A Christmas Wish List for BYU Olympic sports programs

December 23, 2017 GMT

It’s no secret that I really enjoy covering BYU’s Olympic sports.

Sure, it’s fun to write about the BYU football team — in most years, anyway — and to travel with the men’s basketball team. But access to the Olympic sports teams is so much simpler, and the athletes aren’t so jaded because they don’t get interviewed dozens of times a week. They are usually happy to see us and enjoy their interaction with the media.

Plus, they win. Like, all the time.

So I’m going to pretend I’m Santa and grant some Christmas wishes for these hard working coaches and athletes.

Women’s Soccer A potent offense after an off-year.

(Because Jennifer Rockwood has been extra good this year, Santa is bringing her one of Utah’s most decorated young soccer players, Olivia Wade, for the 2018 season.)

Women’s Volleyball A middle blocker to replace the graduated Cosy Burnett.

(Looks like Heather Olmstead has been good, too, so she gets Under Armor All-American middle blocker Heather Gneiting from Pleasant Grove in 2018.)

Men’s Volleyball A victory against Ohio State in Columbus would be a nice stocking stuffer, then a national championship for head coach Shawn Olmstead. He has three runner-up trophies (one with the women, two with the men) and deserves the gold trophy.

Women’s Basketball A third Eaton sister to join the Cougars in 2019 (Maddy is averaging 23 points per game at Maple Mountain as a junior). I know there’s one thing I can’t get coach Jeff Judkins, and that’s any recruit with a cooler name than 2018 signee Obalunanma (Babalu) Ugwu, who is from North Carolina by way of Brazil.

Cross-country A national championship for Ed Eyestone and the guys next fall.

Baseball Another NCAA tournament berth — heck, the new field has me thinking maybe three or four in a row — and a healthy Kyle Dean in center field to make a run at the WCC Triple Crown.

Golf Super-amazing weather in Utah this spring for a run at the NCAA Tournament.

Swimming and diving A great season to bring in the new pool that’s being built at the Richards Building.

Tennis The gift of LDS missionaries working hard to baptize tennis-playing families in Venezuela or Germany.

Track and field A national champion in a distance race at next spring’s NCAA meet (I’m looking at you, Rory Linkletter).

Gymnastics I know the fix is in — it always is — but just once this century for the Cougars to beat Utah in a dual meet.

Softball A pitcher to challenge the career records just set by the recently graduated McKenna Bull, who holds school marks in wins, complete games, shutouts, saves, innings pitched and strikeouts.