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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton athletics reign in Region 6, faces slightly new look next year

Jun 28, 2021 02:52PM ● By Jerry Christensen

Haley Taylor helped lead the girls lacrosse team to the semifinals this year. (Photo courtesy Shane Augason)

By Jerry Christensen | [email protected] 

This year marks a change in the UHSAA school regions. The Region 6 collection of 5A schools on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley (Brighton, Hillcrest, Cottonwood, Murray, Highland, Olympus, East and Skyline) is reconfigured to include Park City but excludes Hillcrest and Cottonwood. This change adds stiffer competition for Brighton in sports such as lacrosse (boys and girls), basketball, football and wrestling. 

Brighton ended the athletic year in May by driving deep into the state playoffs in tennis, track, swimming, soccer and newly sanctioned lacrosse. Coincidently, it was Park City’s boys and girls lacrosse teams that stopped Brighton lacrosse teams in the semifinals preventing the coveted finals appearance. A new rivalry begins with Park City. 

Not unlike the Utah Jazz, Brighton excelled athletically in the regular season in most of the 18 UHSAA sanctioned high school sports. And like the Jazz, postseason playoffs proved somewhat disappointing—the notable exceptions were top-four finishes in soccer, swimming, tennis and lacrosse among strong statewide competition from the 31 5A schools. Swimming and boys tennis were edged out of state championships by the narrowest of margins. 

But Brighton reigned as the juggernaut of Region 6 during the 2020-21 athletic season. Of the 18 UHSAA-sanctioned sports, Brighton teams were in the top two of 14 of those sports. Regional title trophies were earned by eight of those teams. Of Brighton’s region dominance, Principal Tom Sherwood observed, “Brighton athletics continue to match the school’s academic achievements by winning titles and scholarships. It is a long tradition of 50 excellent years.”

Notable in the display case full of 2020-21 “pandemic-era” region titles is the football trophy that represents an undefeated region run and a single loss in the quarterfinals. The hotly contested girls lacrosse region title was decided on Brighton’s Freestone Field in the waning moments of the final season game against Olympus. Three region wrestling rivals (Brighton, Murray and Olympus) wrangled for the region title, but it was Brighton who brought home the hardware after the title came down to a single wrestler beating his Murray rival in the last match of the season. Boys soccer won Region 6 by a wide margin continuing its long-term dominance. 

The new Region 6 will be a bigger challenge for Brighton athletes and teams. However, as rival schools have experienced before, Brighton is a force to be reckoned with.