In small-town USA, televised big-league playoffs often play second fiddle to high school championships. At least that's the way it has been in Summit County this fall where the cross country, football, soccer, golf, tennis and volleyball squads have been racking up state and region titles from Coalville to Kamas and, of course, right here in Park City.
In addition to the sheer pleasure of watching their grace and agility against a backdrop of autumn colors, these student-athletes have been making their families, their schools and their communities very proud.
Earlier this season, the Park City boys' golf team won its sixth-straight 3A championship and the high school's girls' tennis team took the state title for its sport. But the school administrators had barely put the trophies away when they had to make room in the display case for a few more.
Meanwhile, the Park City girls' volleyball team wasn't about to be outdone, and landed in the 3A state playoffs beginning Nov. 1. The North and South Summit High School teams who competed in 2A also advanced to the playoffs.
This week, the Park City cross country teams ran up the score. Wednesday, the girls team won the 3A state title for the sixth year in a row, and for the 11th time in 12 years. On the boys side, Park City was the runner-up..
North Summit High had a great day at the state cross country finals, as, well. The girls won the state title and the boys finished second. South Summit missed a title spot but placed two individuals in the top 10.
But don't lock the trophy case just yet. A bunch of student athletes are still anxiously awaiting their final games of the season. North Summit High School's football team won the 2A North title in a hard fought season, with their rivals South Summit coming in second. A rematch in the playoffs could be in the cards.
Last but not least, as you read this, Park City High School's formidable soccer team is probably on the field, locked in a battle to clinch another state title for the Miners.
It's important to emphasize, though, that win or lose, we are proud of all of our student-athletes, as much for their performances as for their effort and their sportsmanship. While their titles definitely speak well of the schools and coaches, it is the memories of those brisk afternoons on the sidelines among the golden aspens we will remember, even more so than the hardware we stowed on the shelves. And definitely more than an evening spent on the couch watching a distant World Series on TV.