United with its state trophy /// Photo courtesy Utah Youth Rugby
It’s official: United is Utah’s best girls high school team, and that fact was emphasized after the team’s 50-17 win over Herriman in Saturday’s state final. The Mustangs advanced to the championship match after defeating Kau Toa Wednesday in a play-in game.
United took a 29-5 lead in the first half, and the full roster was able to contribute to the team’s first state title. Outside center Maili Schaap, scrumhalf Kathryn Stowers and wing/replacement scrumhalf Peyton Frazier scored two tries apiece, while prop Cheyenne Nielson and back Charity Tenney also added five-pointers. Frazier slotted five conversions to lead her side with 20 points.
“An outstanding performance came from United wing Peyton Frazier with a try sprinted [in] in the second minute and again in the 10th minute,” United coach Matt Kanenwisher praised. “Frazier’s speed was a huge asset in this game.”
Herriman logged its points in the final 10 minutes of the game.
“Herriman flyhalf Alex Sedrick was as effective and quick as ever,” Kanenwisher added. “She is lightening fast on the poach, and this caused problems for United for the entire game.”
United has less than one week to tighten up its support, as the Utah side will face its toughest competition of the year next weekend. The team will travel to Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., for the high school club nationals, along with nine other DI teams.
“I was, frankly, very surprised when I saw the bracket. I have never seen anything quite like that,” Kanenwisher responded to the 10-team bracket. “However, we are excited to go and participate. I question what effect the format will have on strategies and tactics.
“As for United, we are new to the tournament with little experience outside of our state in 15s,” the coach continued. “The Danville opener will be a serious challenge for us and we will plan and proceed one game at a time.”
United enters the club championship ranked fourth and the Lady Oaks come in at number five. When the teams last met on April 1 in Utah, United was eager to enter the national conversation, and did so with a 34-26 win. Suffice to say, the rematch is a highly anticipated one.