Girls take home first, boys finish second in Park City’s first meet
Chris Henry wins the boys varsity race
As Park City junior Chris Henry rounded the last turn and sprinted toward the finish line, all he could think about was his brother, Will. The older Henry was a state champion in track who now runs for Western Washington, and Chris wanted to emulate his tenacity.
“He’s like my mentor or whatever, he’s why I started running,” Henry said. “So I was thinking about him, thinking about how he raced. He would dig so deep, so I wanted to make him proud.”
Henry exploded down the final stretch and crossed the finish line in first place by about a second with a 3-mile time of 16 minutes and 14.4 seconds at the Park City Invitational Friday evening at Quinn’s Junction. Henry’s win boosted Park City’s boys cross-country team to a second-place finish out of 12 teams, and the girls team took home first in the eight-team field.
“We’ve worked out and we’ve run a lot and trained hard,” Park City coach Steve Cuttitta said. “Honestly, the first race, I don’t have too high of expectations because it’s the first race, and we haven’t figured things out yet. But I knew we were in shape, so I’m not surprised at our result.”
Sophomore Kaylee Hale, junior Ava Coccaro and senior Elena Grissom finished in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively, to lead the Miners’ girls team. Junior Hailey McGuire and senior Elizabeth LaBrin crossed the finish line in 11th and 12th place to round out Park City’s scorers. Among those five runners, the Miners scored 33 points, 23 ahead of second-place Layton.
“Being up there in the front the whole race is really good for them,” Cuttitta said. “It’s a different feel being in the front, and they haven’t been there in the past. They just haven’t been that caliber of runner yet. And they have three of them up there, that makes our team really strong, and it’s a matter of getting our four and five in the mix, and we’ll be tough to beat.”
Outside of Henry, the Miners had three more boys finish in the top 15 of the 104-runner field. Senior Wes Campbell came in ninth, junior Calvin Crossland grabbed 12th place and junior Will Fleming was in 14th. The boys trailed first-place American Fork by 15 points.
“I feel we still have a lot more improvement to give,” Henry said. “We can get a lot better and we’re going to keep working, and it’s nice to just see where we are right now.”
Cuttitta took the time to praise junior Erika Skylling for running her first race in two years after injuring her foot. Skylling crossed the finish line in 26th place.
“For her to come all the way back from that, when she literally couldn’t run for over a year, to be back here and to be racing and be running with the team, it doesn’t matter where she finished on the team,” Cuttitta said. “It’s so cool that she was able to race.”
The road ahead for the Miners is much longer than the 3-mile course at Quinn’s Junction, as they have four more races until the state meet on Oct. 27. There’s plenty of work to be done, but Cuttitta was happy with what he saw out of both Park City teams in their first meet of the season.
“I tell all them the same thing after this race especially — go home, think about your race, jot down the things that went well, the things that you would repeat again and also jot down the things that you might adjust for the next time,” he said. “From here, we just try to improve, we try to get better.”
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Park City lost 7-0, but coach Tom Merchant says his team played better than the score indicates.