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West Jordan Journal

Copper Hills athletes set high marks in the classroom and on the field

Dec 04, 2022 11:38AM ● By Greg James

By Greg James | [email protected]

Several Copper Hills athletes received honors as part of the Utah High School Activities Association’s academic all-state awards program this fall.

“Individuals are selected for this award on the basis of their athletic ability and academic proficiency,” UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff said in a press release. “The award is the most prestigious honor the UHSAA presents to senior students.”

Athletic performance can make education more difficult because of time constraints. In a University of Kansas study, athletes on average have better grades and graduate at a higher percentage.

Angela Lumpkin, a Kansas professor of health said, “In general, athletes are not smarter than nonathletes, but evidence suggests they take studies more seriously if they want to compete.”

For more than 25 years the UHSAA has presented academic all-state awards to athletes that maintain high academic standards and contribute to their respective athletic fields. In the past, the award meant you were a varsity player and had one of the top 10 grade point averages in your classification. In 2018 that changed in two ways.

The first change made the award not just an athletic achievement. The award is now given to all UHSAA-sanctioned activities.  Theater, debate and music participants are now recognized at the completion of seasons just like athletes.

The second change includes the use of a matrix that uses grade point average and ACT scores. All 4.0s receive the award, but a student with a 3.9 and a 33 ACT may now also qualify. 

Athletes that were honored at Copper Hills include Emina Dervisevic, Ellie Brennan, Riley Taylor, Hyrum Perkins, Broc Traver, Michael Ballard and Ryan Mautz.

Dervisevic was a member of the girls soccer team. They finished the season with a 2-8 region record. She scored a goal and had one assist.

Brennan was a member of the girls tennis team and Perkins played football.

Taylor, Traver, Ballard and Mautz were all part of the Grizzlies cross country teams.

The girls cross country team placed 13 and Taylor placed 98 overall. The team also placed fifth at the Region 3 finals.

The boys cross country team also placed fifth at the region finals. Ballard placed 21 overall at the event.

“With over 85,000 students participating in high school activities, to be recognized is reputable,” Cuff said. “On behalf of all those associated with the UHSAA I congratulate and pay tribute to those who have earned and received this distinguished award.”

Students are nominated through their registration process for school activities. The schools confirm their participation, grade point averages and ACT or SAT scores. The UHSSA then awards recognition and notifies the school of the participant's achievement. The schools then present the awards in separate ceremonies to recognize their achievements.

“The real purpose is to recognize more students,” Cuff said. “We want to give out more certificates."