Dedication the winner at Judge Invite
Practice makes perfect. At least that seemed to be the case for Park City runners Julie McMahon and Andrew Archer on Saturday morning at the Judge Invitational cross-country meet held at the Cottonwood Complex.
Although the Park City runners were unable to break into one of the top three places, which were mostly held by Judge runners, both Miners led the team in their respective races. Miners head coach Jeff Wyant says with their dedication, both are well on their way to being in those top spots at the end of the season.
"Julie’s just the perfect example. She’s a full-time runner. We don’t have to worry about her motivation. The same thing’s true with Archer. He’s been the guy with the work ethic. Those that train, excel," Wyant explained.
Both runners also say that their fellow talented teammates make a big difference. McMahon is a recent transplant to Park City from North Carolina and says that having some of the states best runners, like Elli Reed and Rosie Brennan, makes a huge difference in how well she runs.
"It’s really great to work with them and push it," McMahon said.
Before the season ends, the triumvirate hopes to gain enough speed to run in a pack that can effectively block out the top Judge runners.
"We’re all going to have to work together," McMahon said.
Reed, who made her cross-country season debut on Saturday with a 10th place finish, agreed.
"Hopefully by the end of the season " she added.
Archer says his drive has come from fellow Park City runner Prescott McCarthy.
McCarthy, a legitimate threat for the state boys individual title, was struggling with cramps on Saturday and finished a bit behind his usual time, but Archer still gives him all of the credit.
"If it wasn’t for Prescott, I wouldn’t be where I was today," he said. "If it wasn’t for all of the practice we’ve done together, I wouldn’t be on the varsity team."
McCarthy said that early on in the race, he knew that his cramps would hold him back and told Archer that this was his race. Archer accepted the challenge sprinting out the last 400 meters of the race to beat out other runners, and eventually collapsing after the finish line.
Archer says his biggest goal is not to finish in any certain place, but to get his time in the low 16-minute range before the end of the season. He is already making strides towards that goal.
"I improved 30 seconds from last season," he reported proudly.
Running well on the Cottonwood Complex course was no easy task. With rolling grassy hills and multiple loops, the runners were challenged from start to finish.
"There were a lot of hills placed in the exact spot where you need a break," McMahon said.
McMahon says she still struggles a bit with the altitude adjustment, but Wyant says in about a month, when the state championship rolls around, she should be fully adjusted.
Still, the Miners, who were split into race groups of underclassmen and upperclassmen, seemed to handle the race without much trouble. Even with many of the Judge runners, who are the Miners’ biggest competition, finishing ahead of them, Wyant says that the two teams are performing exactly as he expected at this point in the season.
"They’ve just got to crack open that top group," Wyant said. "Then, they [Park City] are so deep, they don’t have to beat them one-for-one."
The Miners will be able to show off their talent to the home crowd this week as they host the Park City Round Valley meet at the Quinn’s Junction Sports Comlex at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Then, they hit the road again on Saturday for the Bulldog Invite in Provo at 8 a.m.
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