Miners reign at Round Valley
The venue was different, but the success of the Park City High School cross-country team remained the same at the Park City Round Valley meet on Wednesday afternoon.
The Miners made the move across town from the McPolin Barn to the Quinn’s Junction Sports Complex and pulled off an easy win for both the boys and girls squad against Region 10 competition in a three-mile run. The Miners finished with 20 overall points for the girls and 23 for the boys. Wasatch and Morgan followed closely behind.
"The team looked great," said Park City head coach Jeff Wyant. "A couple of guys moved up big. They’ll continue to climb."
Leading the girls once again was senior Julie McMahon, who is slowly proving herself as a force to be reckoned with against statewide competition. For the boys, top Park City runner Prescott McCarthy returned to his usual form, following a cramp-filled competition on Saturday, to win by a large margin.
"The whole team did a lot better," said McCarthy. "It gives us confidence for the next competition.
McMahon was chased by Wasatch runner Madalyn Olpin, who led for most of the race, but was unable to maintain her lead in the final mile.
"I was behind Madalyn for most of the race, so she definitely pushed me," said McMahon. It was good to have someone your speed to help you along."
In mid-week, mid-season meets, competition is often thinner than weekend invitationals where schools from across divisions and around the state tend to show up. Wyant says he uses smaller races as opportunities to give his top runners more practice in competitive situations. McMahon, McCarthy and Andrew Archer were challenged to finish miles one and three in specific amounts of time and used the second mile as a rest period.
"We wanted to hit a very fast first mile to prepare for Saturday," Wyant said.
The next test will be a big one for Park City. On Saturday they head down to the Bulldog Invite in Orem where other strong programs like Judge, Davis and Mountain Crest will be on course.
"The big ones will be there," Wyant said. "We want to see how we stack up."
Wyant is confident that the boys will be among the top schools in 3A and the girls may be one of the best programs in the state, regardless of division.
The Miners will have the addition of Elli Reed, who splits time with the soccer team during the week. Rosie Brennan, who is healing from a spring leg surgery, may also take the course.
But even without a full team or full competition on Wednesday, the Miners were still happy to put another win under their belt.
"Every race is important, even if it’s not your top competition," McMahon said. "You have to approach it the same."
The new course, which featured two hills and a number of loops across the landscape surrounding the National Ability Center, debuted to mix reviews by the runners. Even though the course was the ideal cross-country trek, some runners found it a bit rough on their feet.
"It was a little rocky. You had to be careful where you put your feet," said McMahon.
"I liked it," said McCarthy. "It was really hard. Really hilly."
Wyant says that the move will most likely be permanent. Co-head coach Bill Kahn said that once the grass is ready on the Complex fields, the course could move down there.
"The other one had a lot of pavement, so we moved up here," Wyant said. "Plus, it’s spectator friendly."
Wednesday’s race was well attended by Park City and Wasatch supporters. From the front of the National Ability Center, fans could easily see the students running above them for most of the race.
Park City will have another chance to watch the speedy Miners on Saturday at the Bulldog Invite in Orem. Competition starts at 8 a.m. at the Cascade Golf Course.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.