Jaylen Warren, East (Sr.)
In 2013, East’s Ula Tolutau rushed for 2,465 yards, the third most in state history. Three years later another East running back is on pace to shatter that record.
Jaylen Warren, the reigning Desert News 4A MVP, rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns in East’s victory over Bonneville last week.
In six games this season, Warren has rushed for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 97 carries.
With a yards per game average of 220.6, that projects to 3,088 yards if East plays the maximum 14 games this season. That would shatter the current state record of 2,561 rushing yards set by Kelly Smith in 1979.
His best performance came at De La Salle, California, two weeks ago as Warren carried the ball 256 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jaylen has great vision in the hole, exceptional feet that help him attack open areas, and tremendous balance,” said East coach Brandon Matich. “But most importantly, he’s very humble, and wants to defer all credit to his team.”
Heidi Smith, Snow Canyon (Fr.)
Heidi Smith scored a pair of very important goals last week as Snow Canyon vaulted to the front of the Region 9 pack.
Last Tuesday, she scored a goal in Snow Canyon’s 2-1 win over Dixie, and then two days later followed it up with a goal in a 2-0 win over Pine View.
“Heidi is a great addition to our team this year. She is a freshman with great technical ability and an even greater work ethic. Heidi is always trying to find ways to improve as a soccer player and teammate. Her coaches and teammates love her energy and passion for the game. She has great instincts on the pitch and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time,” said Snow Canyon coach Kenny Kunde.
Allie Zehner, Rowland Hall (Jr.)
This junior outside hitter can do just about anything and everything the Rowland Hall volleyball team may need.
In the team’s win last week, she earned 34 kills, 23 digs and four aces.
“Only a junior, Allie is a very talented athlete who has blossomed into an impact player for us this season,” said head coach Kendra Tomsic. “She is one of our team captains, and her leadership by example, as well as her skill as a passer, hitter, server, digger and blocker, makes her an invaluable part of our team.”
Brittany Jones, Lone Peak (Sr.)
This senior continued to make huge strides this season with an impressive performance at the Nebo Invitational at Salem Hills last week.
After racing in several JV races earlier in the season, she finished first in the 3-mile varsity Nebo meet with a time of 18:34, edging Herriman’s Micaela Rivera by 10 seconds.
Jaiden Melendrez, Desert Hills (Sr.)
No matter where this Desert Hills’ senior races, he’s making a big impression.
Already this year he’s recorded victories at the Cedar All-Comers meet and the SUU Invitational, in addition to a second-place finish at the BYU Invite. Two weeks ago at the Woodbridge Classic in Norco, California, he placed fourth against a terrific field.
His time of 14:13 at the Woodbridge meet is the fourth-fastest three-mile time in the nation.
“Jaiden had his best summer of training this year. He has lofty individual goals this season but has repeatedly stated the big goal is to bring home a fourth straight 3A state cross-country team championship back to Desert Hills,” said Desert Hills coach Logan Fielding.
“Jaiden is quiet but leads his teammates by example. The sky is the limit with him as he moves forward his senior year. He loves the competition of the student/athletes in the extremely deep field of Utah runners that constantly push him to be the best he can be.”
On the track, Melendrez was won the 3A state title in the 1,600 and 3,200 races the past two years.
Hayden Banz, East (Sr.)
Hayden Banz wrapped up a dominant season in Region 5 by shooting a 69 at Eagle Mountain in the last match of the season, tying for first at the meet.
He finishes the season with a combined 20-under score in nine matches this season, which was 16 strokes better than the second-place finisher.
His low of the season came at Riverside on Aug. 8, when he shot a 64, four strokes better than the second-place finisher.
Banz is also a starter on East’s boys basketball team, and averaged 10.0 and 1.9 steals last season.
Kenzie Turley, Davis (Fr.)
This freshman continues to live up to the lofty expectations associated with her last name.
Turley has yet to drop a match at second singles this season, and will be the favorite at the 5A state tournament in two weeks.
Her older sister, Whitney Turley, plays first singles and will graduate early in January and join the University of Utah tennis team in February. Another of her sisters, Breezy Turley, is already on the Utes team.
Her oldest sister, Lexi Turley, played collegiate tennis at Utah State and is an assistant coach on this year’s team.
“She joins the Davis team as a young freshman tournament ready. Being the youngest among four Turley girls, she has been playing older and stronger competition her whole life. It has made her a better tennis player and able to play against the best in 5A tennis despite the competitions’ strength and experience,” said Davis coach Andrew Wahlstrom.
Danny Donlevy, St. Joseph (Sr.)
This senior center fielder continues to be a major contributor for St. Joseph in his fourth year as a starter on the team.
He’s batting .636 this year with 13 extra base hits, including two inside-the-park home runs. He has 19 stolen bases and has not been caught stealing.
Back on Sept. 6 in a lopsided win over Wendover, he hit for the cycle.
“His leadership on and off the field has helped the Jayhawks win three region championships in a row (the previous three years),” said coach Steve Mendez.
James Edward is the Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org