PCHS cross country hosts Invitational at Round Valley
October 4, 2016
Park City High School cross country Head Coach Steve Cuttitta always tells his runners to improve position with each mile. In a five-kilometer race, he isn't so much concerned about where the athletes on his team start the race, but rather continue to push and work hard all the way to the finish line. In turn, the result will be better than where they started.
Similarly, that's how both the Miners girls' and boys' teams have gone through the season, improving with every race, including this last weekend when Park City hosted the Park City Invitational at Round Valley.
"[The girls' team] ran probably the best we've run all year. Last week and this week, they've run really well," Cuttitta said. "[The boys' team has] been kind of a pleasant surprise all year. We have five boys in the [17-minute range]: that was the first time that we've put five in the 17s."
The best individual finish for any of the Miners came from Madison Carr, who nabbed an eighth-place finish with a time of 18:51. With bigger schools in the state such as Fremont and Herriman in attendance, finishing in the top 10 was no easy task for the senior, but she has her coach's strategy to thank for it.
"She moved up throughout the race," Cuttitta said. "She was about 25th at the one mile [mark] and moved all the way up to the top 10."
Following Carr were Mackenna Doilney in 33rd place (19:51) and Sydney Lapine in 46th place (20:05). Rounding out the top five for the girls' team were Daisy Townshend (20:16) and Sydney Oraskovich (20:17), who finished in 52nd and 53rd places, respectively.
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Both Doilney and Lapine are freshmen on this Park City squad, and Cuttitta believes that the Miners will reap the benefits of the youth movement as soon as this postseason.
"It's nice to have the freshman running well because they can really drop a lot of time, especially in the last couple of weeks of the year," Cuttitta said.
Leading the way on the boys' squad was sophomore Nick Burnz, who finished in 85th place with a time of 17:09. Kyle Weldon came in 14 seconds later (17:23) in 107th place, while Anton Hibl (17:39), Jackson Parker (17:53) and Jacob Freeman (17:57) rounded out the top five. Like previously mentioned by Cuttitta, this was the first time the Miners got their scoring five to all finish under 18 minutes.
While none are freshmen like on the girls' team, there are a number of first-year runners on the boys' squad that Cuttitta believes can continue improving into the postseason.
"They have some new guys that are really stepping up and doing well," Cuttitta said. "It's a solid pack, a solid group. If they can knock another 30-40 seconds, we'll be real competitive at the state meet."
This meet was good for his teams in a number of aspects, with the first reason being the terrain of the course. At Round Valley, the footing of the paths helped provide faster times in this race, but due to the hilly nature of the course, Cuttitta believes that this is the toughest course that the Miners will race on all season, including the state meet.
Additionally, having the opportunity to run against a high number of teams in the area, Park City is able to use this race as a barometer for where it stands in regard to its competition. Being closer towards the front of this race versus a little farther back at last week's Bob Firman Invitational in Idaho, the Miners have a good idea of where they stand, and Cuttitta likes what he sees.
"I think we're trending the right way," Cuttitta said. "Really after next week, it's just a matter of rest. Getting the kids ready for the end of the season, there's really not a whole lot we can do fitness wise. Hopefully the training that's been done since June pays off."
Next up for the Miners is the Region 10 Championship meet next Wednesday.