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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest wraps up fall sports season

Dec 02, 2022 02:38PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Many of Hillcrest High student-athletes competed in postseason play in sports this fall. Here is a recap of the Huskies’ seasons.

Girls’ tennis

Senior captain Sowmya Paritala gave her all in the state playoffs, playing a match three and one-half hours to reach the quarterfinals that were played an hour later.

“It was tiring after an hour and one-half, and I was cramping up, but I didn’t give up,” she said about her first round win. “I really like that about tennis. It’s a very in-the-moment thing. I like making quick decisions. In a match, I try to change my strategy to improve my game.

Her reward for winning her first round was to play the eventual state champion for No. 3 singles, who she also played at region.

Her teammate, sophomore Fabiana Gonzalez, who was recovering from a wrist sprain, also lost in quarterfinals and teammate, sophomore Camila Andrade lost in the first round. Overall, the team finished tied for ninth place at state.

The singles players along with the doubles teams won 5A region 7 on the school’s newly installed tennis courts.

“I was happy that I won region individually, but even happier when the whole team won; we put a lot of effort into it,” said the Huskies’ former No. 1 player who focused on playing more consistent this year in her new role.

While she may play club tennis, she definitely plans to continue playing as a hobby.

“I think walking away, the thing I'll miss the most is the girls on the team. Even though tennis is naturally an individual sport or played with a team of two, in high school, it really is a whole team effort to help each other grow,” said Paritala, who along with four other seniors, will graduate in the spring and leave Gonzalez and Andrade to lead the team next season.

Head girls’ tennis coach Creighton Chun was impressed with his team.

“I'm so proud of them; I believe we’re the first school team to take a title in this region,” he said. “Our singles players really fought at state, but who knows, maybe we can even do better next year with more girls coming in. Some of our return players are playing in the offseason now that we have home courts to practice on. I think we're going to be better and better.”

Girls’ soccer

With a third-place finish in region, the Huskies hosted Timpview High in the state playoffs.

Senior captain Teya Snowder said it was a different feeling heading into that game.

“It was a tough loss,” she said. “We had the home game because our RPI was better and that put a mentality and pressure on that we’re supposed to win this game at home,” she said. “Still, it was fun that we ended the season on our home turf, and we had a good turnout with the student section and the parents.”

“Home turf” meant the football field because all four years Snowder has played, and the year preceding, the school didn’t have a soccer field because of campus construction. The newly installed field should be available for the boys’ team this spring.

The Huskies, who have used East Midvale Elementary’s playground as a home field, finished with an overall record of 11-5.

“Our record was great. We improved a lot over the season. If you were to compare our first game to our last game, improvement was definitely there and that's a win in our book,” she said, adding that this year practices were longer and the team worked harder on “passing and getting shots in, so we were getting more touches on the ball” rather than conditioning.

It was the first season under head coach Brett Davis, who has coached the boys’ team for years.

“Coach Brett has given me a new outlook on soccer for sure. He has helped me learn how to read the game by asking open-ended questions and making me figure out what’s best. It helped me make quicker decisions in the game. He has a different style than our previous coach. Coach Brett wanted the exact opposite of what I did last year when I was dribbling so players naturally would mark me so I’d have three, four defenders on me. Under coach Brett, I’d pass the ball and then I wouldn’t have so many defenders clumped on me, so I had more opportunities in the end to take the shots,” said Snowder, who lead the team and region in goals.

While six seniors will graduate, Snowder said that some younger teammates played varsity and have that experience to help the Huskies next season. 

Snowder, who began playing Sandy City recreational soccer at age 4 and then club soccer, competed all four years on varsity and recently signed to play soccer with Southern Utah University next year.


Senior Isabella Kuburic led the Huskies in aces and blocks this season as the Huskies finished sixth in region.

The team beat Granger, Monticello and Cottonwood (twice) with scores of 3-0, and outplayed West and Bryce Valley, both 2-0. Overall, the team, under head coach Melissa Guymon, went 6-19 this season.

The Huskies faced the unexpected loss of senior setter Emma Walters, who was practicing with the team before her first game back from an ACL tear, and suffered a second tear; she was unable to play all season.

The team will be without five seniors when they return next season.

Boys’ golf 

Senior Connor Poulsen represented Hillcrest at the state tournament as he did last year. 

This season, Poulsen shot 85 for his first round, falling short of making the cut by five strokes and therefore, didn’t play the second day.

“He should have made the cut,” coach Dave Richardson said. “His dad is my assistant coach and he said on the very first hole, he just didn't hit a very good drive, didn't follow it up with another shot. He was just nervous. It’s very nerve-wracking, but I'm proud of him. He’s got several college scouts looking at him.”

Richardson had hoped other players or even the team would make state, but that wasn’t the way the ball rolled.

“We had a couple players just miss the tournament by a stroke or two and our team didn’t all play well enough to qualify. We actually came really close to winning the tournament that Cedar Valley hosts, but when Connor was playing the 18th hole, somebody left a big footprint in the sand trap and his ball went in there and it took them a couple of hacks to get it out. He should have made par on that hole instead of a triple bogey. If he would have made  it in five, we would have won that tournament. We got third by two strokes. That's how close that one was,” he said.

The team finished sixth in region and will graduate three seniors.

“We’re going to get better,” Richardson said. “We have some good guys coming back.”


“We made some great strides offensively,” head football coach Brock Bryant said. “We averaged about 21 points in region, averaging 4.5 yards on the run game and over 150 yards passing. I’m really proud of the kids this year; they never quit. There are four games that we could have won, but it came down to one or two plays.”

The team, which he said was “very undersized; we faced a lot of adversity with four linemen breaking their hands in one game, which was kind of a fluke. They all kept playing, came back and really helped us. I love these kids’ perseverance and they have that great attitude.”

Bryant said that special teams played well this season.

“We kept the ball front of us and we made some big plays; we still got to work on some fundamentals defensively, but we made some big strides,” he said.

The Huskies finished eighth in region and finished the season with a record of 0-10.

“I'm feeling really good about the relationship that we're building with the youth leagues and it takes patience, consistency and time, but these kids want to keep striving to make Hillcrest a better place. I love the parents here in the community; they're real supportive and our student fans were great this year,” he said, adding that 10 seniors will graduate this spring. “I'm excited what the future is bringing.”

Cross Country

Senior captain Sam Timmerman and sophomore Josh Martin finished 69th and 70th in the 5K in 16:48 and 16.48.2, respectively, to bring the boys’ team to a 21st-place finish at the state tournament.

The girls’ team made its return competing at the state, with junior Edith Neslen leading the squad with a 48th individual place finish with a time of 19:59.4. The team finished 24th.

One of the team’s devoted runners, senior captain Kay Erekson, cheered the team at state from the sidelines alongside coaches Scott Stucki, Shannon Hurst and Alex Mettler.

Erekson, who has practiced with the team for four years and competed for three, runs JV.

“My freshman year I ran in the summer before because my older sister didn’t want to do it by herself, so she dragged me along, but then I didn't race during the season,” she said. “The next year, I remembered having a ton of fun at practices, so I decided to do it again and my sister and (teammate) Abigail (Slama-Catron) convinced me to race. I’m really glad; I made so many friends and I have found some of my best friends on the team. I liked our summer practices best when we’d run in the mountains so it was worth it to wake up that early and run every day.”

Erekson said that she had only competed in one race prior to her first one in high school.

“My family ran a gobble gobble or turkey trot that was maybe a mile and I walked,” she remembered.

Even though she’s not the top runner on the team, she likes racing.

“I like trying to get better and seeing if I could beat my own time. I like racing myself, not racing everybody else,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to improving her track race times in the spring. “I can see what I’ve accomplished; my results of my practicing show in my races.”

Region is Erekson’s favorite cross country race.

“We have a big team dinner the night before and, as senior girls, we wrote notes of encouragement to all the other girls. Before the race, we have fun writing words of encouragement on our arms and legs,” she said. “One thing that really helped me was having a mantra this year. My mantra for region, which was my last race, was ‘no doubt, no regret.’ Going into my race, I knew I was prepared, and I had no doubt in my mind that I could do it. Once I finished my race, I had no regrets. I know I gave it my all in the race. It was really good, and I was proud of how I raced.”