Miners earn top spots at Murray invite | ParkRecord.com

Miners earn top spots at Murray invite

by Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The Murray Invite has traditionally been well-liked by the Park City High School cross-country team, but after running this year’s race, it may have moved to the top of the list.

The Miners took off on the 5K course at Murray Park on Friday afternoon and systematically placed themselves at the top of many of the races.

In the women’s junior varsity race, Alexis Lee broke away from the pack after the first mile and never looked back. Lee was running so fast that she broke her own personal best records at every mile and easily earned first place with a time of 21 minutes and 21 seconds.

"She put in the miles," said Park City coach Jeff Wyant about Lee’s training regimen. "She earned herself a varsity spot."

Her success was contagious in the varsity races. Park City’s Gillian Gorelik, who has been running well all season, had one of her best finishes ever and took fifthplace. On course, Gorelik was anywhere between sixth and eighth place but as the girls rounded the final turn of the race, Gorelik turned on the jets, sprinting her way to the finish.

"The Logan girl started to pass me, so I kicked it at the last corner," Gorelik explained.

"The Logan girl" is Taylor Thornely, who beat Gorelik during last year’s track season. Gorelik was determined to beat her this time around and let that desire guide her to the finish. Gorelik finished the face in 19:15, no small feat considering she was battling a cold and was fighting to keep pace with some of the fastest 5A division runners in the state. She said she focuses more on beating the 3A girls since that is who she will see at the state championship, but she likes the challenge of keeping up with the 5A teams. Gorelik said she also likes to lead to set a good example for her team.

"It’s really important," she said. "I want to be No. 1 on my team. I want to push them."

And push them she does as most of the Miners came in not far behind Gorelik to give the Park City girls a first place finish in 3A and third place overall behind 5A schools, Mountain Crest and Davis..

"The girls are the state favorite," Wyant said.

Things looked just as promising Park City in the boys varsity race, who, just like the girls, not only won the race on the 3A level but also managed to take third place, beating state powerhouse Timpanogos and finishing behind two of the best 5A schools in the state Alta and Davis.

"This is the best boys team we’ve ever had," Wyant said.

The boys’ success is a direct result of their depth. Rather than having one headline-grabbing runner, they have five fast runners that always finish near the top of the race. This may have been one of the best events ever for the Miners, who all finished within 30 seconds of each other.

It was definitely a "best-ever" day for Carson Fugal and Cameron Edwards, who both finished under 17 minutes for the first time in their prep careers.

"They are looking very strong," Wyant said.

Both boys agreed that the difference this year was their off-season training. After the boys barely lost to the state title to Ogden last season, they put themselves on a path to win that title that started with a rigorous of-season training schedule. Another big boost has come with the addition of Derek Alcorn, a transfer student from Spokane, who quickly fell in stride with the team and has been helping them produce big results since the start of the season.

"It’s really inspiring, actually," Fugal said. "It makes us stack up better."

According to Wyant, the team had been looking for one more runner to add to their varsity roster, but never imagined they’d get somebody as talented as Alcorn.

"That’s a gift" said Wyant. "That’s a Christmas present. You never get a kid that transfers and is as fast as that. He’s or No. 3 runner They love him."

Like Gorelik, the boys also try to focus on beating 3A teams, and if they run past other bigger schools – well, that’s just one more thing to be proud of.

"We have rivalries with Cedar and Judge and we push ourselves ahead and beat them," Fugal said.

The Murray course may be a favorite for the Miners because of the challenging hills and changing terrain which remind them of the Park City trails they run each day in practice. In the past few years, the team has had to run this particular race in heavy rain, but there were only sunny skies this time around. Edwards said he is still deciding if that was a good thing.

"We train in crappy weather," he said smiling. "This is a disadvantage."

The team will race again this Saturday at the Cottonwood Complex in Salt Lake at 8 a.m.

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