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Taylorsville Journal

Bobcats win several sports titles

Apr 10, 2018 04:45PM ● By Greg James

Brian Fries and the Bennion Junior High boys basketball team captured the Granite School District championship. (Brian Fries/Bennion Jr High)

Bennion Junior High has two mottos, “Get Involved” and “Bennion Strong.”

The Granite School District began a new intramural sports program along with its competitive athletic experience in 2017–18 for students. In addition to having the traditional competitive athletic teams, it will implement a blended experience to provide exercise, recreation and competition.

“It keeps kids involved,” Bennion volleyball coach Tami Decora said. “So many kids today seem attached to some electronic device. Getting involved in an extracurricular activity has so many benefits.”

The Bobcats participate in GSD athletic activities such as basketball, cross country, soccer, track and field, volleyball and wrestling.

The boys volleyball team won its second straight district championship. It defeated Olympus Jr. High 25-23, 24-26, 25-21.

“This year’s team had a lot of pressure on them,” Decora said. “They wanted to prove that last year’s win was not a fluke. We beat Olympus Jr., and it was huge. We had no returning players, but we were so athletic.” 

James and John Gavin, TJ Kavapalu, Kai Evans, Max Harker and Max Copper were all members of the volleyball team. The team’s grade point average was 3.75.

The school community supported its teams too. At the volleyball championship game, Bennion fans packed the stands. Decora said it was intense.

“I feel it builds school spirit,” she said. “The students at Bennion are very supportive of their peers. I call them ‘super fans.’ Our student section is always packed, and we definitely have a home-court advantage due to our fans getting loud.” 

The boys basketball team also won the district championship. It defeated Olympus Jr. 65-60. Head coach Brian Fries said all his players stood out, including James Gavin, Brison Peisley and John Gavin. The players did what was needed no matter what.

“The boys on the team were all amazing,” Fries said. “I commented to my assistant coaches several times that I had never been part of a team like these boys. They supported each other. Academically, they are successful. They are involved in student government. Winning was just a bonus. Even if we had lost, the boys would have walked away with smiles on their faces.”

In other sports such as cross country, Grayson Spencer and Max Rusin finished in the district top 10, and the boys soccer team won the championship 2-1 over Olympus Jr. 

“I personally love being part of this team,” Fries said. “Watching them play and enjoying their success while helping them work through their failures was a highlight for me.” 

Decoa explained the other benefits of junior high sports. 

“It strengthens relationships with other kids,” she said. “It keeps them focused on their grades to keep them eligible to play. Some students even get to go to college because of sports.”

The Granite School District programs are designed to enhance the academic experience. Junior High Schools such as Kennedy, Kearns, Churchill, Bonneville and Eisenhower participate in the after-school programs.  

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