Here it's all about winning and scoring points for the team. As much as I would've loved to blast it out there and run a fast time and give people something to watch. It really was more for the win. – Brad Nye

PROVO — Two of the biggest track stars in Utah this year were both nursing hamstring injuries heading into the state track & field meet. Only one survived unscathed.

Wasatch's Cale Strong, who entered the meet with a sore left hamstring, injured his right hamstring in the final 20 meters of the last of his three races on Friday which effectively eliminated the Wasps' hopes to claim the 3A state title.

It was a crushing blow for the future Stanford star after he ran so well in the 110 and 300 hurdles heats earlier in the day.

Strong basically ruled himself out of Saturday's meet, and without his 20-plus points, the Wasps now face an uphill climb to catch Pine View, which is now the big favorite to claim the 3A boys state title.

Davis' Brad Nye was the other injury question mark entering the meet. He only ran one race, and it wasn't the race he dreamed of running, but it was still good enough for a state title.

When Nye ran the fastest mile time in the country at the Arcadia Invitational last month in California, he started setting his sights on trying to set a state record in the 1,600 at state.

A slight hamstring tweak picked up in last week's Region 1 meet spoiled those hopes of a state record, but not winning.

Nye ran a smart race Friday morning in the first race of the boys state track & field meet at BYU to capture the 5A 1,600 individual title with a time of 4:19.74. It was well off his 4:07.36 time at Arcadia, but he said that's the life of a runner.

"I was planning on coming here and going for the state record in the mile, the 1,600. Things happen, and that's the life of a runner. We just re-evaluated," said Nye.

His goal on Friday was to win the 1,600, rack up 10 team points, but in the process not over-exert himself knowing he has big 800 and 3,200 races on Saturday. Mission accomplished.

"Here it's all about winning and scoring points for the team. As much as I would've loved to blast it out there and run a fast time and give people something to watch. It really was more for the win," he said, whose Darts jumped out to 10-point lead over Alta in the 5A team race.

While Nye held back a bit in 5A, Timpanogos' Jacob Heslington went for it all in the 4A 1,600, setting a new personal best with a time of 4:17.34.

"It's a great time to PR obviously. It's what I've been working for all season," said Heslington, who won the 4A cross country title last fall.

Class 4A favorite Maple Mountain sits in fifth after the first day, but with 13 events remaining it is still very much the favorite.

In 3A, Park City's Ben Saarel — who owns the second fastest 1,600 in Utah this year set at the BYU Invitational two weeks ago — captured his second straight individual title with a time of 4:21.25.

With Jake Arslanian running the fastest times in the 100, 200 and 400 qualifying heats in 3A, the Panthers are in great shape heading into the second day. Arslanian's time of 10.75 in his 100 heat is the second best in Utah this year.

"I wanted a little bit faster, wanted to break the 10.6s and try and do something really special tomorrow with the agreeable weather. I'm very pleased with it. To go out and have a seasonal PR right now, I'm peaking at the right time," said Arslanian.

While nobody expects much drama in the 5A, 4A and 3A team races on Saturday, the 2A race is very wide open after Grand opened up a narrow lead over Manti and Richfield.

In 1A, Duchesne opened up a comfortable lead of Monticello.

One of the most impressive performances of the day belonged to Desert Hills' Tyler Ott, whose high jump of 6-08.25 is the best in Utah this year.

Alta's Steven Richards won the 5A discus with a very impressive 159-01.50, the third-best mark in the state this year.

Email: jedward@desnews.com