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Miner runners ready for state meet

Alyssa Snyder approaches the finish line of last year s 3A state championship cross-country meet in Sugarhouse Park. Snyder and the PCHS girls squad won the title and are looking to repeat in 2014. (Park Record File Photo)
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Though the Park City High School cross-country team may not have had its best race of the season last Tuesday at Morgan, both the boys’ and girls’ squads took home Region 10 titles.

Park City coach Steve Cuttitta said he wasn’t expecting the best effort from his team, given the training regimen the runners have been suffering through the past couple weeks.

"I thought we ran well enough to win," he said. "We didn’t run our best, but we weren’t trying to run our best. We had no injuries and no issues. We’ll move on and get ready for state. I thought our boys looked a little sluggish, but they had a rough training week."

With a girls’ squad that’s won six-straight 3A state championships, it’s understandable that the team doesn’t get too excited about a Region 10 championship. Still, though, Cuttitta was encouraged with the way some of the younger girls ran in Morgan.

"Haley Hunt led the way," he said. "She was third. That was pretty much expected. Our freshmen and sophomores are coming along. As I anticipated, we’ve shown some improvement throughout the year with our first-year runners."

Following Hunt was Leah Lange in fourth, Liza Greene in fifth and Maddie Carr in sixth.

On the boys’ side, Travan Thomas took third, Wes Miller finished fourth, Jesse Case was fifth and Sam Edmunds was sixth. Gunnar Stray-Gundersen finished eighth to give the Miners five runners in the top eight.

Moving on toward the state meet, which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City, Cuttitta said Pine View will be the main obstacle in the way of Park City’s seventh-straight title.

"They ran really well at their region meet," he said. "They won pretty handily. They have a really good pack of five runners. My hope is that we can get a couple of our runners in front of their pack of five."

The Miner girls will get a big boost with senior Alyssa Snyder joining the mix. Snyder didn’t run at the Region 10 meet.

"With Alyssa up there, we have a big advantage," Cuttitta said. "She’s fitter than she’s ever been. If all goes well, she’s going to run for the win right from the start. She’s running for the individual win and that team title, which would make it a clean sweep (four state titles in four years) for her."

Behind Snyder, Cuttitta expects his young runners to have their best races of the year.

"They’re as fit as they’ve ever been, too," he said. "Haley has been running great. She might be able to grab a top-10 spot. And Liza keeps getting better every race. Then there’s Leah Lange, who will be running at the state meet for the third year in a row, so she’s got the experience. We have a lot of options. There’s no pressure on one runner to be a hero."

In the boys’ meet, Cuttitta will be looking for his squad to compete for a top-three finish.

"Desert Hills is one of the best 3A teams I’ve ever seen," he said. "If they manage not to have a terrible day, they should run away with the title. Pine View and Stansbury will be our major competition for the top three.

"Stansbury beat us pretty handily in September. Hopefully we can get them back at the state meet."

On Wednesday afternoon in Sugarhouse Park, the girls’ race will begin at 1 p.m. The boys will take to the course at 2:30 p.m.


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