Four of Utah State's fall sports competed in a Blue-White Challenge over the Halloween weekend, bringing unity and friendly competition to those teams that had their seasons postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overall outcome between the four sports was a 2-2 tie between the Blue and White squads, proving that both colors were equally as strong during the two days of competition.
On the soccer pitch, Utah State divided into a pair of six-man teams and scrimmaged on a short field. The teams played three, 12-minute periods, with the Blue side taking the first period 4-3 behind goals from freshman Kenli Coon, senior Imelda Williams and sophomore Christiane Sundstrom. The teams then battled to a 2-2 draw in the second period before White erupted for four goals in the final period with senior Ashley Cardozo, junior Taylor Garza-Freeman and junior Marli Niederhauser finding the back of the net. White also held Blue scoreless over the final 12 minutes, resulting in a deadlock between the two squads.
The teams broke the tie via a penalty shootout, as Cardozo opened it by tucking the ball into the lower right corner to give White the 1-0 lead. Williams answered on Blue's first PK, placing the ball into the lower left corner, evening the score 1-1. Sara Noel-Taylor's next shot for White was saved by sophomore keeper Diera Walton, while Kelsey Salvesen put Blue up 2-1 after blasting the ball into the left of the net.
Niederhauser tied it back up 2-2, slotting the ball into the lower right corner of the net. Sundstrom's next attempt for Blue was saved by redshirt freshman keeper Samantha Aguilar and was followed by a rocket by Garza-Freeman on White's next attempt, putting the team up 3-2. Ashley Hughes kept the shootout tight on Blue's next attempt, placing the ball into the lower left corner to square the score, 3-3. Freshman Kylie Olsen put White up 4-3 on her next attempt, putting the ball into the upper right corner. The successful try proved to be the match winner as Alyssa Ulugalu's final attempt for Blue was turned away by the post.
Following the soccer scrimmage, attention was turned to the Wayne Estes Center as the Aggie volleyball team split into two for its intrasquad scrimmage. Team Blue took the win, sweeping Team White (25-19, 25-21, 25-21), including two come-from-behind wins. Junior middle blocker Corinne Larsen led both teams with 13 kills, while four other players recorded eight each. Freshman libero Abby Peterson made a strong showing in her first full scrimmage, tallying a match-high five service aces and 15 digs. She was one of five Aggies to record double-digit digs.
The men's and women's cross country teams wrapped up the challenge on Halloween morning as the men ran a 7K race, while the women competed in a 5K race.Despite having the top overall finisher in the men's race – sophomore Camren Todd placed first overall with a time of 20:57.39 – the White team (29 points) came up short against the Blue team (27 points).
Representing Team Blue, senior Jakob Tew (21:10.86) and junior Caleb Garnica (21:13.30) placed second and third, respectively, while sophomores Bridger Altice (21:24.28) and Justin Hodges (22:08.36) finished eighth and ninth to give the Blue their 27 points and the win.
For the White, sophomore Spencer Nelson (21:20.28) placed fourth, junior Roberto Porras (21:54.53) finished sixth, junior Mark Crandall (22:05.15) placed seventh and freshman Carson Coleman (22:55.11) finished 11th, helping the White team record 29 points overall.
On the women's side, the White team (23 points) defeated the Blue team (32 points). Leading the way for the White was freshman Mattie Geddes as she crossed the finish line first with a time of 17:32.48. Fellow Team White member, junior Mica Rivera, placed second with a time of 17:33.15.
The top finisher on Team Blue was senior Katie Haviland in third place with a time of 17:40.25. She was followed by sophomore Abby Jensen, who crossed the finish line in fourth place with a time of 17:44.82 for the blue team.
Team White claimed the fifth and sixth spots in sophomore Bailey Brinkerhoff (17:46.18) and freshman Morgan French (17:53.77). Sophomore KaryLee Taylor rounded out the scoring for the White as she finished ninth with a time of 18:35.56.
Sophomore Abigail Gray clocked a time of 18:19.87 to finish seventh for Team Blue, while freshman Sammi Lee was eighth with a time of 18:26.84. Rounding out the scoring for the Blue team was sophomore Reagan Hoopes, who placed 10th with a time of 18:36.70.
Based on White's large margin of victory in the women's race, the White team captured the overall title with 52 points, while the Blue finished with 59 points.Fans can follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.