Derek Smith, Delta (Jr.)
One of the top scorers in the state, Derek Smith has picked up right where he left off last year.
Through 11 games this season Smith is averaging 27.5 points, which includes recorded 22 points and five rebounds last week in a 64.49 win over Millard.
“Derek is the definition of a gym rat. You cannot get him out of there. All he has wanted to do from the time he was a little boy was to play basketball, that drive and dedication has turned him into one of the best players in that state,” said Delta coach Kurtis Topham.
“He does it all for us, he defends, rebounds, passes, and scores. But one of the best things about Derek is he is a great young man and a great teammate. Derek is always cheering for and encouraging his teammates in basketball or in any other sport or activity they may be involved in. He is a fantastic player and a joy to coach. I can't say enough good things about him."
Smith’s season high is 42 points which he scored against Union back on Dec. 14.
As a sophomore last season, Smith averaged 19.9 points and was named a Deseret News first team all-stater.
Valerie Kunzler, Farmington (So.)
First-year school Farmington is starting to hit its stride, and the player of sophomore shooting guard Valerie Kunzler is a big reason why.
“In her last four games she has scored 15, 17, 16 and 6 points respectively. She’s a big reason we have won four of last five games,” said Layton coach Van Price.
For the season Kunzler is averaging 12.5 points and has made 31 3-pointers. She’s shooting 41 percent from the field.
Calun Whitaker, Millard (Sr.)
This senior has dominated all season posting a 37-0 record with the state tournament just over a month away.
“Calun is a great wrestler because he isn’t afraid of competition. He is always willing to wrestle the best kid from each team. He is a silent leader leading his teammates by his hard work in and out of the wrestling room,” said Millard coach Blake Turner.
Whitaker will participate in the All-Star wrestling meet at UVU this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Jake Walters, Sky View (Sr.)
One of the elite swimmers in the state, Jake Walters is positioning himself for a dominant showing at next month’s state meet.
Walters owns the best time in the entire state this season in the 50 free (21.55), 100 fly (51.62) and 100 back (51.26). He also owns the fourth-best time in the 100 free which he swam last week at the Cache Valley Invite.
“Jake is a great athlete who is determined to improve himself. This is one of the great qualities he possesses and what has helped him become the great athlete he is today,” said Sky View coach Marcus Singleton. “Another great aspect of Jake’s character is the way he sets and goes after his goals. He knows what is required to achieve his goals. Jake continually works toward his goals through private lessons, the weight room, and in the pool during practice. Each practice he pushes himself to the limit and works on his weak areas to make them his strengths.”
Rachel Oyler, Timpview (Jr.)
Rachel Oyler is having another terrific season for the T-Birds.
The junior owns the best time in the entire state in both the 100 fly (58.56) and 100 free (52.70), while she owns the second-best time in the 200 free (1:54.90) and the third-best time in the 50 free (24.69).
She’s the defending 5A state champion the 50 free.