Dan Arrhenius isn't really looking forward to the Utah State High School Track and Field meet this weekend.
It means nothing. It means less than the regular season meets. At least there, he could compete in the shot put and discus against Judge Memorial's Paul Northway."No, I guess not (it doesn't mean anything)," said Arrhenius, a junior at Mountain View High School. "Actually, it's the meets after. The Great Southwest and the Golden West (meets). That's where I get to compete against the best in the nation."
Yes, well, the state meet is one of many that means a lot to Arrhenius' father - Anders Arrhenius. A former BYU All-American and 1972 Olympian from Sweden, the elder Arrhenius can take much of the credit for his son's charge in the weights.
"They have this dream," said Mountain View coach Dave Houle. "First, take care of high school and the national scene and eventually look to college and the Olympics. As hard as he works, he has a good chance."
So far, Utah athletes haven't risen to Arrhenius' challenge. The 6-foot-5, 250 pounder has thrown the shot put 60-feet, 5-inches and the discus 183-8. And, even though Northway launched the discus further (into a nearby parking lot 214 feet away at a meet in St. George earlier this season), Arrhenius has won every state qualifier.
With Northway in the 4-A ranks, the only competition Arrhenius faces in the 5-A competition is from the past, where he hopes to break the state record.
"I'll be going after it," he said. "I've never thrown that far . . . even in practice. But I get more pumped up for the meets."
Arrhenius will be one of many athletes getting pumped up for the state meet, which starts Friday morning at BYU's track stadium. The two-day meet will feature teams from all five Utah classes. Time trials - and a few finals - will highlight most of Friday's action. Saturday's events will all be finals.
If the fans are looking for an exciting event, they won't pay attention to Arrhenius. That's because, barring a miracle, he will win the 5-A boys shot put and discus.
Then he'll move on to the summer events. Last year, he also spent the summer throwing. He even went to Sweden for competition. That trip forced him to miss most of the football season. He joined the club by Sept. 1, but nagging knee and back injuries have him considering being a one-sport athlete next year.
"I kind of want to concentrate on track," he said. "I want to try to be No. 1 in the country."
Currently, Track and Field News ranks Arrhenius the top junior in the country in the shot put and discus. Overall, his throws rank him 11th in the shot put and third in the discus.