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High school track: Davis, Woods Cross among favorites at boys state meet

Published: Monday, May 13 2013 3:15 p.m. MDT

Park City High's Ben Saarel smiles after winning the boy's 3A 800 meter race at the Utah State High School Track Championships Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Provo Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Park City High's Ben Saarel smiles after winning the boy's 3A 800 meter race at the Utah State High School Track Championships Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Provo Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

The boys track & field program at Davis High School is no stranger to success with 15 state championships in school history.

This weekend at the state meet at BYU, the Darts hope to add to that legacy by becoming the third team in school history to three-peat as 5A state champion.

“We talk a lot about that, representing our program, representing our school, representing our past athletes and all the work they’ve done,” said Davis coach Corbin Talley. “Tradition is a huge part of what we’re doing.”

Barring a major collapse, Davis should have no problem securing that three-peat, which is a common theme at the boys track meet this weekend.

Outside of the Class 1A, where as many as five teams could factor into the state title race, there are clear-cut favorites in every other classification. In addition to Davis, Woods Cross is the no-brainer favorite in 4A, Desert Hills is modestly favored in 3A while Richfield should easily run away with the 2A title.

“I don’t think there’s anybody that’s going to contend or touch Woods Cross,” said Orem coach Andy Jacobs. “They’re the absolutely team to beat when it comes to the boys side. I think they’ll score over 100 points, which is really unheard of for a boys team.”

Woods Cross sprinters have turned in three of the 10 fastest 100-meter times in Utah this season, while Jacopo Spano broke the overall 200-meter state record at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago.

The Wildcats may not get a lot of points in the distance events, but expect to see plenty of Woods Cross athletes on the podium in the sprints and hurdles.

Just like 5A where the real race is probably for second between Alta and Riverton, the battle for 4A second place is definitely intriguing as well between teams like Herriman, Sky View and Timpanogos, among others.

In 3A, Desert Hills is going to be a tough team to beat because of its balance. The Thunder has a nice blend of sprinters and distance runners, as well as throwers and jumpers.

“I don’t think there’s a team that’s well-rounded quite like we’ve got, but you never know,” said Desert Hills coach Dace Goulding.

Dixie and Hurricane have been dealing with key injuries lately, but if they’re healthy this weekend they’ll battle Wasatch for second place.

Perhaps the most intriguing storyline in 3A is the state-record pursuit of Park City’s Ben Saarel. He set the new 3,200-meter state record at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago, and he’s preparing to make a run at state records in the 800 and 1,600 this weekend as well if the weather cooperates.

Coming off dominant performances at the BYU Invitational and the Region 15 Championships, Richfield should have no problem running away with its first 2A title since 2009.

Coach Bryan Griffin is trying to keep his kids focused, though. Last year Richfield beat Grand by 20 points at the region meet, but Grand returned the favor with a narrow win at state.

“I feel like we’re still pretty cautious because we know anything can happen at state looking back at last year, but right now we feel good going in,” said Griffin, who expects North Summit to provide the biggest challenge.

In 1A, the team title is up for grabs between Rich, Duchesne, Layton Christian, Monticello and Panguitch.

“I think it’s pretty wide open. I think it could go to any of those teams,” said coach Glen Smith.

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