August Miller, Deseret News
Natalie Stewart, above, and her twin, Nachelle, are the keys to Spanish Fork's title hopes.

Ogden is hoping this is finally the year it sees an upgrade.

The Tigers are tired of seeing the second- and third-place trophies they have taken home from the 3A state track meet the last four years. Now that he is working with a talent pool as deep as it has been in years, Ogden coach Don Hall is convinced this season might be different.

With athletes like Chloe Calton, Sarah Callister and Lauren Crockett, Hall thinks this season will be the one where Ogden can finally get over the hump. Calton and Crockett both won individual events at the BYU Invitational, and Callister had a pair of top-three finishes.

"It looks like fewer points may win state and I think we can get those points," Hall said. "We're just hoping that will be enough to break the bridesmaid curse and maybe get married this year."

The road to a 3A title, like so many times in the past, could go through Judge Memorial again.

But top team could be neither Ogden or the Bulldogs if Cedar City delivers on its potential, The Redmen appear to be an instant factor with Shaye Maurer and Aubrey Bryson dominating in the hurdles and sprints.

In 5A, it should come down to either Davis or Spanish Fork. The Dons will go as far as twins Nachelle and Natalie Stewart can take them, and that final destination has been a first-place finish countless times over the past couple of seasons.

Both sisters appear on top of their game, with each setting a new state record at the BYU Invitational a week ago, and are expected to dominate the sprints and mid-distances.

For the Darts, it will come down to its bread-and-butter — relays and distance events. Davis has two of the state's best distance runners in Candace Eddy and Natalie Haws. The duo are most formidable in the 3,200 meters, where other athletes usually find themselves going for third place when running against them.

"We practice together, so when we race together it's kind of just like practice," Haws said. "We help each other out."

4A seems to be wide open at this point. Among those harboring the best title hopes are Region 7 Mountain View, Springville, and Box Elder.

On the individual level, Region 5 athletes are primed to dominate in the field events. Bountiful's Nicole Knighton has consistently outdone competition from all classifications in the shot put and discus this season. Bonneville javelin thrower Tiffany Hellstrom is simply dominant in her event.

Defending champion North Sevier looks like the favorite to take 2A again. The Wolves have a couple of standouts in Kaylee Coates and Melissa Porter that will score tons of points.

In 1A, Saint Joseph and Duchesne are the driver's seat after strong showings at the BYU Invitational. The Jayhawks will count on big things from distance runner Andrea Chavez, who topped the field in the 1,600 at BYU.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com