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, it’s No. 15 on our list and a record-setting distance runner, Casey Clinger, and a few of his friends dominating the state for American Fork High.
#15 – Casey Clinger and the Cavemen running away
Senior Patrick Parker finished second in the 800-meter run at the UHSAA Class 5A state track meet. That was significant mostly because that middle distance event was the only running competition of distance that was not won by his American Fork teammate Casey Clinger during the 2016-2017 high school sports year.
Clinger was 1ess than 1/2-second behind his teammate in that 800, finishing third, but the elite athlete was the story during both the fall and spring seasons. At the state track championships, Clinger won the 3,200 in 8:57.9, the third-best all-time in the state, and he won the 1,600 in 4:08.17. The senior, who will next run collegiately at Brigham Young University, already owns the top two times in state history at 1,600 meters as he ran 4:06.22 at the 2017 BYU Invitational to break his own record 4:07.52, set at the 2016 state meet.
Those results are impressive enough, but Clinger also set a new state record on the state cross country course in the fall, when his 14:42.9 won that contest as well. His teammate, McKay Johns, finished second in that race, running the second-best time in state history in doing so.
Overall, American Fork owned distance running in 2016-2017. Clinger and Johns went 1-2 in cross country, with Parker finishing fifth as the Cavemen won the 5A team state championship. The team went on to run at the Nike Nationals at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon, where Clinger won his second consecutive national title and American Fork captured second collectively.
For his cross country efforts, Clinger was named both the Gatorade Utah and national boys runner of the year. He finished off his final year of high school competition on the track, winning those two events. Parker was second in the 1,600 and Johns was fourth, while Johns run third and Parker fifth at 3,200 meters.
Those three runners are moving on from American Fork but it’s not like the cupboard is bare. Sophomore Carson Clinger was 14th at this year’s state cross country championships and sophomore Joe Corbridge finished seventh in the 800 at the state track meet. The dominance of the Cavemen is impressive, and it’s No. 15 on our TOSH Top 25 stories of the year.