It has been an exciting season for the Wasatch Academy Tigers, with players dominating the field in several sports, including volleyball, cross-country running and tennis. All sports teams played at a competitive level, taking Wasatch Academy to the State Championships in each sport – a first-ever achievement!
Better yet, the boys volleyball team went on to win the USSA State Championship! This was the inaugural year of High School boys volleyball in the State of Utah, making the Wasatch Academy Tigers an historical first state champions ever! The USSA began offering boys volleyball just this year, the first time school-specific boys volleyball has been offered in Utah. Wasatch Academy battled through the regular season and ended in a 3-way tie for first place. The 3 tied schools went to a playoff for State Tournament seeding. Wasatch Academy beat both teams in straight sets to enter the USSA State Tournament as the #1 seed. The Wasatch Academy team did not drop a set until the 2nd set of the championship match, which went into extra points. The Tigers came from behind in the final set to win the first-ever USSA boys volleyball state championship!
The Lady Tigers girls volleyball team also went to the State Championships, for what was their first time in 12 years! They played hard all season long and especially when they competed at the State Championships, held at Utah Valley University. The girls were both excited and downright scared, especially right before the first match, against Delta, the eventual state champs. The Lady Tigers, with “deer in the headlight” syndrome, got off to a slow start, in the first set, but came back in the second set and third sets to really compete. The second match of the tournament they played Grand High School and the girls were relaxed and ready to play. Izumi Robertson, freshman middle blocker, put down a kill on the first play of the game that set the tone for the first set which the Lady Tigers won. Grand High School awoke and came back to win the next three sets, but not without a great fight from the Lady Tigers. The Lady Tigers played the best volleyball of the season at the tournament and made a great showing at the State Championships!
The cross-country teams performed equally well at the State Championships! The regular high school cross-country season concluded in Utah with good reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of the Wasatch teams: Devin Mesquite took the individual 2nd place overall at the UHSAA State Meet, while Nouman Kante took the individual 2nd place overall at the USSA State Meet. They began the season with many question marks but contributions of returning veterans and the refreshing interest among some new students, made the season memorable on many fronts. On the boys’ side, last year’s All State and Wasatch #1 Devin Mesquite returned from his summer in excellent condition and quickly established himself as one of 2A’s top harriers. Devin ran consistently well throughout the season, finishing first at the Region 15 Championships and ultimately second in 2A at State in 16: 35, fourteen seconds back of the champion.
Devin was ably supported by team members senior Kurik Tanner, newcomer Sesho So, Steele Shadden and Charbel Naime. The brothers Mackay and Brayden Butler, also contributed to the varsity efforts. The boys’ placed second as a team at Region and 10th in State. In addition, senior Nouman Kante ran superbly in the USSA division of high school cross country races taking second overall and is currently exploring options to continue his running career in college.
The girls’ cross country team took 8th place overall, while Sheilah Cheruiyot took the individual 9th place overall at the UHSAA State Meet. Recent girls’ teams have primarily been individuals, lacking the minimum number of five for a complete (scoring) team, but this year’s girls rallied to assemble a delightful team by season’s end and run well enough to place second at Region and advance to State, where they took 8th overall. Led by freshman Sheilah Cheriuyot of Kenya, who was the Region Champion and an All-State selection, and veteran Miriam Galecki, the girls’ team also featured two talented all-around athletes in Klara Krukova and Clista Galecki and new- to- running members Jana Alajbeg and Angelica Varillas.
The girl’s tennis team finished 9th in the State Championships. Clista Galecki made it to the semifinals and finished in the top 4 players in the state for 3rd singles. Sophia Jessee and Holly Crosby competed well, but lost in a tie-break set in the first doubles and finished in the top 8 doubles teams in the state. At the Utah State 2A Championships, our Tiger Tennis players responded with hard fought first round (Quarterfinals) matches from our 3 athletes: #1 Doubles position: Sophia Jessee (Freshman) and Holly Crosby (Sophomore) lost a very tough 3-set Quarterfinal match againstKwincey Wells (Sr) & Kyra Scovill (Sr), two very experienced girls from Grand HS in Moab 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 (who eventually lost in the Finals to the State Champs from Rowland Hall). Holly and Sophia lost a tight first set, then played a brilliant second set to come back and win 7-5. They got down quickly1-4 in the third set, then made a lightening comeback to 4-4, but the Grand HS girls closed it out 6-4. This shows Tiger tenacity and was a powerful statement for this team next year! #3 Singles Position: Clista Galecki (Freshman) won her Quarterfinal match 6-2, 7-5 against an experienced Sydney Howe (Junior, Manti HS). She gave the crowd goosebumps with long baseline rallies and multiple deuce/ads in every game. Perseverance paid off, as Clista took the lead at 6-5 in the second set and then polished her off with some strong first serves. In the Semifinal round Clista faced the defending State Champ, Anna Greenberg, a Senior from Rowland Hall who eventually won it all again! Clista couldn’t get her rhythm back after her morning match, was tormented by Anna’s deep shots to her backhand, was run all over the court, and lost her semifinal match 6-0, 6-0 to the state champ. In fact, Rowland Hall, always a perennial powerhouse, won all 5 positions at State this year, and was undefeated in team play! Our Wasatch Academy Tigers finished a respectable 7th in the State 2A tourney this year (out of 16 teams), with 13 returning players and much promise for next year!