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The memory of last year's narrow defeat was fresh on Conner Mantz's mind midway through Thursday running of the Highland Invitational.
"[Alta's] Kramer [Morton] got me last year by half a second, so this time I was like, 'Not this time,' " said the Sky View senior, who was edged at the finish last year. "There was a Copper Hills guy [Christian Allen] right next to me and I was like, 'Uh oh, it's going to happen to me again.' "
This time, Mantz distanced himself from the field and easily won the boys' varsity race on the 2.9-mile course at Sugarhouse Park. Allen finished second, ahead of East's Garek Bielaczyc.
Because of a computer error, boys' times were not available Thursday.
"This means a lot," Mantz said. "It means that I'm on the right track and my summer training was good."
Timpanogos won the boys' team title with 86 points, ahead of runner-up Davis (99 points) and Lehi (123).
On the girls' side, Park City's Alyssa Snyder finished first in a time of 17:27.5 – 23 seconds better than her time a year ago when she placed seventh.
Snyder won despite never really feeling good out on the difficult course.
"I wasn't really going out to race hard today," the senior said. "I've had a tough week of training. I got into the second mile and I wasn't feeling great, but I just went for it. My legs were kind of shot the whole race."
Davis' Aubrey Argyle placed second, three spots better than Herriman's Lucy Biles, the pre-race favorite and Class 5A defending state cross country.
Biles was in position to make her closing kick with about 200 meters to go, but she caught her spikes on a rock and hit the ground.
"I was starting to kind of make a move," said Biles, last year's runner-up, who was left with scrapes on her knees and hips. "My plan was to catch the other girls, but I face-planted."
Davis won the girls' team title with 50 points, followed by American Fork (63) and Jordan (139).
Prep cross country Highland Invitational
O Sky View's Conner Mantz leads the 234-runner field across the finish line to win the boys' varsity event.
• Park City's Alyssa Snyder wins the girls' event in a time of 17:27.5, and pre-race favorite Lucy Biles falls and finishes fifth.
• Timpanogos (86 points) wins the boys' team title and Davis (50) claims the girls' title.