By Rich Winter
When Smithfield Utah's Conner Mantz was a freshman at Skyview he ran a 9:20, 3200 meters and finished about fifth against a loaded field of underclassmen.
I went up to Mantz afterwards and completed his first-ever interview. It was really more of a hey, how ya doin, that was dang impressive for a 14-year old.
Well Mantz is a junior now and at the recently completed Utah state high school meet he went into some rarified air.
Mantz won the 1600 meters in a time of 4:10, eh?
He did run the 3200 meters in 8:57.
Now, keep in mind that I believe University of Colorado freshman Ben Saaral is the only other Utah prep runner to break 9-minutes in the altitude of Utah.
Mantz not only did it at 5000 feet, he also did it at the state meet.
He won that race by 26 seconds and was the only Utah prep to dip under that heralded 9-minute mark.
As the fall cross-country season gets started, keep your eyes and ears peeled for Conner Mantz....