High school cross country: Sky View's Conner Mantz wins Autumn Classic
PROVO — Sky View's Conner Mantz didn't just want to win BYU's Autumn Classic Friday night.
He wanted to reach a couple of personal goals.
"I either wanted to stay with Jordan Cross (Ogden) or Jarrell Mock (Logan) or break 15 minutes," said Mantz after he won the 5K race in 15:03.
The sophomore may not have broken the 15-minute mark, but his time was a personal best. He also did a bit more than stay with Cross and Mock as he beat both of them — although not by much.
Cross finished in 15:09.8 and was quick to congratulate Mantz after the race. Mock was third with a time of 15:18. In fourth was American Fork's Connor McMillan, who finished in 15:20.3. Davis' Brayden Cromar was fourth with a time of 15:28.9.
The team title came down to two nationally ranked 5A programs — American Fork and Davis with the Cavemen winning first place with 36 points. Davis was second with 63 points and Ogden was third with 91 points.
"American Fork is that good," said Ogden head coach Don Hall. "In case there was any doubt, they're that good."
The Cavemen had four boys in the top 10, which made head coach Timo Mostert happy.
"That's why we race as best we can," said Mostert, "and we hope it brings the best out in the other teams. Out of our seven guys, five had really good races. Two could improve. But they're just a good bunch of boys."
He said the team is in the midst of heavy training and they don't change it up for individual meets. The training is geared for one meet — the state championships.
"That's the end game," he said. "Everything else after that is icing. But you've got to have your cake before the icing."
Davis struggled a little, but still managed to best most of the field.
"We're fighting through a little bit of adversity," said Davis head coach Corbin Talley. "If we can get through some of these challenges we're having, we'll be a tough team."
Injuries and illness top the list of problems the Darts are dealing with, but that could be an advantage to the squad when it counts.
"We're working through it," he said. "We're learning; we're growing a lot. And I think we're capable of more. We're happy with today. We feel like we can run stronger."
Davis wasn't the only squad dealing with injuries as Ogden's nationally ranked girls team was competing without two of its varsity runners — one who will miss the rest of the season. Even without those two girls, the Tigers ran well enough to take second place with 56 points, edging American Fork (57) by a single point.
Davis' girls won first place with 33 points led by senior Ellie Child, who finished in 18:03.8. Ogden junior Sarah Feeny was second with 18:05.3 and Davis High's Shea Martinez, a two-time 5A state champ, was third with 18:16.9. Orem's Summer Harper was third with a time of 18:23.9.
Hall said Feeny and Harper were running at the front of the pack when they began to kick about 600 yards too soon. They didn't realize they had another small loop to complete the race, and it was in that final 400 meters that they were passed.
"Our top three did what they needed to do," said Hall as a 5A coach congratulated him and added, "I'm glad we don't see you at state!"
Hall said the Tigers traveled two hours to the race to they could take on the state's best.
"We wanted to race the big kids," he said. Ogden's girls team is nationally ranked and finished second in last year's 3A state meet. But the Tigers' boys team is hoping that facing the toughest 4A and 5A teams will help them steal a little of the spotlight from their female counterparts.
"The boys have been living in the shadow of the girls," Hall said with a smile. "This is the first time we've raced against American Fork and Davis other than in Phoenix (at regionals). We want to be up there running with them."
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