If one consistent theme held true last spring during the boys track and field season, it was that the sport's traditional powers maintained a grip on their spots at the top.
Davis claimed its second 5A championship in three years. Box Elder took home its fifth 4A crown in seven years. Judge was 3A's top team for a third time in four seasons. Richfield won its fourth 2A title in five years. Panguitch rounded things out by capturing its second straight 1A title its sixth overall since 2000.
Don't expect much change this season. All five defending champions look stronger than ever and have their sights firmly set on building up their track dynasties.
"That's always our goal every year is to try and win it," Richfield coach Bryan Griffin said. "This year is no exception. We got the talent to do it, if we can just get the kids to work hard."
With equal doses of depth and talent, Davis expects to be at the forefront of the 5A race once again.
Leading the Darts is Bryce Hall, a returning state champion in both the discus and shot put. Hall, a senior, set a school record and a personal record with his victories last year.
Joining him is junior Tony Hill, a top five finisher in shot put a year ago. Hall loves training with another thrower of Hill's caliber because he feels like it makes both him and the whole team better.
"Greatest thing ever," Hall said. "The more you have someone to push you, the better both of you become. The better training partner you have, the better you'll become."
Timpanogos and Skyline both could be contenders in disrupting another Davis title run.
The Eagles should be strong with distance runners Jeff Daw and 5A boys cross country champion Stephen Clark leading the way. The Timberwolves will turn to another strong sprinter in Taylor Lyons. Lyons finished second in the 100 and 200 meters as a junior, behind ex-teammate Silas Pimentel.
Repeating as 4A champs could be tough for Box Elder without state champions Alex Nelsen and Curtis Cosgrove. Still, the Bees do return enough contributors, including senior sprinter/hurdler Hyrum Iverson, to put themselves in the hunt.
Runner-up Timpview might be a contender again. The T-Birds return several distance runners along with one of 4A's best sprinters in Tyler Goodwin. Goodwin captured a state title in 100 last spring and finished second in the 200.
Judge should continue to dominate 3A behind a combination of depth and talent as good as any in the state.
The Bulldogs will be unmatched in long distance events as long as Luke Puskedra remains true to form. Puskedra carries a top five national ranking in both the 1600 and 3200 and he swept state titles in both events in 2006 and 2007.
Lewis Walker will also be favored in the long jump with 2007 champion Snow Canyon's Adam Timo now competing in 4A.
Besides another 2A title, Richfield is going for a seventh straight region crown. The Wildcats lost a pair of their top runners, but return some depth at both long and short distance races. Dane Whittaker, a sprinter, and distance runner Josh Monson could make the biggest impact.
The battle for 2A supremacy already feels familiar with Juab and North Summit among the top three again.
"It will be an instant replay of last year," Griffin said.With a host of athletes back, including 1A MVP Trac Norris, Panguitch has a good shot at winning its third consecutive title in May.
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