Continuing our 2013 team previews, we take a look at the Salt Lake Conference in the Boys D-I division. In 2012, Judge beat Brighton 9-8 in overtime to win the conference. Brighton, Park City, Olympus and Skyline filled out the rest of the conference. Skyline has moved to D-II, so there are only four teams in the conference this year.
2012 Record: 14-5 (3-1)
2012 Playoffs: Lost to Juan Diego in Semifinals
2012 Conference: 2nd
Brighton finished the 2012 season with a 14-5 record and a tough loss to eventual champions Juan Diego in the semifinals. Brighton lost 18 seniors including, First Team All-State Midfielder Elias Fairman, First Team All-State Defenseman Andrew Kenney, Second Team All-State Attackmen Matt Mangum, Second Team All-State Defenseman Taylor Covey and Second Team All-State FOS Sam Snyder. Although the Bengals are return few players, Head Coach Brandon Horoba looks for a couple players to stand up and make some noise this season.
“There are two players both on the defensive end. Brody Bolerjack and Nick Carrigan,” said Horoba. “Both of them will be counted on to anchor our defense which lost all starting players. While these two have some good Varsity experience I am not sure that everyone knows who they are, but trust me they will.”
Brighton will compete in one of the toughest conferences in the state.
“Our conference is brutal,” said Horoba. “We played 2 out of 4 games in Overtime last season and expect nothing different this year. Judge and Park City will be as strong as ever with some great returning players and Olympus is only going to improve after getting more familiar with Walker and his coaching style.”
The Bengals begin play with a road trip to Colorado to face defending Colorado Champion Arapahoe and Regis Jesuit. Brighton played both teams last year, losing to Arapahoe 12-6 and Regis Jesuit 8-7. Regis Jesuit lost to Cherry Creek in the semifinals of the Colorado playoffs last year.
Judge Memorial Bulldogs
2012 Record: 13-3 (4-0)
2012 Playoffs: Lost to Alta in the Semifinals
2012 Conference: 1st
The Bulldogs will look to defend their conference title in 2013. The Bulldogs lost 15 seniors from last years squad including First Team All-State Defensemen Matt Hirning, Second Team All-State Attackmen Wilson Lamb and Second Team All-State Goalie Matt Crispo.
The Bulldogs have Grant Pierce returning at the attack position.
“Grant Pierce, a big attackmen and Junior will draw most opponents attention,” said Judge Head Coach Dave Allen. “Mitch Summerson is one of the best long sticks in the State. Sean Sloan is a senior middie that will direct the short sticks between the lines, and Gabe Rechsteiner will see more touches on offense since he has been working hard on his shooting.”
When asked what the biggest challenge the Bulldogs will face, Coach Allen said, “Each game. We play in the strongest conference, and we have to bring it every game.”
Coach Allen is also excited for the annual rivalry game on St. Patricks Day.
The Bulldogs begin play March 9 with a game against Bountiful.
2012 Record: 6-8 (1-3)
2012 Playoffs: Lost to Alta in First Round
2012 Conference: 4th
The Titans struggled last season under new Head Coach Walker Bateman, but have had a whole year to learn the systems and styles that Bateman instills.
The defense will be led by Senior Tate Benson who has been starting for the Titans since his Sophomore year.
“On defense we are lead by senior Tate Benson who was a stand out football player for Olympus this past season,” said Bateman. “He will most likely have some young players along side him so Tate will have to step up and lead by example.”
The Titans received a boost last Fall when Freshman LSM Stowe Brooksbank joined the team.
“A stand out Freshman LSM from the fall, Stowe Brooksbank, was the most impressive freshman I have ever coached,” said Bateman.
Junior Goalie Ben Schetler returns to man the pipes and after a season playing all summer and fall with the Utah Starz.
Midfielders Bridger Fisher, Jeff Lunt and Lincoln Neerings as well as attackmen Madsen Murphy and Coleman Dunn will be back to lead the Titan offense.
Bateman, like Coach Allen, feels that every conference game will be a challenge.
“I think we have the hardest conference in the state and with the changes to the scheduling this year we also have to cross-conference with Sandy who has the two teams from last years championship in it,” said Bateman.
Bateman is also excited to play on the turf at Olympus Stadium, traveling to Idaho and beating Bingham in the final home game of the year.
The Titans will head to Idaho for a three game swing in two days against Boise, Bishop Kelly and Timberline.
Park City Miners
2012 Record: 8-7 (2-2)
2012 Playoffs: Lost to Juan Diego in the Quarterfinals
2012 Conference: 3rd
The Miners lost 4 games last year by one goal including a 15-14 OT loss to Bingham and a 13-12 4OT loss to Brighton. If the Miners were on the winning side of those games, they would have been 12-3, taking the No. 2 seed in the conference and would have faced Bingham instead of Juan Diego in the playoffs.
The Miners have high hopes for Grant Beal and Patrick O’Brien in the midfield and Issac Rogers and Martin Lentz to anchor the defense.
In the fall, the Miners didn’t play many fall ball games, but rather focused on learning their systems.
“We want to hit the ground in the spring with everyone understanding what we are planning on doing on the field this season,” said Park City Head Coach Andy Langendorf. “We are young, but have very good stick skills. We will continue with the hybrid lax systems we played with last season…so speed of ball movement will be key for us. Transition, transition, transition.”
The Miners will host East on March 7 to open their 2013 season.
Who do you think is the best team in this conference?