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Park City football moves closer to region title with win over Mountain View

Fresh off beating Stansbury on a Hail-Mary heave in the final seconds of the game, the Park City Miners came to Dozier Field on Friday looking to build on that momentum and make themselves the last remaining undefeated team in Region 10 play.

Their obstacle: the Mountain View Bruins, who also entered with an unblemished region record.

This time, no late-game heroics were necessary. After a back-and-forth first half, Park City was able to take control of the game and finish with a comfortable 60-30 win, making the Miners the lone leaders in Region 10.

In the first half, two high-flying offenses traded scores, but the Miners found themselves leading 32-17 at halftime. Although the offense was doing its job, the defense needed to make some adjustments to slow down the fast-paced Bruin offense.

“They were so fast we were sometimes out of position,” coach Josh Montzingo said after the game.

In response, Park City’s focus was to get set up earlier and not give Mountain View any easy plays.

After giving up a quick touchdown at the start of the third quarter, the Miners defense was able to calm down and shut down Mountain View.

As the defense began to get continuous stops, the offense didn’t lose a beat, scoring 28 straight points and stretching the lead to 60-24. The scoring spree was highlighted by two rushing touchdowns for junior Carson Tabaracci and a 74-yard passing touchdown from sophomore Chase Beyer to senior Trond Grizzell.

“We have a lot of weapons and we can spread the ball around to anyone on the team,” Tabaracci said.

After starting the season as quarterback, Tabaracci has shifted to running back. The change has proven successful. Tabaracci finished the game with a total of five touchdowns, including four on the ground and a 28-yard touchdown reception.

Even with the statement win, Montzingo recognizes that there are still important games to be played.

“We’re super happy,” Montzingo said, “but until you win them all, it doesn’t matter, so we gotta make sure we keep doing it.”

Park City has three more region games remaining, starting with an away contest on Friday against Ben Lomond.

Montzingo’s focus is on defending last year’s region title by taking it one game at a time.

“We like to make sure that the region title goes through Park City,” he said.

Miners soccer falls to rival Wasatch

With the Park City soccer team celebrating senior night, the Miners looked to beat the Wasatch Wasps under the lights at Dozier Field. With 12 seniors on the team, the girls left their hearts on the field but came up just short in a 3-2 loss.

After the game, coach Tom Merchant celebrated the seniors despite the outcome.

“The seniors are the heart of this team,” he said. “You could see how much they wanted it. I just wish we could have come up with a better result.”

After falling behind 1-0 six minutes into the first half, Park City started to dominate the game but couldn’t find a way to get the ball into the back of the net. At the end of the half, the Miners remained down by a goal, looking for answers to score and take over the game.

At the start of the second half, Park City gave up another early goal, putting themselves in a 2-0 hole with 37 minutes left in the game. The Miners responded quickly with senior Eliza Merrion scoring just three minutes later to again make it a one-goal game. After an exchange of chances for both sides, senior Megan Lusher scored with 18 minutes left to make it a 2-2 tie. Unfortunately for the Miners, Wasatch responded shortly after by scoring the game-winning goal.

Even after the loss, Merchant noted positives about how close the team is to taking the next step. With the new Rating Power Index (RPI) playoff system in which every team makes the playoffs, the Miners’ focus is on getting the best position possible.

“We’re fighting the little things right now,” Merchant said. “We’re fighting now to get a better draw in the playoffs.”

Park City also remains focused on the ultimate goal of winning a state championship.

“I want to play in Rio Tinto Stadium,” Merchant said. “Even with the loss, that’s always our goal. … I think we have the team to do it, but we just have to keep fighting for it.”

Park City has two away games in a row, against Provo and Maple Mountain, then returns to the North 40 Fields for its final regular-season home game Sept. 24 against Salem Hills. The Miners will be looking for revenge as they suffered a tough loss to the Skyhawks earlier in the season in a penalty shootout.

Miners celebrate homecoming with 48-3 win over Ogden

On homecoming night at Dozier Field on Friday, the Park City football team dominated Ogden from start to finish.

Ending with a 48-3 win, the Miners started off quickly and used the momentum to cruise through the rest of the game.

After the game, coach Josh Montzingo credited his team’s success to its preparation leading up to the game.

“They put in a great week of work and it paid off,” he said.

Park City took a 34-3 lead at halftime behind four rushing touchdowns, including two from junior Max Alford — one of 68 yards and the other a 55-yard score. With a large lead, the Miners were able to experiment with different lineups and even get younger players experience in the second half.

“I’m just super proud of these guys,” Montzingo said. “It was a great team effort tonight.”

Importantly, many starters were able to rest near the end of the contest and begin preparing for the Miners’ next game against Stansbury. After starting the season with a close loss to defending state champion Sky View, Stansbury has bounced back with four straight wins by an average of 24 points, including two victories in Region 10 over Cedar Valley and Tooele.

“It’s a big region game for us,” said Montzingo.

With Park City and Stansbury being two of the three Region 10 teams that are 2-0 in region play, the winner of this game would gain a big advantage in winning the region title.

With a week until the game, Park City will make sure to watch film on Stansbury and set up a game plan to slow down the Stallions.

“We’ll have to go see what they got and try to work at stopping their best thing,” Montzingo said.

Park City will travel to Stansbury to face the Stallions on Friday.

Miners volleyball defeats Springville in straight sets

In the first sporting event in The Shaft since the final basketball game in February, the Park City volleyball team opened region play against the Springville Red Devils. Coming into the game, the Miners were looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season against Lone Peak.

Park City did just this as they defeated the Red Devils 25-22, 25-17, 27-25 in straight sets on Tuesday. The win put Park City’s record at 2-1. The Miners also won their season opener against Skyridge.

Even with the win, the Miners weren’t satisfied with their performance.

“I think that we played down to their level and I don’t think that we played our best,” said senior setter Maya Lopansri. “But we still showed that we know how to win, which is good.”

Throughout the night, Park City dealt with a feisty Springville squad that refused to give up. All three sets were back and forth, with a constant exchange of energy between the two teams. At the end of each set, Park City was able to finish the Devils with late runs, including a 9-1 streak to end the second set.

“As a team, we can work on playing our game consistently and eliminating the roller coasters,” Lopansri said.

The uneven play was especially apparent in the final set where Park City almost dropped a 22-16 lead before narrowly getting by with a 27-25 win. With a week of practice until their next game, the Miners, who are among the favorites in Class 5A, will look to find a balance in their play and show the rest of the region their abilities.

Park City’s next game is Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Salem Hills. Last year, Salem Hills and Park City split their match-ups during the regular season, but the Skyhawks got the best of the Miners in the state quarterfinals, beating them in five sets.

Park City football falls short in rematch of semifinal game

In a rematch of last year’s Class 4A semifinals in which Park City beat Pine View to reach the state title game, the Panthers came to Dozier Field looking to spoil the Miners’ senior night.

Pine View did just that, taking down Park City 41-40 on Friday evening as a dominant second half from the Miners fell just short of making up for a lethargic first two quarters.

At one point, it appeared the Panthers would walk away with the game. The Miners, plagued by multiple turnovers in the first half, found themselves down 27-0 early in the second quarter. After calming down, Park City went into halftime trailing 27-7 and looking to make some changes.

The main message Park City coach Josh Montzingo had for the Miners was to not worry about the scoreboard and to instead focus on cutting down the lead little by little.

“We just have to make one play at a time,” Montzingo said. “When we stack all of these plays together that are positive, we can turn this thing around.”

Montzingo’s words must have sunk in. Park City stifled Pine View and managed to snag a 28-27 lead early in the fourth quarter behind two rushing touchdowns, of 80 and 26 yards, from senior Kirby Baynes.

“We got a couple of substitutions, and those guys really caught some fire,” Montzingo said.

Park City senior Franklin Paas attempts to tackle Pine View senior Douglas Leung Choi during Friday’s game at Dozier Field.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

One of those halftime substitutions was sophomore quarterback Chase Beyer, who finished the game with two passing touchdowns.

After the Miners’ 28 straight points, the teams quickly exchanged touchdowns, making the game 34-33 with five minutes to go and the ball in the Panthers’ hands. Pine View responded with a 55-yard touchdown drive to take the lead with just over two minutes on the clock. Baynes answered with a 95-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, bringing the Miners within an extra point of tying it up.

Unfortunately for the Miners, the kick sailed wide right, keeping the Panthers up one. After an onside kick attempt failed, Park City looked to get the ball back by forcing a three and out. After the Miners used their final two timeouts, Pine View faced 3rd-and-1 with a chance to put the game out of reach with a first down. After a pileup at the marker, the referees awarded Pine View a first down, allowing the Panthers to run out the clock.

At the end of the game, Montzingo brought in the team and told them “sometimes Park City beats Park City.” But the most important thing he wanted them to know was that he “was so proud of them for fighting” and not giving up when they could have.

Baynes, who finished the game with three touchdowns, saw the game as a learning experience and thinks the Miners (1-2) “took a huge step in the right direction.”

Montzingo ended by honoring the team’s seniors by stating, “I was so proud of our seniors, they put their heart and soul out there tonight.”

The Miners’ next home game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 11, against Ogden.

Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame 2020 inductees announced

The Class of 2020 Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame welcomes inductees Randy Montgomery, Howard Peterson and Larry Warren. These inductees have numerous qualities worthy of the recognition, but there is a common thread that is paramount: an undeniable zeal to advance winter sports in the region to a higher level.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the postponement of the Sept. 24 induction dinner and awards ceremony that was scheduled at the Alf Engen Ski Museum, plaques highlighting the accomplishments and photos of the trio will be installed in the museum’s hall of fame in September, as per usual, said museum Executive Director Connie Nelson. Date for the induction ceremony is yet to be determined.

The 2020 installation will bring the total number of honorees to 83. The Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame was launched in 2002, the same year the museum was opened after serving as a media sub-center during the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The newest inductees includes:

• Randy Montgomery: A tireless promoter of Utah winter sports, Montgomery’s contributions range from being assistant marketing director at the Park City Ski Resort to vice president for marketing at Snowbird; serving as executive director of Ski Utah to directing Utah’s sports promotion agency, the Utah Sports Authority, which was responsible for overseeing construction of $59 million in Olympic winter sports facilities. In 1999, at the time of his death due to a motorcycle accident, Montgomery was working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and was executive director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation.

• Howard Peterson: He was an outspoken promoter of winter sports for Utah. And very effective. As a visionary leader of the U.S. Ski Association, he moved the organization to Utah in 1988 so athletes could be close to training and competition venues. He encouraged the U.S. Olympic Committee to consider a bid city that would commit to building and sustaining legacy after the Games, which led to Salt Lake City’s selection as the U.S. bid city in 1989. Later, his role in developing and managing the venue as a training and recreational site led to his developing a sustainable business model and forming the Soldier Hollow Foundation. He also developed the Soldier Hollow Charter School and led a fundraising effort that raised $1 million for a day lodge at the site. Peterson died in May.

• Larry Warren: His contributions to winter sports are primarily in the form of words founded in a multi-faceted 45-year career as a journalist, including 27 years at KUTV-2 in Salt Lake City and later as manager of Park City’s KPCW radio station. Warren’s words also appeared in freelance magazine articles and books he wrote relating to various ski history topics. In addition, his voice intoned numerous film and video productions and he was a lecturer, columnist and polished master of ceremonies at numerous functions, including the Ski Affair fundraiser for the University of Utah Marriott Library. His stories have appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, CNN and The Weather Channel. Warren received the 1995 Excellence in Ski Journalism Award from Ski Utah.

PCMR announces July 2 summer opening

Park City Mountain Resort will soon be back in action, announcing Thursday that it plans to open for the summer July 2. 

The resort said operations will be scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Offerings will include scenic lift rides, hiking and biking, the alpine slide and the mountain coaster, with grab-and-go dining available at Jupiter Java. 

“Park City summers are beautiful and we’re looking forward to enjoying the next few months here in the mountains that we all love,” said PCMR Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar in a prepared statement. “Although summer may look a bit different this year, we know people are eager to get back outside and we are thrilled to be opening this July with activities that our guests can safely enjoy in the outdoors.”

PCMR also indicated it will implement strict protocols to guard against the spread of COVID-19. The safety measures include requiring guests to physically distance, mandating they wear face masks in certain areas like lines and on the alpine slide and mountain coaster, and reducing the capacity of lifts and gondolas. 

Additionally, the resort will require employees to wear face masks and will frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces.

“While we are offering limited summer activities, we are lucky that our beautiful outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and to easily practice physical distancing so we all can safely return to the mountains we love,” said Pat Campbell, president of PCMR owner Vail Resorts’ mountain division, in a statement. “It is our expectation that guests help us ensure the experience is safe for them and for our employees by following our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to opening more activities and adventures at our resorts.” 

The summer opening would come three and a half months after the coronavirus forced a premature end to the ski season, which battered the ski industry financially. PCMR shortly after the early closure furloughed nearly 400 employees as part of Vail Resorts’ widespread cost-cutting measures in response to the pandemic. 

Summer operations are not nearly as crucial to mountain resorts’ financial well-being as the ski season, but the announcement of the summer opening is likely to be seen as positive news in Park City.  

Deer Valley Resort plans to open for the summer June 26.

The Park City Soccer Club is already training for the upcoming summer season

When Shelley Gillwald, executive director of the Park City Soccer Club, began to think about the possibility of reopening the club for the upcoming summer season, she knew there was one person she must consult with.

Enter Eli Ulvi, technical director of the Park City Soccer Club.

Gillwald knew that if the club was to reopen safely and have the kids come back with their parents supportive of that idea, Ulvi was going to have to be a big part of that process due to his closeness with the kids and his ability to connect with them.

“For our kids to be able to regain some normalcy and get back to the connecting the people in their lives, that was important to us,” Gillwald said. “I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I wasn’t a little anxious, but I’m super thankful that I have Eli and that he and I are on the same page. We have a board, with some people who are in the healthcare system, that supports us and believes in what we are doing so that does help a lot.”

With the help of the “Return to Training” subcommittee formed by PCSC, Gillwald and Ulvi came up with a detailed plan to get kids back on the field that was within the guidelines implemented by the Summit County Health Department.

“We kept our eyes on everything going on within the county and the rest of the state, as well as other soccer associations from other counties to see how they were going about reopening,” Ulvi said. “Some of our board members were involved with other areas in Park City as far as returning to normalcy, so their knowledge definitely helped. But for us, we elected to be more restrictive than we needed to be just because safety has been and always will be our top priority.”

Now, every coach has a kit with them that they use during any practice or training session. Included in the kit are gloves, disinfectant and a thermometer that are used at every session.

In order to make sure that coaches were familiar with how Gillwald and Ulvi expected to run the sessions, they held a model session for coaches on social distancing and sanitizing facilities.

They even went so far as to have designated dropoff and pickup times to hopefully avoid large groups of kids and their parents coming and going at the same time, this way to avoid any unnecessary contact and spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I do think that the plan we have is a very good one and that it’s allowing our kids to come back and train at a high level, and without their parents having to worry,” Gillwald said. “We know that not everyone is comfortable coming back right now and that’s fine, we support that. But for those who are back, we want to make sure that we can support them also and I think we’ve been able to do that.”

The majority of those guidelines were made when Summit County was in the orange phase of Gov. Herbert’s plan. But by the time the kids and coaches were allowed to resume training, Summit County had moved into the yellow phase, allowing for the easing of restrictions and more possibilities training-wise.

“Just because we are in yellow now and that allows us to do more, we are in still more restrictive in some ways,” Ulvi said. “This does allow us to go back to scrimmaging with normal capacity and without social distancing, but we still have our coaches wearing a mask when within 10 feet of any player or addressing the team. We are trying not to share equipment, cleaning hands at every break and trying to keep them as distanced as possible.”

Thus far, training sessions for kids who were on the teams last season have gone well. But they’re expected to get much more competitive over the next two weeks as “player placement” sessions are set to run on Tuesday and Wednesday of this upcoming week, and Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week. The younger kids will have their placement sessions this week while the older kids will do theirs the following week.

“All of our staff will be on hand to assess the players,” Ulvi said. “We really try to look at the bigger picture as soon as possible. It will be so much more than how the player performs during those two days, we will be assessing them off their full year involvement in the organization.”

According to Gillwald and Ulvi, there are still some families who don’t have their kids out participating and training — and that’s perfectly okay with them. They understand what’s going on in society and they support any decision these families are making regarding their respective safety.

PCSC is expected to compete in the statewide summer league, which is set to begin on June 22 through the middle of July. Usually, the summer is reserved for tournaments before the league games take place in September, but with many of them being canceled, this league is a way to get the kids’ competitive juices flowing.

But Ulvi isn’t ruling out playing in any tournaments this summer. It will depend on the teams and their comfort level, as well as the restrictions for the respective counties that will be hosting the tournaments.

“Things are opening across the state, and it sounds like things are going into the green phase more quickly with events being held so we’ll just wait and see,” Ulvi said. “We don’t know about out-of-state or national tournaments yet, but we typically have state and regional tournaments first so if those happen, then we’ll see. It’s all a domino effect so if those are happening, other bigger ones might be happening.”

The Park City Baseball Miners — a club that is made up of almost entirely Park City High School kids — begins its summer season on Monday

It’s been a very weird time for David Feasler as of late.

With the sun shining bright and temperatures reaching the mid-70s, the Park City High School baseball coach is typically preparing his Miners for the UHSAA state baseball tournament. But with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down high school sports, Feasler has been relegated to just working on the baseball field with none of his players in sight.

“If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that baseball guys have to be on a baseball field during this time of the year when the weather is perfect,” Feasler said. “It’s been hard not doing what I love, especially because this is the longest break from baseball I’ve had in any form of life since I was a little kid, probably. I’m so pumped because I need baseball in my life. … And with nothing happening in half of March and all of April and May, it’s really exciting to be able to get back to work and get those competitive juices flowing.”

The reason for that excitement is that while the high school season didn’t happen, Feasler and his motley crew are getting back to work on the diamond.

The Park City Baseball Miners, a club team that is made up of almost entirely Park City High School kids, is beginning its summer season on Monday, June 8 at Orem High School.

The Miners, which are composed of a varsity team and an underclassmen team, will be playing three days a week for the next five weeks. The varsity squad will play doubleheaders on Tuesdays that are set to begin at 4 p.m., while the underclassmen will play single games on Mondays and Thursdays at 5 p.m.

“I originally came into the office last Friday (May 29) to figure out who I needed to talk too so we could find a way to play,” Feasler said. “But then I found out later that same day that we were approved and going to gave a league season. … Then Jamie Sheetz (Park City High School activities director) told me we are good to go starting Monday so it was all about calling the boys and making sure we were ready to go when Monday around.”

Feasler wasn’t the only high school coach in the area with the idea of playing summer baseball.

According to him, the Utah Summer League came about because he and other coaches wanted to find a way to play this summer. So after multiple conversations over the past few weeks, they finally figured out a safe and responsible way to organize the league that complied with all of the restrictions laid out by their respective counties.

Typically summer leagues come after the grueling spring high school seasons, so they’re used more for development and fun than competition. Feasler said that will be one of the changes taking place this season because the Miners are all in this summer and looking to win.

“It’s going to be serious for us because I’ll be putting a team out there that’s going to give us our best chance at winning some ball games,” Feasler said. “The summer is usually developmental but since we missed the spring season, I felt very comfortable going out there to compete and win. What’s great is that the kids are in the same boat and with the same mindset. … They want to go out and compete, and win some ball games.”

However one thing this summer season won’t do is make up for the lack of a spring season.

While it still hurts that the Miners couldn’t send their seniors off the right way, Feasler said they’re moving past it and he’s looking forward to coaching those seniors one more time. And those seniors are looking forward to suiting up with their old teammates again.

“It’s my last chance to play with Feasler and those guys and there’s no way I’m going to miss this chance,” said former senior Ryan Jeffrey. “It’s just been great to be out on the field again, laughing and practicing with my teammates again. We were off to a really good start earlier this year so it was weird how it ended, but at least we get a chance to play together again.”

The competition is expected to be stiff this summer as both Bingham, Riverton and a team made up of college athletes are among those in the 12-team league. According to Feasler, Bingham is one of the top teams in the state regardless of classification and Riverton was off to a 3-0 start this past spring.

Playing against such good competition is part of what Feasler is most excited about because he believes it’ll help the development of his younger players, led by to-be seniors Kellen Denkers, Ryan Hunt and Nick Stokes.

“This is a really talented class. … And with 13 of them in it, there’s easily seven or eight of them who could play a major role for us this summer and next season,” Feasler said.

The Miners will also be participating in at least two tournaments throughout the summer, giving them around 20-25 games in the season. They’ll play in the Firecracker Tournament and a Pioneer Day weekend tournament, both of which will take place in July.

Free Fishing Day is Saturday

Saturday is Free Fishing Day at all of Utah’s public bodies of water, a good day for someone to try their hand at fishing for the first time, according to Division of Wildlife Resources officials.

Some good local spots include the Jordanelle, Strawberry and Deer Creek reservoirs, where both new and experienced anglers can vie for multiple species of fish.

The event is timed for early June because it occurs just after the peak snowmelt runoff, which means fish are hungry and looking for food, making for “hot fishing,” according to DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger.

“Streams also often hit optimum temperatures during June, which increases the fish’s metabolism rates, making it so they need to eat a lot,” Oplinger said in a press release.

The DWR also offers a downloadable certificate for anglers to commemorate their first catch, available on their website.

While a fishing license is not required, areas like state parks may still charge fees for access.

“Because you don’t need a license to fish that day, it’s the perfect time to take a family member with you and introduce them to the sport,” Oplinger said. “And, early June is one of the best times to fish in Utah. All of the fish in the state, both warm-water and cold-water fish, are active and willing to bite this time of the year.”