Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
Editor’s Note – The TOSH Top 25 is our countdown of the top 25 stories from the 2016-2017 school sports year, beginning with No. 25 and counting down, one story a day, to No. 1. The 2016-2017 high school sports year was filled with big performances, both team and individual. The act of narrowing down our initial list of top stories for our TOSH Top 25 stories of the year to just 25 was a difficult task. We asked people all over the state for input into our final list and beginning July 5, we are counting them down in reverse, from story No. 25 to story No. 1. Hopefully your favorite story of the past school year made our list.
Today, we reveal No. 24 and celebrate one of the state’s all-time great distance runners, Whitney Rich of Bingham High.
#24 – Bingham’s Rich haul is three state titles in one year
Bingham High is known for turning out strong female distance runners, and in Whitney Rich, the Miners produced one of their all-time best. Rich had success early on in her high school career, but everything was building towards 2016-2017.
The senior set the tone in the fall with an outstanding cross country campaign that earned Gatorade Runner of the Year honors. She won the Class 5A girls state title in a time of 17:39.3, the fourth fastest time in history on the state course.
After that start, Rich put a cap on her amazing senior season with two more state championships at the state track and field championships in May. She opened Day 1 with a 4:55.39 to win the 1,600-meter and finished things off on Day 2 by posting a 10:39.28 to win the 5A 3,200 championship.
That 3,200 time was enough to leave her state title competition in the rear-view, but it was not a personal best for the Bingham runner. She delivered that two weeks earlier on the same Brigham Young University track on which the state meet was held when she set the state 5A record at 10:34.73 at the BYU Invitational. That time is the fifth-best run for any classification in the state of Utah.
Next up for Rich is the chance to continue her running career on that same track as she has signed to run for the Cougars beginning in the fall. For now, her three-championship senior year is No. 24 on our TOSH Top 25 stories of the year.
TOSH Top 25 Stories of 2016-17