PARK CITY, Utah — Ben Saarel is enjoying his final days as a senior at Park City High School, and he deserves it. He established himself as the best high school distance runner in the country this year, and he could be the best high school runner to ever come out of the state of Utah.
“It’s incredible, and it’s really humbling,” Saarel said. “I’m glad to be one of the group of guys to come out of Utah and do something for the state.”
Saarel went undefeated this season, setting state records in the 800, 1,600 and the 3,200 meter runs. He was also impressive on the national scene, winning The Dream Mile last month in New York City against the best high school runners in the country. That was one of the highlights during his incredible season.
“Winning the Dream Mile, because it was such a huge field was great,” Saarel said. “Another one would be the Arcadia Invitational, because that was the first big race that I felt like I could do something really big. I think those two races really showed me what I’m capable of doing, and hopefully they are good signs for the future.”
Saarel will run cross country and track at the University of Colorado, but that could have been Utah, if the Utes had a men’s track and field team.
He said: “The interesting story about that is I kept contacting the athletic director, saying, ‘Are you ever going to get a team soon?’ If they had the distance team there is a really good chance I would go there.”
Saarel said he’s not going to spend time thinking about being the next great distance runner, although he just might be, he’s going to try to improve every day, just like he did during his final year of high school.
“It’s been a heck of a year for me,” Saarel said. “I’ve got a lot of support along the way. I’m really happy in what I’ve been able to do this year and what I’ve accomplished.”