Owen Olsen, Bear River (Sr.)
On the big stage of the playoffs, Bear River senior quarterback Owen Olsen delivered with perhaps his best game of the season last week.
In leading the 17th-seeded Bears to the 47-33 win over No. 16 seed Spanish Fork, Olsen completed 16 of 23 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing 20 times for 161 yards and another score. He helped Bear River outscore the Dons 37-23 in the second half.
“Owen’s ability to orchestrate our offense for four quarters gave us the advantage we needed. He provided big plays with his arm and with his legs but his ability to control the tempo of the game and lead our offensive unit makes him more valuable than just his big plays. He is a great player but an even better leader on our football team. He should be considered one of the top QB’s in the state of Utah,” said Bear River coach Trampis Waite.
Taylor Harvey, Bountiful (Jr.)
Bountiful will look to wrap up a perfect region season with its regular season finale this week, and at the heart of the Redhawks’ success this year is junior Taylor Harvey.
“Taylor is no doubt an impressive athlete but as her coach it’s been so fun to see her behind the scenes at practice. As impressive as she is on the court, Taylor is even more impressive as a person. She leads the team graciously, caring for each member of the team on and off the court and raises the level, standard, and culture in the gym every day,” said Bountiful coach Kelsie White.
This season she owns a .309 hitting percentage with 378 kills and 223 digs. She also has 30 blocks.
“It’s easy, I think, for people to assume that what Taylor deals with as a star player is exciting and fun, which it is, however, there is a lot of weight and responsibility that comes with that role, and she fills it in a manner beyond her years. We feel so lucky to have Taylor in the gym, on the team, and in our lives. I’m lucky to coach her and excited to see all the amazing things she will do in the future both in volleyball and in life.”
Anya Gulley, Maple Mountain (So.)
Maple Mountain had to beat some marquee programs on its way to the 5A state championship, and sophomore keeper Anya Gulley played a huge role in that journey.
She earned shutouts against Highland and No. 2 Clearfield in two of the Golden Eagles’ first three wins, and then in the semis and final held Olympus and Bountiful to one goal.
In the championship against Bountiful, the game went to penalties, with Anya Gulley came up massive with two saves in help her team claim its second girls soccer title in school history.
“Anya has been a wall for our state championship run. She had two shutouts and made some huge saves during this time, including two PKs in the final. Anya stepped up when she was called on,” said Maple Mountain coach Clif Swain.
Boys Cross Country
Ben Ralphs, Millard (Jr.)
Millard junior Ben Ralphs dominated the field at the Region 18 championships last week at the Thunderbird Golf Course in Mount Carmel to claim the last individual title of the season before the 2A state championships this week.
Ralphs won with a time of 16:19.1 easily beating the runner-up from Parowan by 33 seconds.
“Ben Ralphs is an incredible athlete and a great team leader but something that makes him extra special is ability to keep his head and to stay calm in the midst of high tension and stressful situations,” said Millard coach Cody Moat.
A year ago, Ralphs finished second at the 2A state meet just seven seconds behind his brother ironically enough. His older brother, Michael, graduated though and Ben Ralphs will be the runner to beat at state this year.
Girls Cross Country
Keiarra Martin, Whitehorse (Fr.)
One of the top contenders at the 1A state meet the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park this week will be a complete newcomer to the state meet environment.
Whitehorse freshman Keiarra Martin won the Region 19 championships last week in dominant fashion posting a time of 19:32.9, which was 90 seconds faster than the runner-up from Monticello.
Earlier this week she competed in the Duchesne Invitational and finished first ahead of four North Summit runners. She also had a fourth-place finish at the Red Rock Invite last month.