High school track: Ogden's Sarah Feeny breaks 1,600 state record on first day of state meet
PROVO — Ogden’s Sarah Feeny always knew she was capable of much, much more.
Even though she won the 3A 1,600 meters at last year’s state championships, her time was nine seconds slower than the state-record time turned in by Mountain View senior Ashleigh Warner in the 4A race.
Injuries had slowed Feeny early in her sophomore season last year, otherwise she believed her time at state would’ve been more on par with Warner.
During the opening day of the state track meet at BYU 12 months later, a 100 percent Feeny proved just how good she can be.
In the first race of the day Friday, Feeny ran a fantastic final lap to win the 3A 1,600 meters with a time of 4:50.04, breaking Warner’s state record by 0.09 seconds. Warner, who now runs for BYU, was on hand to watch her record fall.
Feeny’s previous personal best was 4:51.43 set at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago.
“It’s fun to get PRs. That’s kind of one thing about running: You’re always trying to improve yourself when you know you’re capable of that. You just need to keep pushing your goals higher,” said Feeny.
Feeny was behind state-record pace through three laps, but she picked it up the final lap to set the record. She credits running the 400 meters at the Region 11 championships last week with helping her mentality down the stretch.
Feeny’s hope all season was to eclipse the 4:50 mark. She came up short by 0.05, but she has her entire senior season next year to reach it.
Ironically enough, Feeny had to wait about 15 minutes until she could completely soak in the satisfaction of her record. Runners from Class 5A and 4A hadn’t run their races yet, and specifically Feeny knew Davis’ Shea Martinez was capable of going very fast. The state record-holder in the 800 indeed ran fast, winning the 5A race in 4:55.69, but it wasn’t faster than Feeny.
“I knew that she was trying to break 4:50 throughout the season too,” said Feeny, who said it certainly would’ve been less stressful to have 5A run first.
Seven hours after winning the 1,600, Feeny was on the track again, posting a record time anchoring Ogden’s sprint medley relay team that set a new 3A record.
Herriman’s Lucy Biles ran the 4A 1,600 race with a time of 4:56.62, the third-best time in Utah this year.
From a team standpoint, winning the race ahead of Orem’s Summer Harper was exactly what Biles needed to do. The 4A team race is expected to be very tight between Herriman and Orem, and every point could prove critical come Saturday evening.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever been in the running for a team championship, so it’s a different pressure,” said Biles.
Other girls 1,600 meter winners on Friday were Rowland Hall’s Emily Sundquist in 2A and Panguitch’s Whitney Orton in 1A.
Twelve of 16 event finals are still to be run Saturday, and team titles in 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A are definitely still up in the air. Davis is expected to run away with the 5A title.
In a day that featured mostly qualifying heats for Saturday’s finals, the 100 meters featured some of the top performances of day one. Herriman’s Kaysha Love posted a time of 12.03 in her qualifying heat, while Timpview’s Lauren Baxter ran a 12.18.
Love followed that strong performance up later in the day with a 24.52 time in the 200 qualifying heats, the best time in Utah this season.