Those that participated in the fall sports at Payson Junior High this year had great seasons. The cross-country team, freshman football team, tennis team, high school soccer team members, and high school volleyball team members all experienced team-specific measures of success. PJHS athletes from each team conducted themselves very well on the tracks, fields, and courts of competition.
The cross-country team began with small numbers this season; however, Dakota Lange, a team captain and mentor to many on the team, was able to bring many runners to the team through recruitment. The team’s numbers reached the largest they’ve been in years with 30 athletes on the team. With increased numbers, the team finished 2nd place in most their races for both the boys and the girls. At the district championship meet though, Payson Junior High finished 1st. Dakota Lange said about the race and team, "We believed and we did it!"
The team had some great performers. Notable performers from the team were, for the boys, Dakota Lange (eighth grade) 1st in district, Dallin Wyberg (ninth grade) 4th in district, and Dillon Boulton (eighth grade) 10th in district. For the girls, Ally Chapa (ninth grade) 8th place in district, Cierra Lundberg (ninth grade) 9th place in district,
Chloe Williams (eighth grade) 10th place in district, and Maris Mortensen (seventh grade) 12th place in district all had great seasons for the team.
Turning to football, this year’s PJHS freshman team was made up of 36 players coming from 4 different city league teams the previous year and included 10 players who had never played football before. The season started off a bit rocky as the team started 0-3. This start was a disappointment to the coaches and players and left them with almost no shot at the playoffs because in order to make the playoffs, the team would have to win their final 3 games. Remarkably, they did, beating Timpview and Salem towards the end of the season to get into the playoffs and finish the season with a 3-4 record.
Colten Allred (the leading tackler on defense) said of the team, “Stepping onto the field with this team was one of the best things I have ever done. I love these guys like they are my brothers.”
Connor Mitchell (QB/LB) spoke of the team’s character also, “This year in football I think if we took or learned only one thing it would have to be that nobody is better than anybody, but anybody is as good as everybody.”
Jake Corbett, the freshman football coach, wanted to voice his thanks for parent and community support the team received this year. He would also like to thank Shane Bluth, Dylan Clark, Mike Cole, and Andrew Greenhaulgh who helped coach the team this year. Coach Corbett stated, “It was a privilege to coach some amazing young men this year, and I felt honored to get to be a small part of their lives.”
On the tennis courts, the PJHS team had some great moments. One of the team’s coaches, Travis Hatch, said, “We had a great season this year. We had a lot of fun learning some of the basics of tennis and improving our game. The girls had a lot of fun at practice where we worked to improve our ground strokes and serves and our overall play. The girls had a lot of fun together getting to know each other and learning to work as a team. They were cheerleaders for their team members when they needed them. We had some wins and some losses, but overall, we had a great time.”
Hopefully the winter sports teams can have as much success at PJHS as the fall sports teams had.