OREM, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Cottonwood High Colts won the 5A state baseball championships on Thursday, but for the 10 seniors on the team that meant missing their own high school graduation.
On Wednesday, the seniors learned they had a decision to make, graduate with their class, or play in the state championships.
Cottonwood High head coach Jason Crawford said the decision was clear, no one even considered missing the game to attend graduation saying it was not a sacrifice but something they all looked forward to.
“Our administration and counselors were fantastic.” Crawford said. “We met Thursday morning to figure out all the details. We needed to get caps and gowns, tassels, and diplomas in order. We all got on the same page with the help of Jeff Cluff from the Utah High School Athletic Association.”
Crawford said the boys received quite the send off Thursday morning when the senior class lined both sides of the team as they walked to the bus and received a police escort to the freeway.
“Before the game started, the seniors lined up in front of the pitcher’s mound and walked to home plate to meet Alan Parrish from Granite School District, Cottonwood High Principal Terri Roylance, and Assistant Principal Geoff Murdock, Crawford said. “After getting their diploma, the boys lined up down the 3rd base line where parents were allowed on the field to take pictures.”
The school filmed the graduation on the field, and showed it during their graduation ceremonies happening at Cottonwood High.
It was then time to play the game and it could not have had a more perfect ending.
Hayden Rosencrantz pitched a game shutout, only allowing two hits, helping lead his team to an 11-0 win over Lone Peak. He said he has never wanted something so bad.
“There is no other way I would want to graduate than on a baseball field next to the guys that since August I’ve spent almost every single day next to,” Rosencrantz said. “Winning the championship was a dream come true. A dream I have had ever since I picked up baseball, and I believe the whole team was able to buy into what we have been taught and that was a big part of our success..”
Senior Steven Dennis said it was quite a surprise to find out they would be missing their graduation but having played since he was four, said it was a one in a million opportunity to be able to graduate on the field right before competing for a state championship.
“”I was overjoyed,” said Dennis. “I have always loved baseball and to be able to graduate on the diamond is an indescribable feeling.”
Cottonwood scored a combined total of 10 runs in the first four games during the playoffs, but Thursday they scored 11, winning their first state title since 2008.
“I don’t know if I can put it into words or I’d start crying,” said Crawford. “I’m very proud of our team, and they really represented our school. It’s awesome, we needed it.”