All in all, Wednesday wasn't a bad day for Miles Batty. The Jordan High senior not only won the individual 5A boys' cross country title, but also helped his Beetdiggers win their first-ever state crown during a soggy afternoon of races at Sugarhouse Park.
Oh, and he was named to the 5A Academic All-State team after the race as well. Truly, not a bad day.
Batty held off Davis High's Josh Adams and Jordan teammate Jared Bienlien to finish first in a time of 15:52.8. That was actually faster than last year's winning time by Viewmont's Brian McKenna of 16:06.2 despite a constant rain that plagued racers all afternoon. More importantly, coupled with the efforts of Bienlien, Ryan Bingham, Kyle Becci and Jacob Wagstaff, the senior-dominated 'Diggers took home gold for the first time in school history.
"It feels great. We really wanted it," Batty said afterward. He figured to be contending with Adams, Bienlien, McKenna, Alta's Brett Kotter and Brighton's Jorgan Jacobsen for the title, and the race seemed like a log jam the first mile or so. As the rain fell and the running "paths" got slicker, Batty maintained his focus and slowly began to pull away to win by almost 17 seconds over Adams.
Meanwhile, Mountain View held off upstart American Fork for the 4A title, senior Patrick Smyth helped Judge Memorial to its second 3A title in the past three years, Juan Diego edged North Summit and Juab for its first 2A crown, and Piute ended St. Joseph's five-year reign atop 1A.
Davis took second in 5A boys, thanks in large part to Adams, who became one of the state's top runners this year. But Jordan, with all five of its top finishers ending their prep careers, was just too strong for the rest of the field. The Beetdiggers finished third a year ago.
Provo High junior Jared Rohatinsky, ninth a year ago as a sophomore, easily won the 4A medalist honors with a 15:43.3 clocking. The latest star in the Rohatinsky family of running greats was 47 seconds faster than a year ago, when this meet was held in record heat that drained many of its participants. Mountain View captured its fourth straight 4A title and eighth straight overall, holding off the determined efforts of American Fork to win by 13 points. Cavemen coach Timo Mostert was thrilled with his team's performance.
"Well of course they worked very hard, obviously, this year," he said. "We really wanted to give Mountain View a strong challenge, and it says a lot about Utah County programs that the top seven teams in both divisions (boys and girls) came from down south. I think we push each other, which makes us work that much harder."
Mountain View's Spencer Evenson was second, John Bell of American Fork third and Alden Bahr of Mountain View fourth in a tight race at the front.
Judge Memorial's Smyth and senior teammate Nik Hlady finished their careers with impressive performances as the Bulldogs trounced all comers in 3A. Judge finished with 31 points, beating second-place Cedar by 60 and Lehi by 66. Smyth's clocking of 15:34.6 was almost 50 seconds faster than his winning time a year ago. More important to him was his team's title, coming after finishing second to Cedar last October.
"We began thinking about this last year. It carried over into track last season and we really focused as a team for year," he said. Lehi's Daniel Urry, also a senior, was second at 16:00.6, with Hlady third at 16:07.1.
Juan Diego turned to Kyle Jarrett to help the Soaring Eagle win its first-ever boys' team title with a seven-point victory over defending champ North Summit. Jarrett, who was sixth last year, finished in a time of 16:22.3 to pace Juan Diego. Teammate Fabian Castillo, a junior like Jarrett, was fourth, and junior Danny Crnkovich was seventh.
"It's been a great afternoon," coach Dave Smith said after both his boys' and girls' teams won state titles. "These guys believed in themselves all year long." And with each of the top five finishers coming back next year, Juan Diego is already focusing on repeating.
The most exciting team race of the day was in 1A, where Piute edged St. Joe's by two points, 75-77, to win the Thunderbirds' first-ever state crown in boys' cross country. David Borgeson of St. Joe's won the medalist title as expected in a time of 17:03.7, and teammate Matt Trujillo finished fifth. But Piute sophomore Scott Dalton paced the T-Birds with a sixth-place finish, and when junior Brady King finished 34th overall, Piute had enough points to take the victory. The margin of that win was just eight seconds, as King was that far ahead the runner who finished two behind him. Otherwise, the teams would have tied for the team title.