SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Davis girls cross-country team found out that the honor of being ranked No. 1 in the country also adds a little bit of pressure to racing.
“When the girls found out on Thursday that we were ranked No. 1 in the U.S, I think they felt like ‘I have to perform like the No. 1 team in the country,’ ” said Davis head coach Corbin Talley. “I think it got to them just a little bit.”
Just a day after the rankings were released, the team had to compete at the Westlake Invitational, a four-year-old event in which seven of the eight nationally ranked teams participated.
“None of them felt good on Friday,” Talley said. “But they ran just fine.”
The girls won the event with 34 points, while American Fork was second with 82 points and Bingham was third with 115 points.
Bingham’s MarLee Mitchell, a junior, won the girls race in 17:07.3. Davis freshman Aubrey Argyle finished second with a time of 17:24.8. Anna Gibson, Jackson High School in Wyoming, was third (17:26.2) and Bingham freshman Whitney Rich was fourth with a time of 17:35.6.
In addition to winning the girls race, the Darts accomplished a goal they’d set before the rankings were released — improving the gap between first and fifth.
“We were really working on the team cap,” said Talley. “We wanted to get it to under 36 seconds, and we did that.” The girls also feel more confident after struggling with the pressure of being No. 1 and still winning against a deep field.
“They feel so much more at ease,” he said. “They’re not even thinking about it now. They know we’re just going to go day to day, workout to workout and keep doing what we’ve been doing, which is running hard and having fun.”
The boys race was much tighter. Nationally ranked American Fork (No. 3) ran junior varsity boys in the meet and still took fifth place. Bingham won the boys event (95 points), with Lone Peak finishing second, just four points behind the Miners. Davis finished third with 103 points, while host Westlake was fourth with 105.
Bingham senior Andrew Brewer won the men’s race with a time of 14:42.4, while Lone Peak’s Clayson Shumway was second with a time of 14:44. Bingham’s Caleb Walker was third, finishing in 14:55.4.