PROVO — Heading into the state track & field meet this weekend at BYU, there are a handful of coaches from state title contenders stressing about injuries to key athletes.
Davis coach Corbin Talley is certainly anxious about hamstring injuries to Brad Nye and Sylvia Harrison, while Wasatch coach Brad Foster is hoping the hamstring of his star runner Cale Strong holds up for one more weekend.
The injuries have injected some potential drama into the 5A and 3A team races this Friday and Saturday at BYU.
Here's a class-by-class look at teams and individuals contending for state championships.
Despite Davis' injury concerns, it's hard to imagine the Darts not sweeping the boys and girls team titles.
Sure Harrison, who has the potential to rack up big points in three events, will be limited because of a minor hamstring tear suffered at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago. And sure Nye's hope of winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 is up in the air because of a hamstring tweak picked up at the Region 1 meet last week.
With plenty of depth though, Davis is more than capable of overcoming the potential setbacks.
"We're way excited going in. We've put a lot of work going into the season. They've been committed and passionate about what we're doing," said Talley.
For the boys, Seth Fortin is a threat in the sprints, and along with Nye the Darts have numerous distance runners who can gain points. Marcus Daley is a threat to win the long jump and high jump.
Harrison says she still hopes to compete in the 100 and 200 meters, but the hurdles are out. Even without her, the 100 hurdles race should be great.
Davis' Adelyn Jones and Fremont's Tawnie Moore have posted the two best times in the state this year. Along with Copper Hills' Rachel Brooks and Harrison, it could be the featured race of the meet.
"That's a really competitive race. It's become a really good rivalry. Ady's fired up to get after it again," said Talley.
Returning boys champs are Riverton's Cole Lambourne (400) and Davis' Nye (800).
Returning girls champs are Davis' Shea Martinez (800, 1,600), Davis' Harrison (100 hurdles), Weber's Mykah Heaton (long jump), Copper Hills' Heilala Havea (discus) and Riverton's Joni Warnick (javelin).
Maple Mountain's Skyler Porcaro and Mountain Crest's Karlee Kartchner have had great seasons, and they're a big reason their respective teams are among the 4A favorites.
Maple Mountain coach Darrell Wyatt doesn't necessarily believe his team is a favorite with Woods Cross and Mountain View in the mix though.
"We need a balanced approach for everybody on the team," said Wyatt. "Woods Cross is very talented in the sprints. Mountain View is very talented in the distance. Our throwers really have to step up."
Javelin state record holder Porcaro should have no problem picking up points in his events, but fellow throwers Jake Varney, Jacob Abbott and Zack Decker also need strong meets.
On the girls side, Orem and Springville should provide the biggest threat to Mountain Crest.
Kartchner is a threat to win the 100 meters, long jump and high jump, and she's hoping to break the 19-foot mark in the long jump. Mountain Crest's Emily Moore and Miranda Overy are also key to a Mustang title.
There are no returning state champs on the boys side.
Returning girls champs are Mountain Crest's Jessica Jensen (100 hurdles), Timpview's Lauren Baxter (100, 200, 400), Mountain View's Ashleigh Warner (800), Springville's Aimee Wheeler (long jump), Woods Cross' Sosina Salima (shot put) and Herriman's Siera Bernard (shot put in 5A).
Can a track team win a state championship based on just distance runners? Ogden's girls are about to find out.
"We are incredibly strong on the distance, I just don't know if that's enough or not," said Ogden coach Don Hall.
Ogden qualified eight girls in the 1,600, seven in the 800 and six in the 3,200. Led by Jamie Stokes and Sarah Feeny, they should rack up a ton of points in those events. Ogden should also gain points in the relays, but with no thrower, hurdler or sprinter, it might open the door for either Park City or defending champion Cedar to win the girls team title.
The race for the boys team title is likely between Wasatch and Pine View.
Pine View relies heavily on sprinting star Jake Arslanian and solid depth in numerous events. Wasatch, meanwhile, has some star power.
Strong, who coach Foster said is about 90 percent, is the best hurdler in the state and is still the favorite despite his hamstring concern. Talem Franco can pick up points in the 400 and 800 and Nate Lee and Matt Pelo are both strong in the high jump and long jump.
Returning boys champs are Wasatch's Strong (110, 300 hurdles), Hurricane's Brian Scott (discus), Desert Hills' Tyler Ott (high jump), Park City's Ben Saarel (1,600) and Carbon's Dalton Nelson (long jump).
Returning girls champs are Bear River's Kaitlyn Wilcox (200, 400), Park City's Megan Glassman (discus, javelin) and Union's Audrey Muir (high jump).
A combination of a great sprint, distance runner, jumper and thrower makes North Summit's girls the obvious favorites at state this weekend.
Sprinter Samantha Nicholes, jumper Erica Richins and distance runner Erika Birk could combined to win as many as eight individual titles. Kaitlyn Rowser recently returned from an ACL tear she suffered early in the basketball season, and she's poised to challenge Grand star Rachel Garrett in the shot put and discus.
North Summit coach Dave Peck said a coach would normally be thrilled with just one of those girls, but to have all four on the team simultaneously, "it's been a real threat to coach them."
On the boys side, at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago Grand edged Richfield to win the 2A/1A team title. A week later at the Region 15 meet Richfield returned the favor with a 20-point win.
They'll settle the score this weekend at state.
Returning boys champs are Parowan's Ammon Blauer (800, 1,600), Grand's Kevin Ballard (discus), San Juan's Ammon Mitchell (110 hurdles), South Summit's Tyler Anderton (high jump) and Gunnison's Colton Caldwell (javelin).
Returning girls champs are North Summit's Birk (800, 1,600, 3,200), North Summit's Richins (100 hurdles), North Summit's Nicholes (100, 200, long jump), Grand's Garrett (shot put, discus) and Enterprise's Anden Lyman (javelin).
A talented group of athletes led Duchesne to a football championship last fall, and many of those same kids are the reason Duchesne's track is the heavy favorite at state this weekend.
"We're relatively deep," said Duchesne coach Al Jole. "A lot of teams in the state have really good kids in one or two events, but we have a lot of kids in a lot of events."
Macoy Young is a threat to win the 100, 200 and 400 meters, while teammate Max Lewis is the favorite in the shot put and discus.Comment on this story
While Duchesne should run away with the boys title, it's a two-team race on the girls side between Monticello and Rich.
Returning boys champs are Altamont's Dylan Lindsay (3,200), Monticello's Jake Duncan (110 hurdles), Altamont's Austin Gallyer (100), Duchesne's Young (400), Wayne's Trenton Taylor (200), Tabiona's Myles Potter (long jump) and Duchesne's Lewis (shot put).
Returning girls champs are Rich's Jessica Weston (100 & 300 hurdles), Monticello's Arianna Reay (100, 200, long jump) and Piute's Kandice Gleave (shot put).