Abby Taylor finished her final race of Saturday and found a place to stretch out. She looked like she didn’t want to be bothered.
At least until a BYU Invitational official walked up to her and offered a gift — the finish-line ribbon that the Desert Hills junior crossed first in the 200-meter race.
Taylor smiled and wrapped the memento around her, all the while hoping that she can collect a few of those in two weeks at the state track meet. But this was quite the tune-up for her, and quite the place to do it.
“It’s seriously like running on clouds. It’s such a fast track,” Taylor said of the blue surface at BYU that track athletes of all ages enjoy. “It’s not gravelly, it’s bouncy and smooth.”
Taylor, like many competitors, enjoyed a two-day, relatively pressure-free showcase that pitted the tops in the state (qualifying times were required just to be eligible) against each other. Taylor, a standout in 3A, love seeing names she knew from 1A all the way to the biggest schools in 5A.
Kanab sprinter Merrill Terry agreed. He played quarterback and always told himself the large-classification players and teams were never anything more special; just bigger numbers wise.
Terry won the 100-meter dash, also proudly wearing the finish-line tape along with the polka dot red, blue and white socks that complemented his school-colors uniform.
“It lets me see all of the competition through the state, instead of just in my region. It’s good to see everyone that’s going to be at the state track meet,” said Terry, who barely outlasted teammate (and a former passing target, as a Kanab wide receiver) Luke Crosby at the finish line.
Crosby said this was an important “dress rehearsal” to feel ready for the state meet May 16-17.
“There are more people at state, but you know the environment and what to expect,” he said.
Taylor noted her goal in the next two weeks is to “make sure I stay humble, because anything can happen” in her variety of races plus long jump.
Cedar’s Bryan Pearson sure hopes anything is possible He is trying to make an impact in his final high school season after missing last year’s meet (and also the fall cross country extravaganza) because of stress fractures in his legs.
He is enjoying his results right now.
He took third in the blistering 800 final, though it was his second-fastest time of the season. Ricky Faure from Rock Springs, Wyo., won it in 1:50.70, which was tabbed as the sixth-fastest time in the country this year. It may work to Pearson’s advantage to be part of that performance.
“It’s a huge confidence booster to be with the top in the state. It’s a great opportunity to PR and have fun,” Pearson said.
Taylor took second in the 100, coming up 6-hundredths of a second short against Alta’s Madison Lyons, while teammate Olivia Leavitt won the 100 hurdles.
Whittni Orton of Panguitch took third in the 800 for 1A-2A schools. Kaylie Orton was second in the 100 hurdles. They’ll be expected to fare just as high when the state meet rolls around.