Mike Terry, Deseret News
Zack Bowden, anchor runner on the 4x100, gets the baton from Davis teammate Dan Willaby during a meet earlier this season. Davis is expected to be the 5A team to beat in this year's state meet.

Given its winning history and sheer collection of talent, Davis was considered a runaway state title favorite in 5A boys track even before the snow was completely melted off the ground.

The Darts have shown that such faith has not been misplaced. In nearly every meet this spring, Davis has bowled teams over with its depth and racked up enough points to win one team title after another by comfortable margins.

And with at least two or three athletes to draw on for each event, the Darts feel confident about doing more of the same in this weekend's 5A state track meet at BYU.

"With Davis, that's what keeps us in it every year is our depth," senior Bryce Hall said. "We have so many kids on the team with so much potential and they come out each year and work hard."

Depth has been most evident in places like shot put and discus, where Hall and teammate Tony Hill are perhaps the top two throwers in the state. It has also helps the relays, especially the 400-meter relay where Davis has racked up wins and one record after another in recent weeks.

Many classifications, like 5A, have teams that seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Judge Memorial is again a title favorite for 3A and are led — once again — by one of the nation's best distance runners in Luke Puskedra. In his final season with the Bulldogs, Puskedra has piled up key victories at the Arcadia Invitational and the BYU Invitational.

He also became the first high school athlete in Utah to run under nine minutes in the 3,200 at BYU — a sign to Puskedra that he is on track to add to his state title tally.

"It's a lot different running at altitude," Puskedra said. "It's good to know I made the adjustment."

With stars like Trac Norris and Taylor Bremner leading the way, it will be difficult to dislodge Panguitch from 1A's top spot. Norris is a multiple state title winner and both athletes can pile up the points quickly.

Box Elder has been the team to beat in 4A for more than a decade and the Bees look like they have what it takes to add to their dynasty again this season. Another successful title quest begins with Hyrum Iverson, who has been chalking up wins or runner-up finishes in the hurdles all year.

Mountain View — led by state record-setting pole vaulter Bobby Kittrell — Orem and Springville appear to be the best candidates to unseat the Bees this time around.

In 2A, Juab looks to be the frontrunner, with Kanab and Richfield tight on its heels. Wasps senior Russ Nielson, a winner in the high jump and javelin at the BYU Invitational, will be a state-title favorite in several field events. Grand senior Gordon Garrett should be just as dominant in the sprints, where he already set a state record in the 200 earlier this spring.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com