Navajo Nation athletes crack top-10 at Utah state cross country championships

The Whitehorse Academy boy's cross country team garnered a 4th place finish in the Utah 1A state cross country championships. One boy and one girl cracked the top-ten in their respective divisions.

By Rich Winter

     I got a bit of a late start at the Utah state cross country championships yesterday. 

     I missed the girl's 1A race but got there just in time to see the start of the boy's 1A race. Having spent about ten years on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, naturally, I started cheering for the brown kids from Whitehorse Academy.

    The Raider boys started slowly but then gradually worked their way up during the course of the 5k race at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City yesterday. 

    Whitehorse junior, Rafael Begaye worked his way all the way up to a sixth place finish. The Whitehorse junior finished with a time of 17:36 to help lead his team to a fourth place finish. 

Whitehorse finishers: 

6th - Rafael Begaye - 17:37

27th - Joshua Dixon - (sophomore) - 18:43

31st - Tyrell Whitney - (senior) 18:56

36th - Sheldon Blackwater - (junior) 19:13

37th - Rydell Silas (sophomore) 19:13

75th - Trevor Roadhouse (sophomore) 24:02

76th - Neilton Maryboy (junior) 24:39

   With just one senior on the roster, 2015 could be a harvest of golf for the kids from Southern Utah.

Team standings: Monticello 51, Panguitch 78, St. Joseph's Catholic 103, Whitehorse 111

Girls's race:

    While I didn't get to see the girl's race I did walk up to a lovely young lady from Whitehorse that was holding her medal. Thomasina Yellowman was the top finisher as she came across the line in 7th place.

Whitehorse finishers:

7th - Thomasina Yellowman - 21:59

32nd - Amber Yazzie - 25:33

    Congratulations to the kids from Whitehorse for giving me a kick yesterday. Well done!

Whitehorse Academy had two athletes place in the top-10 yesterday!

Will public sentiment land the Irish a spot in college football's FINAL FOUR?

A tough loss for Notre Dame this past weekend. Makes you wonder if the Irish will get a chance at the final four if they run the table.

By Rich Winter

      It's funny how half the country thinks Notre Dame got screwed and the other half thinks the refs made the right call. Either way, Notre Dame certainly opened some eyes with that 31-27 road loss to Florida State.

      Funny how the perceptions of a team can change with a loss.

      My perception of Notre Dame before writing this article was man, what a tough schedule Notre Dame plays.

      Not so fast!

    W vs. Rice 48-17

    W vs. Michigan 31-0

W vs. Purdue 30-14

W vs. Syracuse - 31-15

W vs. Stanford - 17-14

W vs. North Carolina - 50-43

L to Florida State - 31-27


11/01 vs. Navy

11/08 at Arizona State

11/15 - vs. Northwestern

11/22 vs. Louisville

11/29 @ USC

    I have no beef with Notre Dame getting in if they run the table. The loss to Florida State was as good a loss as anyone in the country could have had at this stage of the season. With thos SEC teams in front of them getting ready to canabalize each other, and Notre Dame sitting at No. 6, the Irish will make it if they run the table. 

    But, let's not just insist the Irish have one of the tougher schedules in the nation.

     Those first four games are patsies.

    I'll give them Stanford as a competitive affair.

    Barely beating UNC does not impress me.

    The only other teams on the schedule that I'll give some credence to are Arizona State, and USC and maybe Louisville. 

     With the number of Notre Dame fans across the country, I can almost see Notre Dame getting in if they have two losses. A national semi-final between Notre Dame and Florida State, well, that would be a great way to kick off this college football playoff. 

     The national following alone for Notre Dame would vault this first playoff into the stratosphere. Maybe the bad call at the end of the Florida State game was something ordered by the mob so the Irish can come back and avenge that loss in the playoffs.

   Either way, Notre Dame is getting matter what!

    Follow me @panicgalore

Fantasy - Who to start and sit from Thursday night's mega-showdown.

If you had to choose which quarterback to start in your FF league between Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, who would that be!

By Rich Winter

       Can't wait for the Thursday Night football game tonight. I will have Ronnie Hillman and DeMaryius Thomas going. My buddy, White Mamba, is the world's 11,555 the biggest Charger fan but he has Peyton Manning going for FF tonight. Can't wait to see him pucker up every-time Manning throws a touchdown.

     With these two high-powered offenses going there are a ton of guys with fantasy implications tonight.

 Keep in mind though that Denver has a dominant defense and for me that means only a select few of the San Diego Charger weapons should be started. 

    Denver has a lot of mouths to feed on that offense so it's no guarantee that if you just pencil in all of the Denver guys that you're going to have success.

    Sports Instigator, Rich Winter predictions on tonight's Fantasy Stars: 

     Denver Broncos: 

     If you're not familiar with the Denver vs. San Diego rivalry, get ready for some tough, hard-fought football. One thing the Chargers know how to do is get after Peyton Manning. They love to get pressure on him early, give him happy feet and see if they can't disrupt his timing a bit. 

     Peyton Manning: I still have him throwing for over 300 yards today, although his completion percentage might be down a bit because of that pressure the Chargers bring.

    Manning: 25-38 with 300 yards, 3 td's and 1 int

    Ronnie Hillman: Only 74 yards rushing last week but keep in mind this cat caught 4 balls for 29 yards last week. With the Chargers bringing the heat on defense I suspect Hillman will get a few more catches out of the back-field. 

     Hillman is a must start in all situations:

      Hillman: 75 yards rushing, 50 receiving 1 td. 

    Denver WR's and TE's

    DeMaryius Thomas - After the first three weeks of the season, I was pretty hot and bothered about the performance of my No. 1 WR. After the last three, I'm patting myself on the back for picking the best WR in football.

     Last three games: 226, 124, 171 with 5 touchdowns over that span. This is Manning's favorite target and I expect him to do some great things today.

   D. Thomas 150 and 1 td

   Julius Thomas: While this guy is a touchdown machine, his yards per game aren't exactly through the roof.

   Last three games, 66, 51 and 27 but he had four touchdowns over that span.

     I see Thomas getting 50 yards and 1 td.

Sit em: Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders:

      Keep in mind this is a good San Diego team in which Denver is not going to be able to move the ball up and down the field. I have Manning penciled in for 300 yards but 250 of those yards are already gone to Hillman, Thomas and Thomas.

Welker: 2-25

Sanders: 2-25

And now for the Super Chargers: 

       One thing I think people are forgetting and underestimating about Denver is just how good the Broncos defense is. Von Miller and DeMarco Murray have combined for 15 sacks this season and if you think P. Rivers isn't going to feel some heat tonight, well, you're not thinking.

Philip Rivers - I thought P. Rivers looked a little pedestrian in that loss to the Chiefs...17-31 for 205 yards with two td's and 1 int.

     I think P. Riv is going to struggle a bit tonight against that very good Denver defense. That said, I believe he gets 250 yards passing and has two touchdowns.

P. Rivers - 250 and 2 td's

     Sit Brandon Oliver tonight: 

     After bursting onto the scene and looking all-world in his first two starts, Oliver came back to earth last week against the Chiefs. 

      Vs. Chiefs - 15-67 with two catches for 11 yards.

     I get the feeling that Ryan Mathews is going to assume the starters carries when he comes back so if you have Oliver, this might be the last viable week you can use him. That said, Denver's run defense is rock-solid.

   Oliver 15-45, 2-11

    San Diego WR's and TE's

    Start em: 

Keenan Allen - Through seven games, Allen has zero touchdowns. That is going to change tonight as Allen has the best night of any of the Charger WR's

Allen 100 yards with 1 td.

Antonio Gates: This is too big of a game and too big of a stage for Gates not to show up.

Gates 75 yards with 1 td. 

Charger WR's sit em: 

Eddie Royal: Last week vs. the Chiefs 1-20, I expect more of the same this week. Allen is going to get his which means Royal gets none!

Malcom Floyd: Last week vs. the Chiefs 3-50, More of the same.

   Denver's defense is too good to have more than just a couple of the Charger guys go off.

    I like P. Rivers, Allen and Gates but after that, I'm considering benching the normal influx of Charger FF producers.

     Enjoy the game, I know I will.

    Pucker up White Mamba.

   Follow me @panicgalore


Wasatch senior stings the competition at Utah 4A cross country

Wasatch's Josh Collins wins the boy's 4A state title as pre-race favorite, Conner Mantz collapsed in the final 50 meters of the race.

By Rich Winter

       For much of this prep cross-country season, Sky View's Conner Mantz has been running the competition into the ground. Undefeated over 5k, Mantz entered Wednesday's 4A boy's cross country race as the clear and prohibitive favorite.

       True to form, Mantz took off Wednesday like a man that was intent on breaking course records. 

      Mantz assumed the lead early, but on this day he would have company.

       As Mantz entered the steep hill at Sugarhouse Park Wednesday, he and fellow senior, Wasatch's Josh Collins, had broken everyone in the field, except each other.

      Up the hill they went, no separation.

     Down the hill they came, no separation.

     As the pair ran into the back-half of the race, Collins used a bit of a surge up the small hill entering the back-half of the course and briefly took the lead. But Mantz is no ordinary foe, ranked No. 2 in the nation in high-school cross country circles, the Sky View senior took command on the back half of that course. 

     With 800 meters to go, Mantz made the move for a long push from far out and Collins looked like he was done.

    But Collins is no ordinary foe!

      Mantz stretched his lead to 20 meters with about 600 meters to go but he could not shake the Wasatch Wasp senior.

      Still though, the race looked like it belonged to Mantz, as he entered the stadium at Highland high school with what looked to be enough of a cushion to hold on for the state championship.

     But, the long push from 800 meters out had taken it's toll. On this day, perhaps Mantz ran himself into the ground, but he had a little help from a worthy foe in Collins. 

        Mantz's legs turned to jello in the final 100 meters and Collins flew by as Mantz collapsed to the track with the agony that only elite athletes know about.

     So close and yet so far.

     Collins stayed strong to the finish and crossed the line in 15:06, the second fastest prep time of the day.

      Mantz, recovered enough from his fall about 50 meters from the finish and walked across the line in a time of 15:18.

   Utah 4A top-10

1. 1036 Josh Collins Sr 1. Wasatch HS 15:06.9 1.

2. 879 Conner Mantz Sr 1. Sky View HS 15:18.9 2.

3. 679 Alek Parsons Jr 1. Ogden HS 15:29.8 3.

4. 340 Garek Bielaczyc Jr 1. East HS 15:36.3 4.

5. 1141 Will Handley Jr 1. Timpanogos HS 15:37.7 5.

6. 878 Alex Lyons Sr 2. Sky View HS 15:38.3 6.

7. 848 Russell Lundberg Sr 1. Salem Hills HS 15:47.9 7.

8. 1142 Koy Moore Sr 2. Timpanogos HS 15:48.1 8.

9. 1139 Joe Benson So 3. Timpanogos HS 15:59.0 9.

10. 1140 Bo Farrer Sr 4. Timpanogos HS 16:02.1 10.

    Timpanogos won the team title, scoring 55 points to outdistance a good Woods Cross team that scored 121. 

American Fork sweeping team titles is twice as nice!

The American Fork boys and girls won team titles at the Utah State 5A cross country championships yesterday.

By Rich Winter

      Not many people gave the American Fork girls much of a shot of winning the team title at yesterday's Utah, 5A state championship race in Salt Lake City at Sugarhouse Park. 

        The American Fork girls had run into the Davis girls three times during the regular season and three times Davis dispatched them like second-class citizens.

     Wednesday was a different ball-game. 

      While Davis' No. 1 and No. 2 runners, Aubrey Argyle and Ally Geisler, finished 2nd and 3rd, were up front pushing the pace all day, the American Fork girls were back, but working as a team.

     In true team fashion, the American Fork girls followed each other to the line and to a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

6th - Sammy Hollingsworth - 18:19

7th - Cami Squires - 18:24

10th - Maddie Bench - 18:27

11th - Lexie Green - 18:36

16th - Katie Cornell - 18:54

17th - Nikki Smith - 18:56

24th - Katie Bradshaw - 19:21

     Three girls finished in the top-ten, Six girls broke 19-minutes and all seven girls were in the top-25. American Fork won the team title with 46 points while Davis was 2nd with 58. 

The American Fork girls are all smiles after the first meet of the season when they broke the school record at the American Fork Grass Relays.

American Fork boys claim 6th straight state championship

     I should have known something special was coming down the pike after the American Fork boys scored a perfect score at the Region Championships over a week ago.

       While they didn't sweep the top six spots at state, they did go No. 1 and No. 2 and No. 4 to set the tone early that someone would have to kick, scratch, fight and ultimately run way past their abilities to reel in the Cavemen. 

     Senior Zac Jacklin led the way, winning the 5A title with a time of 15:05, the fastest prep time of the day. 

      A pair of sophomores, Casey Clinger (15:12) and McKay Johns (15:25) finished 2nd and 4th respectively with Copper Hills athlete, Christian Allen (3rd) breaking up the clean sweep from American Fork.

      In 2009 when this streak first started, Clayton Young was just a sophomore. Young finished 4th that season but ran a time of 15:43. The fact that American Fork has two sophomores on this squad that both ran under 15:30 is frightening at how deep this American Fork state winning streak might actually go. 

American Fork runners.

1st - Zac Jacklin - 15:05

2nd - Casey Clinger - 15:12

4th - McKay Johns - 15:25

9th - Jacob Chase - 15:44

17th - Joe Simmons - 15:58

21st - Daniel Bentley - 16:10

32nd - Conner Hoopes - 16:21

    Five runners under 16-minutes, that is exactly why this American Fork squad is ranked No. 1 in the country. 

     American Fork scored just 33 points to easily outdistance Davis who scored 69.