Os and ahhs. Ogden celebrates their team titles in the late evening light at Sugar House Park. Contributed photo.
Maybe the biggest thing we learned from the last two days of meets is that very little of the established order of things has changed--at least not yet.
We learned that American Fork can still take down the Davis boys, at least where their own grass relays course is concerned (we'll have other opportunities to test this hypothesis later in the season). We learned it's going to be very tough to take anything from Ogden, again. We learned that 3A programs Ogden and Park City are better than almost all 4A and 5A programs. And so it goes.
There's a lot of cross country left in this season, but it's starting out a lot like where it left off.
Let's take a closer look at each individual meet:
Now 17 years running, this one never fails to impress. Maybe most impressive of all this year was Summer Harper taking down Heidi Magill's 10-year-old course record. Magill turned her double circuit in 11:41 wearing a Mountain View uniform in 2002. Wearing Orem colors, Harper shaved a full five seconds off the old record. And now there is a new standard to shoot for.
And, while Luke Puskedra's amazing 9:41 lived to see another day, Jake Heslington posted the second-best boys' mark in meet history with a 9:56. It was only the fourth sub-10 split in meet history.
Teamwise, the day belonged to the American Fork boys and the Davis girls. American Fork gained ground on their Davis rivals in four of the five legs, ultimately building a margin of 47 seconds. If you score the splits from this one in traditional cross country fashion, American Fork beats Davis soundly at all five scoring positions. Do you suppose that maybe the Cavemen came in a little fired up for this one? American Fork got five splits in 10:32 or better, with Connor McMillan saving the fastest leg for last in 10:07. Oh, and that 51:46 team time? Just a new meet record, that's all.
Summer Harper's monster effort notwithstanding, the girls' day beloned to the team from Davis. The Dart quintet of Ellie Child, Joanna Boyd, Kenzie Weir, Shea Martinez, and Ashley Tyndall opened a gap of 1:04 on a very good Mountain Crest team in second. Each of the top five teams of Davis, Mountain Crest, Orem, American Fork, and Skyline bear watching through the remainder of the season. These five were in a league of their own on Saturday.
The good news is that if you're a die-hard cross country fan, you can take in both of this weekend's high school invitationals in northern Utah.
There have to be several large school programs shaking their heads in the aftermath of this one. Ogden and Park City go 1-2 in the girls varsity race; Ogden wins the boys team title; and Ben Saarel, Jordan Cross, and Michael Finch give the 3A boys a 1-2-3 finish in the boys varsity race.
The Ogden strategy is simple--stack 'em deep up front. Works well if you can do it, and the Tigers can. For the girls, Ogden got a 1-5-7 from Sarah Feeny, Jessica Sams, and Melissa Garrett. For the boys, Ogden got a 2-8-12 from Jordan Cross, Mike Buckley, and Justin Sheets. Simple, but effective.
Park City's 8-9-10 from Alisse Walker, Sophie McDonald, and Alyssa Snyder was nice, but short of what it would take to overhaul Ogden. We haven't seen the last of the Ogden-Park City showdowns for 2012, however.
5A powers Riverton and Bingham joined 4A power Herriman in a very close match for second, with honors there ultimately going in Riverton's favor.
While everyone was busy up north, there was a good-sized meet taking place in Cedar City as well.
A short-handed Pine View team (Michael Finch ran Friday evening at the Highland Invitational) came up short to Desert Hills in the boys' team scoring, but unless Finch would have provided a huge emotional lift in addition to his usual performance, it wouldn't have made a difference. Make yourself a quick note to add Desert Hills to your list of 3A contenders. That 3-4-5 by Kristopher Hansen, Brigham Whitney, and Jaren Ashby (all at 16:31 or better) may turn out to be more significant than anyone could have anticiapted.
Also of note, Dixie's Jason Quinn shut the door on Tommy Ingalls' bid to repeat as the boys titleist for this meet.
Cedar's Aimee Bryson took the girls title by nearly 20 seconds. Her effort also paced an easy team title for Cedar, as the team in red ran away from Pine View and Desert Hills in the girls division.
"Wait a minute," you say, "you left out the big meet in Cedar City!"