The times keep changing but the faces stay the same this season in Utah high school track. With state competition only two weeks away, the 85th annual BYU Invitational was held Friday and Saturday as a tune up and an official qualifying event.
The same teams have appeared at the top of the standings for the entire track season and at BYU the results were much the same. Mountain View won the boys' competition with 72 points, followed by Viewmont with 67 and Bingham in third with 54.In the girls' competition, 4A's East took home another meet victory with 62 points while American Fork was close behind with 58 points. East entered the meet with no plans to win team competition on the day but coaches and athletes were happy with the final results.
"We're kind of surprised," said East coach Ben Stowell. "It's nice in a meet with so many people here to do well, especially when we're a small 4A school. We have real athletes in every event. We've got them across the spectrum."
American Fork missed some points it usually counts on in the 400-meter dash and in the high jump, but all schools recognize that the invitational and the state meet are completely different competitions.
"It's interesting to watch the coaching strategies," said Bingham coach Jeff Arbogast. "Do you bring a kid to qualify or bring another kid to score points?"
For many of the competitors, region competition is only a week away so some coaches chose to use reserves and rest some of their multi-event competitors.
Aaron Salahuddin had the day's best mark when he set a state record in the 100 meters with a mark of 10.62. He knew from the start of the day that great things were ahead.
"I just woke up and thought, `I am going to have a good day.' "
In his next event, the 4x100, he pulled a muscle and was forced to stop mid-race.
"It just popped," he said. He said his leg will be fine for state and region competition claiming that it was just a strain.
Jeff Hopkinson of Bingham set a meet record in the 800 meters with a 1:53.93 thanks to a good push from a strong field. He was hoping for under a 1:52.00 and will set his sights on that mark for state. Other good men's performances included Dan Arrhenius winning the shot (58-3) and the discus (182-2) to collect 20 team points for Mountain View.
In the women's competition, Amanda Busenbark from Bear River ran well with wins in the 100 (12.21) and 200 (25.23), while her sophomore teammate Holly Gibbons won the heptathlon with 4,382 total points. Kearns won the 1600 medley relay with a 4:01.33, anchored by Melanie Clark, who ran her split in an unofficial 57.00. Elizabeth Jackson of East ran the 1600 meters (5:00.47) without anybody challenging her down the stretch.