Miners headed to states after divisional race
Park City’s girls team claims 4th, boys take 5th
Both of Park City High School’s cross-country teams have officially punched their tickets to the state championship meet.
The Miners put together two strong performances at Tuesday’s divisional meet at Lakeside Park in Orem. The girls took home a fourth-place finish in Section A, while the boys claimed fifth place in Section B. Class 5A was split into two sections for both boys and girls, and the top 12 in each section automatically qualified for the state meet, scheduled for Oct. 27 in Salt Lake City.
“We performed kind of as we needed to,“ Miners coach Steve Cuttitta said. “Both teams were a little shorthanded due to injuries and we got a couple of skiers at a ski camp, so some other kids had to step up. But we did what we had to do yesterday.”
Park City’s girls team did more than enough to qualify for the state meet, but the divisional meet showed that there’s still plenty of work to do in the next two weeks. Just 27 points separated first-place Springville and third-place Timpanogos, but 70 points separated Park City from the Timberwolves.
Sophomore Kaylee Hale had the Miners’ best finish, coming in fifth with a time of 19 minutes and 30.3 seconds. Hale was the only one in the top 10, but Park City placed four more runners in the top 40 of the 119-runner field. Junior Ava Coccaro came in 25th, junior Hailey McGuire finished 29th, senior Elizabeth LaBrin finished 34th and freshman Keely Fisher had arguably her best race of the year in her 38th-place finish.
“That was just big to see, it really shows our depth,” Cuttitta said. “Our three, four and five really came through. Hailey and Lizzie and yesterday it was Keely Fisher the freshman — that was her first time in the top five. And I thought they were right there keeping our pack tight, and that just makes a big difference. It’ll make even a bigger difference in two weeks.”
The boys ran without senior Wes Campbell and junior Chris Henry, two of their top runners, due to injury. Still, Park City’s top five runners all finished in the top 35, with junior Truman Hansen at the forefront. Hansen came in 17th place, and freshman Van Talbott (25th) and junior Calvin Crossland (26th) weren’t too far behind. Juniors Will Fleming and Will Shuflit finished 31st and 35th, respectively, to round out Park City’s top five.
“Truman, he has been excellent all year at workouts, at practice, he’s been up there, and he really hasn’t put it together yet for a race that I think he’s been really happy with,” Cuttitta said. “But I think yesterday was kind of a new level for him, it was a place he hadn’t been before.”
Cuttitta hopes to have his boys team healthy and ready to go in two weeks, but the divisional meet showed what it’s capable of, even if Henry and Campbell can’t run at states. Cuttitta pointed out that, worst comes to worst, none of the boys who ran on Tuesday are seniors, so they’ll have extra motivation for next year.
“The guys that run are going to run their hearts out, and they’re going to compete, so whatever seven we get to the line on the boys side, I’m not concerned about their level of competition,” he said. “They know they have another year here to build on this, so maybe this is just a step this year, which isn’t an excuse to run poorly, but maybe it’s a step toward, ‘Next year, we’re all coming back and we’ll be even better.’”
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