High school girls track championships: Davis' depth makes up for absent leader
Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — In the big picture, Davis didn't need Sylvia Harrison's contributions to claim the girls 5A state championship on Saturday as evidenced by its convincing margin of victory. All the senior would've done is rack up even more points in the sprints and hurdles and increase the margin of victory.
Despite that, Harrison's teammates ran with heavy hearts all weekend knowing one of the Darts' senior leaders was missing the biggest meet of the season because of a severe hamstring injury.
"It was hard not having Sylvia. But we just had to pull together and dig deep. She's 30 points of our team, we had to make up the difference and be strong," said Davis junior Christine Van Brocklin.
Davis more than stayed strong, winning three individual events over the two-day meet and demonstrating tremendous depth to claim the 5A title with a 56-point gap ahead of second-place Bingham.
Davis wasn't the only girls team to win back-to-back titles in convincing fashion, as North Summit claimed its fourth straight 2A title and Rich won its second straight 1A title. Orem in 4A and Ogden in 3A rounded out the team titles at BYU.
Orem was one of several contenders in 4A, but an unexpected and strong showing in the 800 meters pushed the Tigers over the top.
After finishing second in the 3,200 earlier in the day, Summer Harper wasn't expecting much out of herself in the 800 meters. When teammate Candace Greenwood — someone Harper had never lost to — went out exceptionally fast though, she tried to keep up. Greenwood ended up finishing second, with Harper right behind in third.
"She really helped pull me along. I know I'm supposed to be close to her so it made me run harder. That scored us a lot of points having her do that," said Harper.
Those 14 points proved to be the difference as Orem racked up 75 team points with Mountain Crest finishing second with 62.
"It feels really good 'cause none of us could do it on our own. You can always have individual success, but unless everyone works together it doesn't happen," said Harper. "We really came together. I could feel a positive atmosphere around our team the last two days, so it was really good."
Lauren Baxter had another banner day in 4A, winning the 100, 200 and 400.
Brenna Porter won the 100 and 300 hurdles, and narrowly finished second to Baxter in the 200. Porter's 300 time of 42.25 eclipsed the old state record of 42.42 set by Bonneville's Ally Dean in 2006.
Ogden's title proved that yes, you can win with just distance.
Avery Calton and Sarah Feeny finished first and second in the 800 on Saturday, with Jamie Stokes and Feeny going 1-2 in the 3,200. Combined with their dominance of the 1,600 on Friday, the Tigers scored 72 of their 90 team points in those three distance events.
It was enough to hold off second-place Bear River which finished with 67 points.
"Meant a lot to us 'cause we were really disappointed at cross country state. We took third and we were projected to win and that's kind of been our motivation for the rest of our workouts," said Stokes.
Ogden coach Don Hall said there was plenty of competition as well.
"For us to win it on distance with competition from Park City, and the Bryson girl from Cedar is remarkable too, it's not like they're out there running by themselves, they had to compete too," said Hall.
The competition wasn't as strong in 2A for North Summit, but it might not have mattered.
Erica Birk ran away with the 3,200 and 800 on Saturday to go along with her dominant 1,600 run on Friday. Erica Richins easily won both hurdles events, while Samantha Nicholes won the long jump. All three were defending state champs in those events.
"It was just amazing because when you look at a normal team you see individual greatness, but our whole team is an actual team and they define what that actually means," said Nicholes.
Nicholes was the defending champ in the 100 and 200, but Emery freshman Ashlynn Allred denied her a title in both events with some impressive running. In fact, her time of 25.50 in the 200 was a new 2A state record.
North Summit racked up 159 team points, over 100 more than second-place Emery.
In 1A, Rich captured the team title with 117 points, with Monticello following in second with 80.3 points. Rich's Jessica Weston won both hurdles events defending both of her state titles.
Other multi-event winners on Saturday were Bingham's Lindsey Royall (100 and 200), Bear River's Kaitlyn Wilcox (200 and 400), Wasatch's Kaitlyn Walker (100 and 300 hurdles), Emery's Allred (100 and 200) and Layton Christian's Alissa Atisme (100 and 200).
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