MountainStar Healthcare Star Athletes of Week 30
Tyler Nelson, Alta (So.)
Had a great start to the season in helping lead Alta to four wins at the Cactus Classic in Mesquite last weekend.
On Thursday he pitched Alta to a 4-1 win over Emery in six innings by striking out 12 and only allowing three hits with one walk. At the plate during the tournament, he went 3 for 9 and drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning in the championship game against Emery on Saturday.
“Tyler is one of our best and most consistent arms on the mound. He understands how to pitch and is extremely competitive. He’s also one of our middle infielders when he isn’t on the mound. He’s just a sophomore and his bat will come around, but his strengths right now are his pitching ability and defensive skills,” said Alta coach Daron Connelly.
Cierra Saenger, West Jordan (Sr.)
In her first season at West Jordan, Cierra Saenger has already made a huge impact.
In five games at the March Warm-Up Elite in St. George last weekend, Saenger helped lead the Jaguars to a 3-2 record as she ripped six home runs and added four doubles.
“Cierra Saenger has been a great addition to the West Jordan softball team. She is a leader, hits the ball well and also makes game-saving plays at first base. Every time she is up to bat as a coach I am at ease because I know she will get us a solid hit,” said West Jordan first-year coach Jocelyn Kaufman. “Unlike most home run hitters, Cierra is not selfish. She goes up there looking for a base hit and wants to help the team in any way. I am excited to see what the rest of the season holds for her and the rest of the West Jordan team. We are going to make a statement this year and Cierra Saenger will be a big part of that.”
As a junior last year Saenger played for Taylorsville.
Alex Fankhauser, Brighton (Sr.)
A first-team all-state forward for Brighton last year, Alex Fankhauser has picked up right where he left off.
In the opening week of the season last week, Fankhauser scored a goal in both games as the Bengals have vaulted to the top spot in the 5A rankings.
He scored a goal in the season-opening 4-0 win over Lone Peak, and then followed it up with a goal against Olympus two days later in a 3-0 win.
Last season he recorded five goals and 12 assists, and is well on his way toward eclipsing that goal total.
"Alex is the heart of our team. He leads through his play. He plays hard every minute, every day always wanting to improve. His tenacity and love of the game make him great. He is just as great in the classroom where he gives equal effort and reaps the rewards of an outstanding academic resume," said Brighton coach Brett Rosen.
Ben Roper, American Fork (Sr.)
A varsity letter winner at American Fork since his freshman season, Roper got his senior season off to a terrific start in St. George last week.
The team captain led the Cavemen to a second-place finish at the Duel in the Desert tournament as he played both first singles and first doubles. Last season Roper teamed with Dane Petersen to advance to the first doubles final.
“Ben is also a member of Chamber Choir and has been an academic all-region award winner. He is as well-rounded off the court as he is on the court,” said American Fork coach Jason Herrud.
Savannah Romney, Corner Canyon (So.)
Had a strong start to the season for the defending state champion Chargers last week.
Romney finished first at the opening Region 7 tournament of the season, shooting a 78 at Riverbend Golf Course.
“Savannah is one of the most positive people I’ve ever worked with. She always has a smile on her face, and she’s always willing to go the extra mile and help out with whatever she can. Savannah is also an extremely hard worker,” said Corner Canyon coach Lexi Gagon. “She is always out on the golf course working on her golf game. We are very blessed to have her on the team. Savannah is a leader and team player, always there to cheer on her teammates.”
As a freshman last year Romney finished sixth at the 5A state meet shooting rounds of 83 and 74.
Kire Goulding, Desert Hills (Jr.)
At the Snow Canyon Invitational last week, the junior earned a pair of first-place finishes in addition to a second- and a third-place finish to lead the Thunder to the convincing team title.
Goulding won the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.68 and then ran a leg in Desert Hills’ 4x400 winning relay team. He then finished second in the 110 hurdles (15.81) and third in the 200 meters (22.94).
"Kire started working offseason in the weight room and running some bigger off-track workouts so he could put up points for the team this season. He has had (Zachary) Marsden and the other seniors really pushing him in our long repeat workouts which has helped so much," said Desert Hills coach Dace Goulding.
Veda Gritts, Grand (Sr.)
A runner-up at state last year in the 3A discus and shot put, Veda Gritts kicked off her senior season with an outstanding showing at the Red Rocks Invitational last weekend.
She won the discus (111’11) and shot put (36’10.50) and finished second in the javelin (108’07.25).
Her discus throw was three feet farther than what she recorded at last year’s state meet. Her throws in the other two events were a shade under what she did at state last year.