Lyman Simmons, Snow Canyon (Jr.)
Snow Canyon is rolling through the season still undefeated, and the steady play of junior big man Lyman Simmons has been the catalyst.
As Snow Canyon sits at 16-0 this season, Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Last week he scored 16 points in each of Snow Canyon’s region wins over Dixie and Pine View. Against Pine View he recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.
“Continues to lead us in scoring and rebounding as he’s done for the past two years but especially this year has sacrificed individual stats for just making the right play,” said Snow Canyon coach Doug Meacham. “He’s a winner and wants to do whatever it takes to help us win games and he’s continued to trust teammates on both sides of the ball. He is a great kid and really fun to coach.”
Simmons was named a Deseret News second-team all-stater last season.
Ellie Esplin, Springville (Jr.)
Springville navigated a very difficult preseason the past two months, but thanks in large part to the leadership of junior guard Ellie Esplin the Red Devils are starting to hit their stride with region play picking up.
Esplin is Springville’s top returning starter from last year’s state championship team and this year she’s averaging 13.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals.
“Ellie is a great athlete who works extremely hard. She is a key part our program. She brings intensity every day and helps her teammates improve. She has a great attitude, and has become a great leader for this team,” said Springville coach Holli Averett.
Last week in Springville’s 56-26 win over Spanish Fork she turned in one of her best performances of the season, scoring 20 points.
A year ago she was named a Deseret News all-state honorable mention.
Sam Carlson, Davis (Jr.)
Sam Carlson is one of the elite sprinters in the pool this season.
Heading into the homestretch of the 2021-2022 season, the Davis senior owns the fourth-best 50 freestyle time in the entire state (22.05) and ranks in the top 10 in the 100 freestyle (49.24). In the 6A ranks, where he’ll compete at state, his 50 free time ranks as the best in the classification and his 100 free time is third.
“Sam Carlson is a swimmer who leads by example. He puts the work in at practice, he shows up ready and excited at swim meets, he always has a smile on his face, and he gets to know everyone on the team, not just his group of friends,” said Davis coach Kit Barker.
“In addition, he is a phenomenal swimmer. He has swum in 14 individual events so far this high school season, including in some major invitationals with multiple teams from all over the state. He has only lost once — out-touched by .05 seconds. I look forward to seeing what he can do at the region and state championships.”
Carlson’s 100 backstroke time also ranks in the top 10 in 6A this season.
Taylar Hooton, Olympus (So.)
Just a sophomore, Olympus’ Taylar Hooton has established herself as the premier backstroke swimmer in Utah this season.
Before the Christmas break Hooton swam a 58.27 at the Granite District Championships as she blew past the competition posting the best time in Utah this season. She also owns a top 10 time in the 100 freestyle as she posted a 55.48 earlier this year.
“Taylar is a pleasure to coach. Taylar is a big part of our girls’ team success. Apart from leading off the medley relay and being a top seed in the 100 back, Taylar contributes to a positive team culture in and out of the pool,” said Olympus coach Tom Thorum.
At last year’s state meet as a freshman, Hooton narrowly finished third to a pair of outstanding seniors. She finished with a time of 57.69, a time she’ll look to improve upon in the final month of the season.
Dillon Ivie, Altamont (Fr.)
Dillon Ivie has enjoyed a dominant debut season for Altamont High School and will be the clear wrestler to beat in his weight class at next month’s state tournament.
Last week Ivie rolled to the 113-pound title at the North Sevier Invitational winning all three of his matches by fall to improve to 36-4 on the season.
Earlier in the week Ivie participated in the Utah All-Star Duals at UVU and beat Corner Canyon’s Tyler Vivanco in a tight 7-5 decision.
Ivie will likely be a regular at the Utah All-Star Duals over the next three years as one of the top lower weights wresters in the state.
Brooklyn Pace, Copper Hills (So.)
The defending state champion at 115 pounds, Brooklyn Pace is backing up her outstanding freshman campaign with another great season so far.
Pace sits at 15-1 on the season having won her match at the Utah All-Star Duals last week at UVU, pinning her opponent in the third round.
So far this season she has first-place finishes at the MC Filly Invitational, Jaguar Invitational, Thor Girl Classic and AK47 Round Robin. Her lone loss was in the Christmas Clash back in December against a wrestling from Arizona.