvale complex has quite an inventory."We have a bunch - that's for sure," confirms UHSAA executive director Evan Excell who will see his stockpile greatly reduced by Thanksgiving.

Five state championships have already been awarded with 26 oth ers presented before the November holiday.

IN THE RANKS: Brighton becomes the third team this season to assume the top 5A post in the Deseret News prep football rankings (see page D1). The Bengals leap-frogged into the position after knocking off former front-runners Orem and American Fork in consecutive weeks. Rich is the lone classification leader to have spent the entire season on top.

IMPACT HUSKERS: The University of Nebraska women's soccer team is riding a four-game winning streak thanks to the contributions of two former Utah prep stars - sophomore Jamie Riley of Viewmont and freshman Becky Hogan of West Jordan. Riley leads the Cornhuskers in scoring, while Hogan is third.

WATERWORLD: Results of the Utah High School Swimming Coaches Association preseason poll. Action begins later this month.

5A BOYS - 1. Brighton, 2. Taylorsville, 3. Highland, 4. Orem, 5. Hunter.

5A GIRLS - 1. Brighton, 2. Orem, 3. Skyline, 4. Hunter, 5. Mountain View.

4A BOYS - 1. Judge, 2. Murray, 3. Cyprus, 4. Tooele, 5. Logan.

4A GIRLS - 1. Murray, 2. Judge, 3. Woods Cross, 4. Olympus, 5. Skyline.

3A BOYS - 1. Cedar City, 2. Park City, 3. Lehi, 4. Delta, 5. Uintah.

3A GIRLS - 1. Park City, 2. Cedar City, 3. Rowland Hall, 4. Dixie, 5. Lehi.

ICE TIME: Utah High School Hockey opens its 20th campaign Monday with a record 29 varsity squads. Brighton is the defending state champion, while Copperview and Layton are newcomers to the circuit.

WESTMIN-STARS: Four former Utah prep stars, now playing soccer at Westminster College, have been named Academic All-Americans. Kris Hamlet (West), Adolph Sanchez (West), Quint Sudbury (West Jordan) and Todd Miller (Alta) have helped the defending conference champion Parsons to a 10-1 record.

MAN VS. MACHINE CHALLENGE: Despite dropping a 27-24 decision to Noland Parry's computerized Power Guide Wednesday, Utah Education Association president Lily Eskelsen and staff did well enough to keep Mankind on top in the overall race (190-184) for prep football pick'ems superiority. The Challenge has just two weeks remaining.