They were being labeled the best 1,600-meter high school races ever run in the state of Utah. One was a runaway victory by an old name not heard of much this year, while the other required a photo-photo-photo finish and a magnifying glass.
Meanwhile, part of the team scoring was not quite as it seemed, with the boys' trophy given to the wrong team before a scoring error was identified. More on that later.The triumphs in the 1600s by Timpview's David Spence and Provo's Kristie Brown were just two of the highlights of Saturday's 3A-4A segment of the two-day BYU-First Security Bank High School Invitational track meet.
Battling various illnesses all year and having his tonsils removed only a couple of weeks ago, Spence has been somewhat unheard of so far this spring. But not any more. His time of 4:13.31 in the 1,600 is the fastest ever recorded in state high school history, shaving more than four seconds off the 3A record and more than a second off the meet record.
Spence led throughout the race, turning a one-step lead over Viewmont's Mark Johansen going into the gun lap into a four-second winning margin. Viewmont's other distance standout, Ryan Anderson, finished third.
Meanwhile, the field in the girls' 1600 was just as talented and deep. Brown came from a quarter-turn behind on the final lap to edge Bingham freshman Lynette Peterson at the finish line - a culmination that had to be scrutinized carefully by the judges. It took the third of three Accutrack photos and a magnifying glass to determine the winner. In the end, one one-hundredth of a second separated them - a 5:00.01 to 5:00.02, both under the state record.
"That was the greatest women's mile and the greatest men's mile ever run in the state of Utah," said BYU women's track coach Patrick Shane after the back-to-back events.
And Brown completed a double-delight performance later in the afternoon with a 3A record-setting time of 10:56.89 in the 3,200, beating Peterson and Mountain View's Becky Bybee.
Officially, the boys' team champion was Orem, which won the title last year as well. However, the trophy was inadvertently given to Davis before statisticians discovered a scoring error. Davis actually finished third, behind Orem (64 points) and Timpview (51) with 47 total points. Weber (44) and Viewmont (37) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
However, the Darts can enjoy a temporary claim to fame - not to mention the trophy - since they were long gone before the error was discovered.
In the girls' team race, Layton outlasted '88 runner-up Weber, 67-61. Bingham took third with 56, Mountain View fourth with 55 and Judge Memorial, Provo and Cedar City all tied for fifth with 20 points each.
The Lancer ladies were led by a logjam of first-place efforts, most noteworthy a 4A record-setting 49.50 time in the 400 relay by Jenni Gooch, Ricci Bell, Yolanda House and Corrie Phelts. House and Phelts finished 1-2 in the 100, with House taking second in the 200. Meanwhile, Phelts was good for a first in the long jump and teammate Megyn Nimori won the girls' javelin.
Alta's Chad Knowles, last year's decathlon runner-up, won the '89 event with a score of 6,645 points, outdistancing second-place finisher Ben Higbee of Viewmont, who finished with 6,431.
Knowles offered a contradiction in terms when asked to describe how he felt after the two-day, 10-event challenge. "I feel crappy. No, I feel good; I feel great . . . Now, I'm hating it," said the 4A football MVP for state titlist Alta who called his decathlon performance "a state championship for me."
However, Knowles fell short of his goal of 7,000 points, with events like the long jump costing him.
In the girls' heptathlon, the unofficial title of top Utah prep female athlete goes out of state - to Evanston's Jaime Bowns, who racked up a two-day, seven-event total of 4,217 points. Without a javelin competition in Wyoming prep track, Bowns practiced for her first-ever javelin throw Saturday with a high-jump crossbar.
Even with her admittedly paltry javelin performance, Bowns easily outdistanced American Fork's Julie Trane, the 1988 heptathlon winner, who jumped from fifth to second in Saturday's final day of competition. Trane finished with 4,012 points - 2,000-plus better than her 3,809 total last year.
American Fork sprinter Bart Jorgenson, who set the 4A record with a recent 10.82 time in the 100, overcame a case of tendonitis, a week's layoff and a poor start out of wobbly starting blocks in the 100 to be a double-dash winner Saturday. He posted times of 11.09 in the 100 and 22.1 in the 200.
Bingham's Jenni Johnston won the 110 hurdles, finished a close second to Mountain View's Becky Perry in the 300 hurdles, and added a pair of thirds in the long jump and 100.
Another close contest ended up being the 800 boys, where .07 seconds separated first and second in the several-section race. Cottonwood's Chris Burton edged past Viewmont's Anderson at the finish line. Burton clocked 1:58.73, Anderson 1:58.76. In another section, Timpview's James Tree clocked 1:58.80 for third-place honors.