SOUTH JORDAN — Bingham High's cross country team has some pretty good chances of doing some good things in the state tournament coming up in October, but don't ask senior Chris Sorensen to make any predictions.
"We're not that bad," said 17-year-old Sorensen, who only started to run his sophomore year. "We think that we can win state. We'll see what happens. I don't like to predict."
Sorensen, along with other top senior runners at Bingham, Devan Antczak and Alex Weber, has made Bingham one of the favorites to upset Mountain View in the state tournament, which will be held on Oct. 17 at Sugarhouse Park.
Mountain View, which previously was a powerhouse in 4A but due to realignment moved up to 5A, is favored to win state. The Bruins beat Bingham in the BYU meet, the first race of the season for Bingham.
Bingham has bounced back though, performing well in all of its meets since, which probably has something to do with its hard work in the off-season.
Coach Jeff Arbogast, who also teaches English at Bingham, implemented a plan for the team to run 750 miles throughout the summer. Sorensen said he ran 655 of those 750 miles.
"There were other guys who did more than me," he said.
The kind of dedication it takes to run that many miles in the off-season is also expected during the regular season for Sorensen and the other team members, as Bingham has two practices a day. One in the mourning starting at "5:20ish" and one right after school.
"I'm supposed to be in bed by nine, which is kind of hard to do for a high school kid," said Sorensen, who is hobbled by an injury to his upper leg, which was likely caused by too much stress on it.
In the morning practice, the team runs what Sorensen calls "an easy run," which is usually between two to three miles. The after-school practices are for the team to work on their speed work.
Bingham is traveling by bus to Montana for an invitational that should have some tough competition. The top cross country school in Montana will be there as well as other top teams from around the country. No other teams from Utah were invited, Sorensen said.
For a kid who didn't even think about running cross country until his friend, trying to get into shape for basketball, asked him to try out for the team the summer after his ninth grade year, Sorensen has done well and is one of the top three runners at Bingham.
"(Cross country) wasn't all that bad, so I kept going," said Sorensen said of the experience that summer.
"That's the hardest question you can ask," he said. "Everything you do in cross country, you earn it."
Bingham is hoping that translates into a championship.