PROVO — There’s something about BYU’s track that brings out the best in Lehi’s Ryan Raff, pushing him to beat the nation’s best.
A year ago in the 3,200 meters at the BYU Invitational, Raff found an extra gear in the final lap to upset American Fork’s Casey Clinger — the Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
In the same race a year later, history repeated itself.
A perceived underdog against Timpview’s Aidan Troutner — the latest Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner from Utah — Raff never looked back after taking the lead in the second lap as he won comfortably with an impressive time of 9:00.40.
“I love this track, I love this atmosphere, this environment, there’s always good competition here. I just love running here. I feel like I always race well here,” said Raff, who’s committed to Northern Arizona.
Raff was hoping to slip under nine minutes, but knocking off those extra four-tenths gives him something to shoot for during the state meet in two weeks.
After a relatively disappointing outdoor season, Raff said, “this is definitely my best race in Utah this season.”
Troutner finished second with a time of 9:05.80, which is still the second-best time in Utah this season.
North Summit’s Sadie Sargent easily won the girls 3,200 race with a time of 10:35.59, less than a second off the 2A state record.
In the same meet last year Sargent finished in 11:05.91, which speaks to how much the senior has progressed this season. In fact, going back to her time of 11:24.47 during the BYU Invitational her freshman season she’s shaved 49 seconds off her time.
“I was so much smaller my freshman year. I’ve racked up my miles, workouts got harder and I just slowly progressed,” said Sargent, who’s committed to BYU.
The 3,200 races were the only finals on the track on Friday, but there were numerous other standout performances throughout the meet featuring 70-plus teams from Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho.
In trials on the track, Delta’s Dallin Draper turned in the best 100-meter time in the state this season (10.69), while Davis’ Andrew Simonsen recorded the best 300 hurdles time (37.94).
On the field, there were three season-best performances.
At the same meet he set the long jump state record last season, CZ jumped 23’01.50 for the best mark in 2018.
Beaver’s Austin Carter continued to inch closer to the shot put state record with a thrown of 65’05, which is just 13 inches shy of the all-time state record set back in 2004.
Orem’s Cooper Legas heaved the javelin 197’04 for the top mark in the state this year.
On the girls side, Box Elder’s Alexis Koetitz and Provo’s Meghan Hunter both posted top times in Utah this spring. Koetitz recorded a 44.58 in her 300 hurdles qualifying heat, while Hunter posted a 24.20 for the top qualifying time in the 200 meters.
The BYU Invitational continues on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the golden hour of finals slated to begin around 3 p.m.