Story by RYAN COMER • Portraits by BENJAMIN ZACK • Standard-Examiner Staff
LAYTON — Livia Borges’ childhood was consumed by soccer matches and basketball games during the day followed by nights spent relaxing in ice or Epsom salt baths.
It hurt, but she said “it hurt so good,” and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I loved how sore I was,” Borges said.
Borges’ insatiable appetite for competition continued into high school. Even during her junior year, when her girls basketball team at Layton High was in the midst of a state championship run, she couldn’t stop herself from playing with her club soccer team the same week.
She went from playing in a quarterfinal basketball game in Taylorsville on a Thursday evening to playing in a soccer tournament in Arizona on Friday.
By Friday night, she was back in Utah to play in a semifinal basketball game, and following the championship basketball game the next day, she went back to Arizona to finish the soccer tournament.
Borges helped both teams win championships.
“There’s no way I was going to miss out on the state tournament, and there was no way I was going to let my soccer team down by not being there,” she said.
Borges had the support of her parents because they could tell it was important to her.
“We’ve worked logistical miracles her entire life to get her to these games,” said her mother, Carrieann.
This season as a senior, Borges had plenty of reasons to slow down. She was already committed to play soccer at the University of Utah, and a mass exodus of talent from last year’s basketball squad combined with the risk of injury could have convinced her so much effort wasn’t worth it.
Borges continued to play both soccer and basketball, and excelled at both. She was the leading scorer on both teams, and for all her success, she has been named the 2016-17 Standard-Examiner All-Area Female Athlete of the Year.
More importantly than accumulating impressive stats, Borges helped her teams win.
Layton’s soccer and basketball teams qualified for the state tournament — and no one will ever know just how far Borges could have carried the basketball team if she hadn’t sprained her ankle against Davis late in the season.
Two days before the sprain, Layton was in the catbird seat for the Region 2 title following a win at eventual 5-A finalist Viewmont. Although she never got back to 100 percent following the sprain, Borges played the season out.
“She had a big heart,” said Rick Talamantez, Layton’s outgoing girls soccer coach. “She wanted to compete, she wanted to win. Even when she was injured, she would still want to play.”
Talamantez said he played Borges wherever he needed a playmaker.
“I played her everywhere,” Talamantez said. “There were times I played her on the back line if I wanted to prevent a goal, if I needed her in the midfield to be more creative, if I needed a goal scorer I could put her up top. She could just play anywhere on the field. She’s that diverse.”
That diversity was also apparent on the basketball court. Borges was second on the team in rebounds, second on the team in assists and first on the team in steals.
In Layton’s semifinal game against Copper Hills during Borges’ junior year, she took a charge that fouled out Grizzlies’ star Shirsten Wissinger. The Lancers went on to win in overtime.
“She was our captain, our leader,” Layton girls basketball coach Van Price said. “She’s the one that refuses to lose, does anything to help you win. She was very dedicated, and athletes aren’t like that anymore. They specialize.”
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Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.