Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 18.
#18 – Distance surprises
Herriman’s Lucy Biles and Conner Mantz of Sky View have been headliners in Utah high school distance running for a number of years. The seniors have been out in front at both cross country and track and field competitions, and have earned fantastic reputations.
To beat either one, Biles in 5A girls competition or Mantz among the 4A boys, should be considered a big deal. That’s what makes the 2014-2015 accomplishments of Josh Collins and Aubrey Argyle worth of No. 18 in our countdown of the Preps Utah Top 25 stories of the year.
The first surprising result was aided somewhat by an injury that cost Mantz down the home stretch of the 4A state cross country championships. Collins, a Wasatch High senior, finished strong and ran down the Sky View senior down the stretch to win the state championship that had belonged to Mantz.
When Collins outkicked Mantz again in the spring in the 1,600 meter run at the state track and field championships, it allowed the Wasp distance runner to double down. Mantz did get a measure of revenge when he finish six seconds ahead of Collins the next day in the 3,200, but the Wasatch runner had made a name for himself against one of the state’s best.
Biles asserted her dominance of the 5A girls distance races in the fall, when the University of North Carolina bound senior took the state cross country championship by a little over two seconds, with Davis sophomore Argyle running second.
That close finish set the stage for the spring, when Argyle came on strong at the 5A girls state track and field championships. The sophomore kicked off the event by finishing three seconds ahead of Biles in Friday morning’s 1,600.
To show that it wasn’t a fluke, the newest Dart distance sensation repeated that result Saturday morning in the 3,200. This time, more than eight seconds separated the two runners as Argyle earned a reputation as the up-and-coming star at distance by holding off one of the state’s most decorated runners.
Biles came back to close out her high school career by winning the 800 and she and Mantz will move onto the next level as highly successful prep runners. Collins made a name for himself also as he moves on, while Argyle is now the runner everyone will be shooting for when cross country season rolls around again.
Argyle and Collins are story No. 18 in our countdown.
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