A year of champions: Olympus sports enjoy great success in region, at state
Dec 14, 2018 12:29PM
● By Josh McFadden
Tommy Poulton gains a large chunk of yards in the 5A state semifinals against Corner Canyon. Poulton finished the year with 13 touchdowns. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Had you been around Olympus courts and playing fields during the calendar year of 2018, you may have heard the iconic Queen song “We Are the Champions” (or some other celebratory anthem) quite a few times.
The Titans had tremendous success in its athletic programs this past year.
Here’s a look back at some of the memorable moments from the school’s boys basketball, baseball, boys golf, football and girls tennis teams seasons.
The 2018–19 campaign is underway, and the Titans split their first two games, losing to Pleasant Grove in dramatic fashion 61-60 in the season opener Nov. 27. The Titans then routed Sky View 82-49 three nights later.
The defeat at the hands of Pleasant Grove was Olympus’ first setback in nearly 21 months.
Last season was a historic one for the Titans, who were dominant from start to finish. The team posted a 27-0 record and won a Class 5A state championship by blitzing Corner Canyon 76-49. Olympus didn’t just go undefeated; it was mostly unchallenged all year. Led by a devastating quartet of Jeremy Dowdell (21 points per game), Rylan Jones (18.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game), Harrison Creer (18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game) and Spencer Jones (11.2 points per game), Olympus outscored its foes by an average count of 84-57 each game.
The Titans had just one game all season in which it didn’t win by doubles figures: a 63-59 win over Class 6A’s Bingham early in the year.
“We met the challenge every night,” head coach Scott Barnes said following the state title victory. “I tell the kids to cherish winning because it’s not easy. We always talked about urgency from the start and putting people behind early.”
This was Olympus’ second-ever state title. The previous championship was just two years earlier when Olympus was in Class 4A.
The Titans were almost as dominant earlier this year on the baseball diamond as they were on the basketball court. Olympus cruised to a Region 6 title by posting an unblemished 15-0 mark.
Nearly half of those league victories (seven) were by 10 or more runs. The Titans were strong in pitching and fielding, never allowing a region opponent to get more than five runs in a game. In fact, Olympus kept the opposition to three runs or fewer in 13 of its 15 league games and posted four shutouts.
Meanwhile, the offense reached double digits in scoring in 10 region games. Hayden Curtis recorded seven home runs, and AJ Affleck wasn’t far behind with six. Curtis also had 11 doubles and four triples, while Nick Ward belted 10 doubles on the year.
The Titans proved they could be resilient and bounce back from disappointment as well. Riding an impressive 20-game winning streak entering the 5A state tournament, they suffered a shocking 6-2 defeat at the hands of Bountiful, which had barely qualified for the playoffs as the fourth-place team in Region 5.
Olympus refocused and went on a six-game winning streak in the one-loss bracket of the double-elimination tournament. On May 23, the Titans defeated Skyridge 5-2 to reach the state championship. There, the team fell short, losing to a hot Jordan team 11-1.
Olympus finished the season 29-4 overall. The Titans captured their first region title since 2011 when it shared the Region 6 crown with two other teams.
The Titans won the Class 5A state championship in 2017 and were favorites to contend once again for the 2018 title. Though the team came up just short of that goal, Olympus had plenty to be proud of.
Olympus, coached by Scott Barnes, who had enjoyed the boys basketball state championship a few months earlier, placed third overall in the 5A state tournament this past fall. The Titans weren’t far away from the leaders. After the two-day event, Oct. 3 and 4, Olympus tallied 591 strokes, just three more than second-place Farmington and 22 back of the state winners from Skyline.
The Titans may not have repeated as champions, but one of their golfers, Zack Neff, was the overall individual winner. He shot a two-day total of 139 — 72 on day one and 67 on day two. It was Neff’s second straight individual state championship. He shot a 141 in 2017.
Neff’s teammate John Fox wasn’t far behind. He tied for fourth overall by shooting a 143. He started off in the lead with a 68 but fell back by shooting a 75 on day two. Luke Smith shot a 155, while basketball star Rylan Jones posted a 156. Logan Patterson and Chris Barney rounded out Olympus’ scoring with a 161 and 166, respectively.
The Lady Titans shared the 5A state championship with Timpview by netting 16 points at the tournament, held at Liberty Park in October. Both squads had a comfortable margin of victory over Alta and Corner Canyon, which tied for third place with nine points.
Olympus qualified players at four of the five positions at the state tournament. Only the first doubles team was not represented. Second singles and third singles brought home championship hardware, as Kate Longson and Anzley Stohl emerged as winners in their respective divisions.
Longson, a senior, was 10-1 during the regular season. She breezed by her first-round opponent 6-1, 6-0 and then got by her second-round foe 6-3, 6-3. In the semifinals, Longson defeated Alta’s Brinley Horton 6-3, 6-3, setting up a championship showdown with Sophie Hastings, of Highland. Longson prevailed in three sets, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
In third singles, the sophomore Stohl took her unblemished record into the first round, winning easily 6-0, 6-0. The second-round match was much tougher, but she got by Alta’s Sarah Ovard 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. In the semifinals, she beat Abby Willes, of Corner Canyon, 6-0, 6-2. Her championship match against Timpview’s Avery Pope went in her favor in three sets, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.
In first singles, Emma Jewel, a senior, reached the semifinals, where she bowed out to Emilee Astle, of Alta, 7-5. 7-5. Jewel won in rounds one and two by scores of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0.
Rounding out Olympus’ scoring at the tournament was the second doubles team of junior Addie Zimmerman and senior Abby Harris. They picked up points by advancing to the semifinals where they fell short in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to a tandem from Woods Cross. Zimmerman and Harris prevailed in the first round 6-0, 6-1 and won in the second round 6-2, 6-2.
Longson and Jewel will graduate, but head coach Jenny Watts will welcome back Stohl and Zimmerman, not to mention some JV players who continue to show improvement.
This was the second consecutive 5A title for the Lady Titans, which have build a dynasty in Utah high school girls tennis. Prior to moving to 5A to accommodate region realignments following the creation of Class 6A, Olympus had won three straight 4A titles from 2014 to 2016.
Fresh in sports fans’ memories, the football season is only a month in the books, and the Titans were just a few plays away from reaching the state title.
Olympus won Region 6 with a perfect 5-0 mark. The team used a stifling defense and relentless rushing attack on offense to rout most of its opponents. The Titans only allowed two teams in the regular season to reach double figures in points. Meanwhile, Olympus scored at least 42 points in seven of its 10 regular season games.
Four Titans rushed for at least 466 yards, and the team had an impressive 23 interceptions; Noah Bennee had nine of his own.
The Titans found the competition to be a little tougher at the 5A state tournament. Olympus beat Alta 27-6 in round one and then got by Springville 28-3 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Olympus brought its 12-0 record up against another undefeated team, Corner Canyon. The Titans were agonizingly close but made some critical mistakes in a 20-15 loss. The Chargers boasted one of the state’s top offenses, but Olympus held them to their lowest total of the year. Olympus also limited Corner Canyon to just 372 yards, a far cry from what it had been laying on teams throughout the season. Bennee intercepted Corner Canyon’s star quarterback, Cole Hagen, three times.