Sarah Feeny of Ogden hasn't lost all season, but will be put to the test this weekend - Photo by Kyle Perry
If there is one thing to be said about the Bob Firman Invitational this weekend, it would be that most people have overlooked the Utah talent. With meet previews highlighting everyone except the Utah competitors, no one seems to think our local athletes can run with the best. If there is one thing I have learned, it would be to watch out for Utah, because we boast some of the strongest distance running talent in the country, especially for the size of the state. The meet does bring some very good talent from Washington, Idaho, and California, but there are plenty of runners from Utah that can steal the show. So who is most likely to surprise the competition in Idaho this weekend?
The Darts- Davis is underrated this season. They lost some great talent last year and no one knew they would bounce back so well. The SW region rankings finally have them near the front of the pack, and they deserve to be there. If the darts aren’t top 3 on both the boys and girls side this weekend I would be surprised. Last week we saw the emergence of Aubrey Argyle as a new threat in the state, and it will be fun to see how she hangs with the talent at an even bigger meet. Skylar Williams will lead the charge for the boys. He was near the front at the BYU Autumn Classic, and you know his coaches do a good job getting their athletes ready for big meets.
Kramer and Conner- Kramer Morton and Connor Mantz both finished very high last year at Foot Locker Nationals. Both have battled each other this season, with Kramer winning in both matchups so far. This weekend they will not be alone with some good competition expected at the meet. The meet previews that I have seen might not even know Morton is going, and Mantz’s team is on the list but can’t confirm if he will be there. Either way these guys are two of the best in the country and will show it this weekend.
Ogden- The Tigers will be sending their teams to the meet, and they are pretty solid on both sides. Individually for the tigers Sarah Feeny will be leading the charge on the women’s side. She was 5th last season at the meet, and has been improving consistently since then. I see her having a great day on a challenging course, and proving she is ready for national level competition. Their top boy Mike Buckley will be looking to get in the mix with the top dogs, and he has raced near the front this season. He will lead the Tigers Charge.
Bingham- The Miners have been running very well this season. I did not see them on the entry lists but the rumor is they will be making the drive. Wherever they do race this weekend, expect big things. Both their boys and girls teams are exceeding what I predicted in the season previews. Andrew Brewer is their top boy, and Marlee Mitchell is their top girl, and both are the level of talent to compete for the win at any given meet. They will both have their hands full with a stacked race but that just gives them more opportunity to run fast against great competition.
Herriman- Lucy Biles is another one of those runners that for some reason got left off some of the previews. Well we know she will be there, and we know she is talented enough to win on the day. I would not be surprised if it is her and Feeny battling it out for the 1-2 Utah domination. The top boy for Herriman, Rory Linkletter, is one guy I may have overlooked in the state preview. He won’t be making the trek to Idaho but I owed him a shout out, as he is one of the best guys in the state.
Timpanogos- Both on the boys and girls side, Timpanogos has been running well this season. They have a very small spread from their #1 to #5 on both the boys and girls sides of things. They have to keep that group close to the front this weekend, but if they do they could place very high. The small spread makes a bigger difference in the bigger meets, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Orem- The Orem boys had a break out race at the Murray invitational, nearly winning the whole meet. They also ran well at the BYU Autumn Classic. They are running consistent, and are ready to make the next step. They will have tough competition at Firman, but there’s no better day for a win. The Orem Girls are also performing well this season. They were 3rd at BYU behind Davis and AF. If they can get a small spread, and a good day from their top girl, Candace Greenwood, they could place very well.
American Fork- The AF boys will be staying home to race at Soldier Hollow, so it will just be the girls team in Idaho. They are a strong group who has a lot still left in the tank. They aren’t ranked right now in the SW region, but have the talent and great coaching that they will be after this weekend.
Other Utah teams to watch- Mountain Crest and Park City are also bringing teams to the meet, and have a lot of talent. They are both unknowns as to what exactly they are capable of. They have done very well, but still haven’t capped on what they can do. Keep an eye on either team to break out a big one. Also competing from Utah will be Hillcrest, Sky View, Tooele, Salem Hills, Rowland Hall, Stansbury, and Woods Cross.