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Runners triumph at Rendezvous race

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

For the Park City High School cross-country team, the Utah High School Activities Association can organize the race in whatever manner they please, they still find a way to win.

This Saturday, it was the Wahsatch Rendezvous the ideal race for anyone a bit overwhelmed by the confusion and chaos of the usual cross-country race, with runner after sweaty runner crossing the finish within seconds of each other. Instead, runners are separated according to seeding determined by each school, meaning all the No.1 runners are together, all of the No.2 seeds are in a different race and so on.

Despite not having any runners in the top seven in the state a rarity for Park City the girls still managed the overall victory.

A separated race is not the most ideal for Park City. Without a front-runner, the Miners draw on their ability to run in a pack and use strategies and tactics as a group to overcome other runners. Elli Reed, who took seventh in the No.1 race with a time 18 minutes and 43.8 seconds, says she missed running with the other Park City racers. Park City head coach Jeff Wyant hopes that the seventh-place finish will motivate Reed to start moving up as the team continues towards the region and state competitions.

The different racing style is a welcome change of pace for the cross-country team mid-season, he says.

"I like this style. It’s fun for the kids," Wyant said.

Among the race’s benefits, it offers an opportunity for middle-of the pack runners to have the feeling of winning a race.

"It’s like having somebody drive you somewhere," Wyant said. "You never know how it feels to drive."

It also allows a team as deep as Park City’s to see how well each of their runners is performing.

Among the boys, Prescott McCarthy continued to prove his stature in the state running scene, finishing third behind 3A nemesis John Hart of Cedar in the No. 1 seed race, with a finish of a time of 15:41.4. McCarthy has beaten Hart in previous races. Nate Jewkes of 5A Bingham took first.

The performance of the day though, belonged to Andrew Archer, Park City’s No. 2 male runner. Archer shaved a whopping 20 seconds off of his time to drop down to 16:22.8 just 22.8 seconds off of his goal for the season of 16 minutes. Archer says the difference was mental.

"In my previous races, I haven’t really considered it a ‘race,’" Archer said.

The Park City coaching staff had encouraged the senior competitor to attack events as races not just another run, but on Saturday, Archer took the initiative and says he will compete like that the rest of the season. He also plans to focus on improving his speed in the last 400 yards of the race.

Wyant says that the separated races may have also helped him to run a little faster.

"It’s because with that style he knows he can race those guys," Wyant said.

Wyant was also pleased with the performance of his No.7 seed runner, freshman Carson Fugal, who has been improving drastically in the second half of the season and finished third in his individual race with a time of 17:18.8.

The Miners will be back on course on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Morgan and again on Friday at the Cedar Invitational at 3 p.m.


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