In addition to American Fork’s No. 3 national ranking (dyestat.com), 4A’s Ogden is ranked No. 15, Lone Peak is ranked No. 16, Bingham is ranked No. 17, Riverton is ranked No. 30, 4A’s Orem is ranked No. 33 and Davis is ranked No. 25.
Westlake isn’t nationally ranked, but it upset Lone Peak in the region meet, which indicates just how tight the competition really is.
On the girls side, Davis is ranked No. 1 in the country and is clearly the 5A favorite. 3A’s Park City is ranked No. 7, American Fork is ranked No. 35, 4A’s Skyline is ranked No. 36 and 4A’s Ogden is ranked No. 38.
“We’re a pretty heavy favorite,” Talley said of the Davis girls team. “American Fork could definitely give us a challenge and Bingham has two great individual runners.”
Because the girls are so heavily favored, the Darts are focused on a prize not many can attain.
“We’re going for the team time record set by Bingham in 1999,” Talley said. That record is the combined times of a team’s top five finishers, and Bingham’s girls team set the mark at 93:49. “That’s been a goal of ours to see if we can beat that time.”
He said he’s glad the Darts won’t face Park City’s team until regionals.
“They’re really tough,” said Talley. “We’ll race them in Arizona, and I look forward to that.”
The top individual girl is Herriman’s Lucy Biles, who edged Ogden’s top runner, Sarah Feeny, to win the Bob Furman Invitational. She won her region meet easily, finishing 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Jordan’s Tavia Dutson, Bingham’s Marlee Mitchell and Whitney Rich, and Davis’ Aubrey Argyle (freshman) and Taylor Cox (senior) will try to compete with Biles.
In 4A, the team titles won’t be as hotly contested as the Ogden girls look like the clear favorites and Ogden and Orem boys are the front-runners for the team title.
Both nationally ranked, they’ll also get some pressure from Timpanogos and Skyline.
“I think Ogden has a slight edge over everybody else,” said Skyline head coach Tom Porter.
The Tigers are led by Mike Buckley.
Sky View’s Conner Mantz is the favorite for an individual championship, while Feeny is the favorite on the girls side. Timpanogos’ Mary Christensen and Box Elder’s Hannah Malone are also talented individual competitors.
The Ogden girls are also considered the favorites in the 4A team competition.
“They have a slight edge on us, but it’s going to be a tight race,” Porter said. “Ogden has really come on strong, but it’s tough to compare region times. Our region could have four of the top five teams.”
In 3A, the edge belongs to the Park City girls team. They’re ranked No. 7 nationally and have gotten stronger as the season’s progressed. They’re led by Alyssa Snyder and Maddie Chriscione.
On the boys side, Deseret Hills is the front-runner, with a handful of other squads in the mix. This is the most wide-open of the team competitions.
In 2A, the race for both boys and girls looks to be wide open. Last year’s champ, Richfield, moved to 3A, so Millard, North Summit and Rowland Hall should all compete for the team title. Last year’s state champ Ryan Westermann, Rowland Hall, returns and leads a very tough Winged Lion team. North Summit’s top runner, Hudson Zwhalen, could give Westermann a challenge for individual honors. Millard is a team that’s gotten progressively better and could be a contender for the team trophy.
On the girls side, Rowland Hall, Parowan and North Summit are the front-runners, with Enterprise, Emery and Manti promising to make the race interesting.
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