The Park City High school girls' cross-country team won its fifth-straight 3A state championship Wednesday afternoon on the track at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. The 2012 crown is Park City's 10th in 11 years.
It was a record-setting day for the Miner program as the seven Park City girls broke the 3A state record for the fastest combined score at a state championship meet. Seniors Annie Orr (third overall, 18:16.3) and Ali Walker (fourth overall, 18:24.8) paced the Miners in the win, as did sophomore Alyssa Snyder, who broke the state's sophomore record finishing fifth overall with a time of 18:31.2.
"I don't consider cross country an individual sport," Walker said afterward. "I consider it a team sport."
Junior Sophie McDonald (ninth overall, 19:01.5), senior Emily Schmitt (16th overall, 19:38.3), freshman Leah Lange (18th overall, 19:52.2) and sophomore Summer Dvorak (19th overall, 20:04.8) were part of the crew that helped bring another 3A trophy to Park City High School.
"I'm going to remember this," Orr said. "I'm going to remember my team and the girls on this team. I'm going to remember my coaches and how much they pushed me and how they helped me to be better."
Park City senior Ben Saarel also sprinted his way into the state record books as the Miner star won his third-consecutive individual 3A state championship, finishing with a blistering final time of 14:56.7, good enough for second-fastest all time in Utah High School cross country history.
"This is once-in-a-lifetime," said Park City head coach Jeff Wyant. "You don't see this twice in a coaching career. You just don't."
Saarel said he wouldn't trade his three years running at Park City High School for anything, and was thankful for everyone who helped him along the way.
"Everything this year, I just listened to what everyone had to say and I think today we saw the result," he said. "I'm going to remember the people the most. They're the nicest people on the planet. I remember coming in as a sophomore and not knowing what to expect, but I listened and I've learned from those people, my coaches, my teammates and my parents, too."
South Summit's Grace Schulz, the lone South Summit female student competing at the state meet, won her first individual state title in the 2A girls' race as the Wildcat edged Emily Sundquist of Rowland Hall, finishing with a time of 19:32.6.
"It's really cool to be able to represent (my school) so well," she said. "I'm sure they'll all be really excited."