An extraordinary class in athletics and academics |

An extraordinary class in athletics and academics

Gary Twitchell, South Summit High School Principal

Editor’s note: South Summit High School Principal Gary Twitchell delivered the following remarks to the South Summit High School Class of 2010 at graduation Thursday evening.

At the end of each year I look at what the school has accomplished and I try to see where we can improve. So it was last year as I was reading the Deseret News. Every year for the past 36 years, the Deseret News has given out what it calls the All-Sports Award. This award denotes the top over-all athletic programs in each of the five classifications. Points are awarded for placing in the top 8 positions at state.

Last year we finished a very respectable 5th place. However, when I noticed the point differential between the 4th place school and our score I realized that if any of our teams had won just one more game at state, then we would have passed them for 4th place. Just one game by one team. This started me thinking. What would happen if ALL our teams won just one more game.

At the start of the year, I went to (Vice Principal) Troy Coil and told him that I thought we could win the award, but it would take a consolidated effort by everyone. Mr. Coil met with the coaches and told them that our goal this year was to win the Deseret News All-Sports Award. He issued the challenge, "Win just one more game than last year at state."

XC started us off. The boys earned 1 point toward our goal by placing 8th and the girls got us 3 points by taking 6th.

Boys golf boosted us 8 points with a second place finish and our first State trophy of the year.

Girls soccer made it to the quarter finals adding 2 points

Volleyball then pulled off some huge upsets at the State Tournament by knocking off top ranked schools and making it to the finals to add our second State trophy.

Football likewise finished second, added a third State trophy, and gave us an early lead toward our goal.

It was now time for winter sports.

The wrestling team continued their history of dominance by winning the region and earning yet another State trophy.

Drill, under a new coach, surprised many by placing 5th with a relatively young team.

Diving also surprised us. They finished 2nd in State despite competing against much larger schools such as Alta, Jordan, and Park City.

Then came basketball. A strong Region placed South Summit in a difficult bracket. Top ranked South Sevier stood in our way to the finals. The team responded to the challenge in a thrilling game and then dispatched Region Champion Waterford in a similar fashion in the finals. Finally, a first place and 10 points toward our goal.

We had a good sized lead heading into the Spring Sports, but the Spring favored warmer climate schools that had access to dry, non-snow covered fields.

Baseball started us off with a region title and a State appearance to add 11/2 points to our total.

The soccer team won their first region soccer title and made it to the semi-finals to

add 5 1/2 points.

Softball also won a region title, to get into the State Tournament. In the Semi-finals they knocked off top ranked San Juan to reach the reach the championship game for the first time in South Summit history. They claimed second place and added yet another State trophy.

I worried about our ability to hold our lead. Both San Juan and Grand have strong spring sports programs and they were closing the gap.

Girls’ golf needed to step up. They did. They won the region title and placed second in State to add our seventh State trophy.

Each team responded. Each team did their part. The result. For the first time ever, South Summit High School can lay claim to being the top over-all athletic program among all 2A schools. We are the Deseret News All-Sports Champions.

This is a great accomplishment, but there were equally great accomplishments in other areas.

Our chorus program continues to excel as you have witnessed tonight.

Our FFA program was recognized as a Superior National Chapter and took first place in State Horse Judging

Drama also qualified for State and brought home a state championship.

Our Band program competed against 4A and 5A teams and matched them. They were the only 2A school to receive the highest ranking possible in both performance and site reading, and they are the 2A state champions.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, because the primary function of a school is education, I would like to congratulate this year’s seniors and all of our students on their academic success. KSL lists the top academic programs in the state. Schools receive points based upon graduation rates, performance on end-of-level tests, AP enrollment and over-all academic progress. This year, South Summit earned a very prestigious ranking as the highest rated academic, public 2A school in Utah.

One more game, one more practice, one more study session.

This is the difference between good, and great. I encourage all our students to put forth that extra effort needed to achieve greatness.

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