Park City High School cross country teams shake off summer rust
Cuttitta believes the girls team will be a region threat
August 18, 2017
During his tenure as head coach of the boys and girls cross country teams at Park City High School, Steve Cuttitta has preached time again how he wants the Miners to focus on improving their position each mile throughout a race.
Similarly, that's how Cuttitta wants the teams to operate throughout the season, as well. The coach knows that some of his runners may not be in the best shape at the start of the campaign, considering many of them spent the summer enjoying their time away from school. But by the end of the year, Cuttitta expects the Miners to be in peak condition.
"It is a little tricky," he said of preparing for the season. "You're not quite sure what you have until the middle of August, or even the middle of September sometimes, if they haven't raced in the summer."
Cuttitta said that he's kept in touch with many of his athletes to ensure they are putting in the work, with some opting to show up for preseason workouts and team runs. But every season brings some degree of doubt because it's impossible to know exactly what each athlete has done throughout the summer.
That is especially true for the boys team, which boasts a number of athletes dedicated to other sports in the offseason. Additionally, the team lost one of its top runners from a season ago in Kyle Weldon, who transferred from the school, leaving Cuttitta with a roster of unknowns.
"I'd say there's a lot of question marks at this point, especially on the guys' side," he said. "For the boys, we'll just have to see what we've got. We lost kind of a lot from last year through graduation and through Kyle transferring. It'll be interesting to see who steps up in their place."
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That said, Cuttitta feels there are younger runners on the team that could help pick up the slack. Kaleb Barnhart and Reese McGrath should qualify for the varsity team, he said, as well as freshman Lucas Hoeksema.
"We'll have some new guys in there and it'll be fun to watch them grow," he said.
The girls team, though, won't have to deal with inexperience.
The team, which finished in fourth place last season at the state meet, will miss now-graduated Madi Carr, who was one of the team's top runners during her time as a Miner. Still, Cuttitta returns a handful of impactful runners, including last year's top finisher at the championships in sophomore MacKenna Doilney (who is also a soccer player at PCHS).
After strong track seasons, both Liza Greene and Sydney LaPine are expected to take on bigger roles this fall, while Camille Breiholz is also expected to hold down one of the scoring positions.
The jump to Class 4A will be a difficult transition for the team, Cuttitta said, but even so, he still expects the lady Miners to be competitive throughout the season.
"The girls team is really solid," he said. "It'll be a little tougher this year being that we moved up to 4A, pick up some new teams. … There are definitely some new faces. We're excited to be running against some new teams and in new places, but I expect the girls to be competitive throughout the year; both in 4A and at the invitationals we go to."
Park City will kick off the season with a region meet at home in Round Valley on Wednesday, Aug. 23. All of the region teams are expected to attend.
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