by Daniel Olsen
The Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation will induct five new members during a September 20, banquet dinner and ceremony (7 p.m.) at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Tickets can be purchased on the Utah Sports Hall of Fame website.
Jay Don Blake, Haloti Ngata, Courtney Young Johnson, Nicholas Rimando and Teri Okelberry Spiers will be honored as the Class of 2021, with their inductions having been postponed one year due to the pandemic.
Jay Don Blake
Golf existed in Utah well before protégée stony Finau burst onto the scene. Blake, an alumnus of Dixie High School and then Utah State, won the 1980 NCAA individual golf championship and went on to claim one PGA Tour victory and three PGA Tour Champions titles. He now lives in his hometown of St. George, Utah at the age of 62.
Ngata, a football player from Highland High School, became a perennial five-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive lineman and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. He had two solo tackles and one hit on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernik in the win. He played for the Oregon Ducks in college.
Courtney Young Johnson
Johnson, a Skyline High graduate, played for the U.S. women’s water polo team that won the silver medal in the 2000 Olympics. While she did get offers from Ivy League schools, she chose to swim and play water polo at Cal. She participated in the first women’s water polo competition to appear in an Olympic Games.
Rimando became known as Major League Soccer’s all-time best goalkeeper during his long career with Real Salt Lake, helping the team win the 2009 MLS Cup title. He enjoyed a 20-year soccer career. He owns the MLS record for most career wins (183), saves (91) and shutouts (129).
Terry Okelberry Spiers
Spiers, from Weber High School and Weber State, is one of the most versatile athletes in the history of Weber State Athletics. She advanced to NCAA competition in both volleyball and track and field in the same year. Her specialty in track and field was the javelin. She also competed in hurdles, the heptathlon and the triple-jump. She became an All-American after finishing eighth overall in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. This made her the first All-American in Weber State history.
Featured image courtesy Steve Griffin, Deseret News