The second half of the year brought its own set of elating highs and crushing lows in the local sports and outdoors scene. Slowly but surely, the days began to shorten, and the heat started to subside. As summer gave way to fall, Moab’s youth returned to the classroom and another exciting sports season got underway.
Certainly, the Red Devil football team drew the biggest crowds, and deservingly so. The program had its best season in years as the team reached the state championship game for the first time since 2013. After a thrilling win over rival San Juan to claim the region title, the Red Devils’ run deep into the playoffs was only foiled by the formidable defending champs, South Summit.
We should not forget about the girls cross-country team, which recorded an equally impressive season by winning the region and taking second at the 3A state championship race. Kylah Ricks led a stellar team performance to claim the individual gold medal.
While Grand County High’s other fall sports teams didn’t fare quite as well, the effort and passion of Moab’s talented young athletes was always noticeable.
As summer doldrums were replaced by crisp fall air, tourists finally ceded the town back to the locals. The Moab Folk Festival, Day of the Dead festivities, WabiSabi’s annual Thanksgiving dinner and other events brought the community together in celebration even as residents navigated through hardship and tragedy.
As we look back on the year that was, let us reminisce over the victories and fun times before we turn to the year ahead and plan to make more memories. Thank you for reading The Times-Independent and may 2019 hold more good things in store for us all. July 5
As temperatures crept into the triple-digits, many Moabites looked to the mountains for their summer recreation opportunities. Though Moab is known for its biking trails through the red rock desert, the La Sal Mountains offer miles upon miles of intermediate and expert trails. The world-renowned Whole Enchilada Trail that begins at Burro Pass and descends 8,000 feet down Porcupine Rim to the Colorado River is the biggest draw, but there are numerous other options. Local biking enthusiast Ryan Lowe said he planned to spend a lot of the summertime exploring bike trails in the mountains. “It’s also usually 20 degrees cooler up there and shady, much more ideal than Moab in the summer,” he said.
The Moab Free Concert Series kicked off its month-long run of Friday evening shows at Swanny Park with New Orleans trombonist Glen David Andrews. Coinciding with the Moab Farmers Market, the concert series was open to the public and brought together tourists and locals alike to enjoy several types of music. The Farmers Market provided a variety of tasty meal options and a beer garden.
Moab Action Shots celebrated its 25th anniversary of capturing the thrills and spills of recreationists in the red rock canyons. The company is best known for its pictures of whitewater adventures, but it also photographs bikers, jeeps, local events and races. Dave Eggeling and Mike Jensen officially took over the business in 2013 and have remained dedicated to getting great pictures. The duo paddles their inflatable kayak filled with camera equipment down the river each day and hikes up the cliffs to find the best vantage points, which often results in stunning shots of whitewater action.
Grand County received the Rural Incident of the Year Award from the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness. The accident happened one evening in September 2017 just before sunset when three experienced BASE jumpers leapt off a wall named “French Kiss”on Lower Gemini Bridge Road. Ammon McNeely struck the wall, which resulted in a partial parachute collapse and a freefall from 400 feet above the ground. Grand County Search and Rescue, Department of Public Safety emergency helicopter pilots, emergency medical technicians, and Grand County Sheriff’s Office worked together to perform life-saving care for McNeely throughout the night until he could be life-flighted to Grand Junction.
Two Grand County High softball players garnered all-state honors following the 2018 season. Jaci Shumway was named to the all-state first team for 3A, a considerable achievement for a freshman. Tyra Robertson earned a place on the all-state second team and played in the senior all-star game to cap off her final season as a Red Devil. As Shumway looks forward to continued success on the Devil softball diamond, Robertson will head to Lake Region State College in South Dakota to play on its softball squad.
During the spring, local community members rallied to help construct a new playground at the Moab Montessori Center, a private school for children ages 15 months to seven years. Xtreme 4x4 Tours and Pizza Hut held fundraisers, Raven’s Rim Zipline donated irrigation equipment, Moab Landscape Maintenance donated resources and the use of its crew while many other friends, neighbors and parents also helped. “Our mission is to provide excellent educational opportunities for the families of Moab,” said the center’s director Jessica Driskell. “This outpouring of support shows that people love what we are doing and that we are moving in the right direction.”
Summer brought with it a variety of activities for Moab’s youth. Some kids built a connection with horses and learned horsemanship skills at an equestrian camp hosted by the Canyonlands Back Country Horsemen at the Old Spanish Trail Arena. The Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center held swim lessons all summer and even needed to add an extra session due to the unprecedented size of the waiting list. Other children enjoyed activities at the weekly 4-H club meetings throughout the summer. The Grand County office of 4-H gave kids an opportunity to have fun while learning skills like roller-skating, playing the ukulele, sewing, creating computer code, playing tennis and more.
The Grand County football team spent some of the annual football camp in Moab before traveling to Duchesne for a day of drills and scrimmaging. With a tough game against Morgan for the season-opener, the Red Devils had their work cut out for them.
Low water and warm weather resulted in a season of stressful conditions for the fish of the Colorado River. Local guides began noticing small numbers of belly-up fish in the river. Catfish and other sport fish escaped from reservoirs were the hardest hit, since non-native species are more susceptible to extreme fluctuations in temperature, flow and turbidity. Notably, no native fish deaths were reported. Guide Jonah Boyer said, “I’ve seen catfish halfway dead swimming up to the boat, almost like they’re asking for help. It’s really sad to see all the fish dying in the river.”
The Red Devil marching band requested help from the Moab community to purchase new uniforms. Auburn Jackman, the band’s drum major, said new official uniforms would “boost confidence and presentation.” The band held its annual “Band Aid” fundraiser at Swanny Park during the Farmers Market and unveiled its show music and routine for the coming year. Jackman expressed gratitude to the community: “We thank you for supporting the band program and helping us keep music alive in the hearts of Moab’s young people!”
A paleontology camp drew more than 20 girl scouts from around Utah to Moab for a week of activities and art projects. They learned about the scientific method, geology of the area, anatomy, reading maps and the formation of fossils. Participants said highlights included learning about bones and using them to identify animals, researching earth’s history and looking at the rocks around Moab. The camp was led by Bureau of Land Management paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster who said the camp was a great opportunity for the girls to have fun, learn about dinosaurs and see female scientists in action.
The Youth Garden Project had a busy summer with eight weeks of camp that kept dozens of first through sixth grade kids occupied with a variety of outdoor activities. The organization also developed more opportunities for middle and high school students through its new “Garden Ambassador” teen job-training program. It employed two Moab teens in its pilot year and is looking to expand through a partnership with the high school.
A new school year at Grand County High brought with it an exciting new program. Career and Technical Education added a bicycle repair program to its slate of class offerings. A $50,000 special programs grant from the Utah State Board of Education funded the new program. Nonprofit Project Bike Tech designed the curriculum and helped get good deals on equipment to stretch the grant dollars. Principal Stephen Hren pointed out that the high school is working to add programs that make sense for the Moab community. “We’re just trying to grow things and do things that will help our community specifically,” he said.
Grand County High’s young athletes geared up for the fall season. Starting ranked third in 2A, the Red Devil football team looked to improve on its playoff run that ended in the semifinals the previous season. The girls soccer team got off to a good start with a win over Millard. Boys golf placed third in the season’s first tournament in Richfield. The cross-country team held early morning practices to beat the heat in preparation for its first meet. The volleyball team and girls tennis team also warmed up for fall competition.
Officials warned that despite low water, drowning danger in the Colorado River was still high. The Utah Department of Health estimated that 26 Utahns die from unintentional drowning each year, with infants to four-year olds having the highest rate of drowning deaths. It may be tempting to wade in without a life jacket, but it is never worth the high-risk factor. Experts said it was vital to remain vigilant when children are playing around water. Water can be dangerous at any depth but taking precautions like designating an adult to be “water watcher,” always wearing life jackets, and enclosing pools and hot tubs with fences can greatly mitigate the danger.
The Red Devil football and cross-country teams kicked off their fall seasons. The football team, competing for its final season in 2A, opened its fall campaign against the second-ranked team in 3A, the Morgan Trojans. Grand fell behind early and couldn’t close the gap as Morgan used its home-field advantage and scored 35 unanswered points in the first half. Meanwhile, the cross-country team ran in its first meet of the season in Salt Lake City. It was a tough field of competition with larger schools from around the state in attendance, which was compounded by unusually strenuous conditions. Despite high temperatures and humidity plus smoke-filled air, the team ran well. Evan Ellison and Malachi Ricks were the top finishers for Grand, taking eighth and 12th place respectively in the junior varsity division.
Volunteer group Skate Moab continued hosting “Community Skate Nights” at the Old Spanish Trail Arena on the last Friday of every month. Like the disco roller rinks of the 1970s, the events featured music and party lights. Free rental skates were available for locals while visitors paid $5 for the privilege. Organizer Erin Trim said the cooperative activity “encourages a happy and healthy community through the joy of skating.”
Grand’s football team crushed Emery in its first home game of the season. The Red Devils defeated the Spartans 42-17 after getting out to an early lead that they never relinquished. Grand outscored Emery 35-7 in the first half and then coasted to a win. Senior receiver Stacy Randall had the standout performance of the game, racking up 194 yards on five catches and getting into the end zone twice. It was a good first win for Grand as the team returned to the high level of play it was at during the previous season, said head coach Dennis Wells.
Other GCHS sports took off to the races as the fall season truly got underway. The cross-country team had another strong showing at the season’s second meet in Saratoga Springs. The unusual course was relatively short but required runners to navigate obstacles, like jumping over hay bales. Though she was still recovering from bronchitis, sophomore Kylah Ricks impressed observers by finishing second out of 220 competitors. The defending state champion boys golf team won its second tournament in a row in Monticello by edging out Richfield by a single stroke. The girls tennis team was busy with a series of home matches, losing to Manti but then bouncing back with wins over San Juan and Emery. The varsity volleyball squad began its season by beating Grantsville and losing to Kanab at the Flyer Invitational Tournament in St. George.
The Red Devil volleyball squad split its first two home games of the season, falling to Emery and then bouncing back to defeat Richfield two days later. Grand played hard in the home opener but lost to the Spartans in three straight sets. Against the Wildcats, Grand played much better as a team and won in four sets. Sophomore Jessica Jones played well in her outside hitter position, racking up numerous kills across the two games.
Grand’s football team picked up its first road win of the season with a dominant victory over American Leadership Academy. The Red Devils’ relentless running game proved unstoppable as Grand marched its way to a 56-14 victory. Consistently good blocking from the offensive line kept the Red Devils moving the ball while the defense forced the Eagles to commit numerous turnovers.
The cross-country team performed well at the high-elevation course at Loyd’s Lake in Monticello. Both the boys and girls varsity teams finished in second place overall. Individually, each squad had three runners finish in the top five. For the boys, Malachi Ricks took second while Evan Ellison and Arthur Hawks finished in fourth and fifth respectively. On the girls side, Kylah Ricks took first with her closest competitor more than a minute behind. Anika Scherer placed third and Jessie Anderson took fourth place.
Austin Wright Paris, a fifth grader at HMK, was chosen as a finalist for Utah Elementary School Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling Utah for the third year in a row after winning the award last season. Paris finished the 2017-2018 season with a record of 226 wins, 17 losses and 38 championship titles. He won state titles in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman, which earned him the Utah Triple Crown for the second time.
The girls cross-country team earned a big win on its home turf by taking first at the meet held at the Moab Golf Club. The boys team also did well, finishing in third overall. Three girls finished in the top five with Kylah Ricks leading the way in first place followed by Anika Scherer in third and Jessie Anderson in fourth. The boys had two top 10 finishers with Evan Ellison in fourth and Malachi Ricks in seventh.
Moab’s Red Devil Mountain Bike team sent 22 riders to a Utah High School Cycling League event at a new course in Richfield. The team included high school athletes as well as some seventh and eighth graders. Several Moab riders earned top-20 placements in their respective divisions. Most notable was Elijah Topper’s second place finish in the junior varsity category.
Grand’s volleyball team earned another home win by sweeping Monticello in three close sets. The Buckaroos battled hard to keep the game tight, but a few clutch serves from sophomore Jaci Shumway pushed Grand over the top. Following the win, the Red Devils had a weekend road trip where they dominated Manti and lost a narrow five-set game to North Sanpete.
The football team suffered a home loss in a nail-biting defensive showdown against Millard. Grand came up just short as the Eagles eked out a 20-19 win. Costly turnovers and penalties at inopportune moments derailed the Devils down the stretch. The game came right down to the wire as the Red Devils failed to convert a two-point conversion late in the game that would’ve given them the lead.
The football homecoming game went well as the team’s unrelenting defense led the squad to a 20-point victory over South Sevier. A stifling defensive performance held the Rams to only 14 points and forced four turnovers to set up easy scores for Grand’s offense. Junior quarterback Bryant Troutt punched in four touchdowns on the ground to put Grand up 27-7 at halftime. Grand’s defense kept the pressure up and Grand cruised to its first region win in front of the rowdy homecoming crowd.
In other homecoming events, the girls soccer and tennis teams both won while the volleyball team lost to San Juan. The boys golf team took second at its tournament. Of course, the annual parade was a big hit as the homecoming royalty dazzled the community members gathered to grab some candy and celebrate Grand County High’s sports and activities.
The girls soccer team had a tough week, falling 3-1 to Richfield on the road then tying Emery in a hard fought match at home. Emery scored fast, knocking in a chip shot in the game’s opening minute, but Grand’s Corah Moody quickly responded with a goal off an assist from Josie Camps. Moody then gave Grand the lead with a dagger shot into the corner. Emery scored from close range to even the score. The game remained tied at halftime and an intense midfield battle ensued with neither team able to score again. Both goalkeepers stepped up, especially in the two 10-minute overtime periods, and saved numerous potential game-winners.
Grand’s football team notched its second region win with a shutout victory against North Sevier. The Red Devils spoiled North Sevier’s homecoming by holding the Wolves scoreless while putting up 30 points of their own. A few good special teams plays provided the only highlights for the Wolves as Grand’s defense proved totally immovable. Grand’s three-pronged rushing attack of Bryant Troutt, Corbin Arbon and Trent Elmore was too much for North Sevier to handle.
The Red Devil Mountain Bike team raced on its home turf at the Moab Brands Trail System north of town. Moab’s team fronted 24 riders who all raced with heart and pushed Moab to a sixth place finish out of 20 Division 2 teams. Despite having to replace a flipped chain on the final lap, Elijah Topper took second place in the boys Junior Varsity race. Ariann Child improved from previous races to take fifth in the girls freshman category.
Grand’s volleyball team had a packed week with three consecutive games in three days. The Red Devils beat the Buckaroos in a tightly contested game in Monticello that went to five sets. Then, Grand returned home to defeat Manti in four sets and lose to North Sanpete. Things looked dire in Monticello when Grand lost the first two sets, but the team rallied and won three sets in a row to claim the victory. Before the win over Manti, Grand honored its senior players, Cortney Noyes and Kay Watson.
The girls tennis team finished its season by competing in the state championship tournament. Biw Thanutchaya and Kiersten Kimmerle both won their opening matches but lost in the quarterfinals. After the solid season, the team only lost one senior, so good things were in store for next season.
The football team lost its first region game of the season on the road against Enterprise. The Wolves’ defense managed to hold off the Red Devils as they came up with a 21-16 win in the primarily defensive affair. Grand’s typically reliable running game was hampered by three costly fumbles.
Local chef Karl Kelley published his second climbing guidebook titled “Creek Freak.” The book follows the successful “High on Moab” and details more than 2,000 routes in the Indian Creek area south of Moab. All the royalties from “Creek Freak” were donated to Access Fund, an organization that protects “climbing access and the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas.”
The football team’s defense recorded its second shutout of the season as Grand beat Beaver 21-0 at home. The Red Devils rallied in the third quarter, scoring all 21 of their points in about six minutes of game time. Inarguably, Grand’s defensive unit was responsible for the win, forcing six turnovers and holding the Beavers to only 76 total yards.
The Red Devil boys golf team competed at the 3A state tournament in Taylorsville. After two days of play, Grand finished seventh overall with a total of 652. Kane Scherer was Grand’s lowest scorer with a total of 156 across both days, which landed him in 14th place in the individual rankings. Jaxen Saunders finished just one stroke behind with a 157. Though they couldn’t replicate last season’s championship run, it was still a good season for Grand golf and with most players returning, the future looks bright.
The girls soccer team won its last home game of the season against San Juan. Senior keeper Veda Gritts played well in her last time on Moab’s field, shutting out the Broncos while Grand scored three times. Corah Moody, Kyha Gritts and Josie Camps scored for Grand.
Grand’s varsity volleyball squad won six games and lost only two at the Sevier Valley Invite tournament in Richfield. In the shortened games, played as best of three instead of five, Grand started with a loss to North Summit, bounced back with a win over Millard and concluded the day with a loss to region rival Richfield. Grand won all five games the next day, beating North Sevier, Rich, Carbon, Monticello and Delta. The team then faced three road games against region opponents to close the regular season.
Racing through heavy rain, 620 high school mountain bikers competed in Cedar City. Moab’s team brought 15 riders, and though small compared to many other teams, the squad did well and held on to sixth place in the 20-team league. Highlights included Annie Kopell taking 15th place in varsity and Ariann Child edging out a competitor by a mere second to take sixth in the freshman race. On the boys side, Elijah Topper took fifth in junior varsity and Eli Taylor took eighth in the sophomore division.
Red Devil football claimed the 2A South Region title after pulling off a huge comeback win over bitter rival San Juan. Grand fell behind 8-3 at halftime, but the team came out of the break and dominated the second half by putting up 20 points while also holding the Broncos scoreless. Senior Andrew Hansen had the play of the game when he came up with a timely pick-six in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Entering the playoffs as region champs, Grand had a bye in the first round and homefield advantage in the quarterfinals.
Grand County High also had another team claim the region title when the girls cross-country squad took first at the season’s second race held at the Moab Golf Club. The girls took the region crown with four runners finishing in the top 10. Kylah Ricks led the pack, taking first with a time nearly a minute better than her mark from the same course about a month earlier. Jessie Anderson took fifth, just a step ahead of Ali Hirt in sixth. Anika Scherer finished in ninth and Bella Welch rounded out the scorers for Grand by taking 17th after shaving over a minute off her time from the previous Moab meet. The boys team also performed well, qualifying for the state competition by taking third place thanks to three top 10 finishers.
The girls soccer team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Summit Academy. Grand was shutout as Summit Academy went on to win 2-0. Sophomore Corah Moody was Grand’s leading scorer for the season, putting the ball in the net 11 times.
The volleyball team notched two big road wins against region opponents as the season drew to a close. After losing to Richfield in a tournament the week before, Grand beat the Wildcats in four sets on their home court. The next day, Grand faced off against South Sevier and won a nail-biter in five close sets.
The girls cross-country team ran away with the second-place trophy at the state championship held at Sugar House Park. Sophomore Kylah Ricks claimed the title of fastest distance runner in 3A when she beat the second-place finisher from Morgan by nearly 25 seconds. Morgan ended up taking first as a team, but Grand wasn’t far behind. Ali Hirt took 10th, Anika Scherer finished in 13th and Jessie Anderson landed in the 24th spot. Morgan also won in the boys race, as Grand tied with Union in fourth place. Evan Ellison took fifth place while Malachi Ricks took seventh out of 86 runners.
The Utah high school mountain biking season ended at a strenuous and fast course in St. George. Proving that it is a growing sport, 1,794 riders showed up to compete. Moab brought 15 riders, and out of a field of 53 teams, Moab ranked 19th. Annie Kopell capped her four years of riding as a Red Devil with a 45th place finish in the girls varsity race. Elijah Topper placed ninth in junior varsity on race day but finished in third over the course of the entire race series. Eli Taylor placed 23rd on the day but ninth in the series. Moab’s riders were grateful to the dedicated coaches, parents and sponsors who helped make the season such a success. Nov. 1
In the quarterfinals of the playoffs, the football team faced South Sevier in a rematch of the homecoming game earlier in the season. South Sevier gave Grand a tougher game the second time around, but the Red Devils still managed to grind out a 28-21 victory. Despite missing a portion of the game with a leg injury, Corbin Arbon gave a stellar performance on the offensive side of the ball. After the win, Grand began preparing for a rematch with Beaver in the semifinals.
Several climbing organizations and local trail crews partnered with the Bureau of Land Management to mitigate the impacts of two steep approach trails for popular climbing walls. One trail was in Indian Creek and the other on Highway 128 across from Takeout Beach. Social trails in both areas resulted in soil erosion and trail washouts. “Delineating a single trail and rehabilitating duplicative trails will aid soils and vegetation, which in turn improves habitat for wildlife,” said BLM spokesperson said Lisa Bryant.
Grand’s volleyball team finished its season at the 3A state tournament. After finishing tied for third in their region, an unfortunate coin toss landed the Red Devils in the fifth seed. Grand fell to No. 1 seed Union in the first round, but the team kept its tournament hopes alive by beating Judge Memorial in an elimination contest. Grand defeated Juab in straight sets in the consolation semifinal. The Red Devils then faced Richfield, who they had defeated twice earlier in the season. The tightly contested match went all the way to five sets, but the Wildcats were able to pull off the win and eliminate Grand from the tournament. Two seniors, Corteney Noyes and Kay Watson, led the team. “The seniors have been a big part of the program and its success,” said athletic director Ron Dolphin, adding, “We are excited for the future of the program with the young talented girls.”
Grand football shut out Beaver for the second time of the season to advance to the state championship game. The Red Devils won the defensive slugfest 10-0. The teams were tied scoreless at halftime, but a few key plays down the stretch got Grand the win. First, a fake punt led to a field goal that got Grand on the board. Then a Beaver fumble set the Red Devils up with good field position, which quarterback Bryant Troutt capitalized on by rushing for the game’s only touchdown.
Three Grand County High golfers earned places on the Utah All-State teams selected by the Professional Golfers’ Association. Jaxen Saunders and Kane Scherer landed on the All-State Second Team for 3A boys while Luke Williams picked up an honorable mention. The PGA noted that unlike other all-state teams, those in golf are based solely upon scores, with “no arbitrary or influenced decisions.”
The Red Devil swim team splashed into a new season by hosting the first meet at the aquatic center in Moab. The boys team won the meet while the girls took third out of the five schools competing. The boys won seven out of the eleven events in which they competed. Braxten Pierce placed first in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle. Pat Pakkarato won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Alex Lacy won the 100-yard butterfly. Those three teamed up with Conner Ainge and placed first in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay. On the girls side, Josie Wakefield stood out by taking fourth in the 200-yard freestyle and second in the 100-yard backstroke while also helping the relay team take second in the 400-yard freestyle.
Though they were outnumbered and outgunned, the Red Devils put up a valiant fight against football juggernaut South Summit in the 2A state championship game. The Wildcats fielded 78 players compared to Grand’s 28, but the Red Devils still held the game close until a couple of turnovers and injuries helped South Summit’s high-powered offense rack up points and build a big lead before halftime. Grand struck first with a tricky reverse flea flicker that allowed Bryant Troutt to connect with Stacy Randall for a 51-yard touchdown pass. The deficit ignited the Wildcats, who scored on their next five possessions and eventually walked away with a 50-25 win. Despite only coming away with the second-place trophy, it was a great and memorable season for Red Devil football.
The Grand County High swim team competed at the Cedar City Invitational against 11 other teams, many of which came from larger schools. The Red Devils performed well, earning several medals and setting a few school records. Braxten Pierce took first place in the 100-yard fly and broke the old school record. The boys 200-yard medley relay team placed sixth overall but set a new school record in doing so. For the girls squad, Kiersten Kimmerle did well by taking 22nd out of 49 swimmers in the 100-yard backstroke.
An acroyoga community is blossoming in Moab, a town known more for its extreme sports. Alexandra Reynaldo and Michelle Griffith, two passionate and professional instructors, are helping that community grow by teaching lessons at the Helipad. It started with informal gatherings at Swanny Park but has turned into a weekly class. “Our goal [at acroyoga classes] is to provide students with a fun, safe and exciting space, while at the same time helping to build the community up,” said Reynaldo.
Utah State University was carving out a scenic location for its new Moab campus when sheets of intact bio-crust and native cacti were discovered and conserved. The crust-laden soils surround the in-progress road that will lead to the future campus from the T-intersection of Mill Creek Drive and Highway 191. The harvested plants and biocrust were deposited at the Mayberry Native Plant and Propagation Center to be re-grown and used for restoration projects.
Some of Grand county High’s talented senior athletes reflected on their fall sports seasons. Corbin Arbon had a monster season on the gridiron and helped lead Grand’s football team to its first state championship game in 13 years. Arbon put up great numbers on offense and was always supportive of his teammates on and off the field. He will attend the University of Utah in pursuit of a business degree next fall. Sadie Farnsworth helped lead the girls cross-country team to second place in 3A. She plans to attend Utah State University and study interior design. Corteney Noyes brought leadership and intensity to a young and inexperienced varsity volleyball squad. Her contributions will be sorely missed as she goes on to play for a club team in Grand Junction and pursue a college volleyball career.
A remote canyon near Moab known as the Fruit Bowl is attracting a global community of people devoted to highlining. Born from slacklining, highlining is a more thrilling and stomach-churning variation where brave souls navigate a one-inch piece of nylon webbing rigged at least 100 feet over the ground. More than a decade ago, a small group of highliners began an informal holiday tradition of gathering at the Fruit Bowl during the week of Thanksgiving. The celebration has since expanded into an international gathering of highliners known as Gobble Gobble Bitches Yeah. It is runs entirely on time and equipment donated by professional riggers and locals and brings together a unique and passionate community.
Anika Scherer, a sophomore at Grand County High, helped lead her club soccer team to first place at the Desert Super Cup in Phoenix. Scherer scored three goals over the course of four games, including the opening goal in the championship match. Scherer has competed at six tournaments with three different teams in the last year and taken first in four of those competitions.
WabiSabi once again hosted its annual free Thanksgiving dinner at the Grand Center. The event started as a small, potluck affair and has grown into a feast that serves hundreds of people and acts as a great way to bring the Moab community together. This year, the event catered to around 800 people. Ken Moody of Private Moab Chef and his crew prepared over 400 pounds of turkey and all of the fixings. Over 100 people volunteered to make the event possible. “There’s no requirement that you have to be down and out or in a shelter or anything like that,” said WabiSabi’s Program Director Nara Bopp-Williams. “It’s just for everyone.” The 15th annual event is already planned for 2019 and everyone is invited.