Park City Running Club qualifies 20 for USA Track and Field Junior Olympics
On Nov. 10, the Park City Running Club competed in the USA Track and Field Utah Association Junior Olympic Championship at the Cottonwood Complex in Salt Lake City, where 20 club members qualified for the USATF Junior Olympics.
The club’s runners, who are elementary- and middle school-aged, trained since August as a cross-country team with multiple meets throughout the season. The USATF state meet was scheduled as the season’s culminating event.
“We had a really positive and connected group of committed runners,” head coach and club director Rachel Taylor said. “This was our second cross-country season ever, and what we saw the most of was this level of perseverance and commitment that was the foundation. Throughout the season the workouts got harder, but the kids got more and more positive.”
The club’s 11-12-year-old girls team did particularly well at the USATF Utah meet, where the team took first and had five runners in the top 10 for the 4K race. Annika Hunt led the team with a finish of 10 minutes, 47.8 seconds. Caroline Retzer (11:15.5) finished third overall, followed by Kaylee Hale in seventh (11:56.2), Piper Hastings in eighth (12:01) and Madeline McHenry in ninth (12:07.6).
Taylor said Hunt has been leading the team with an average mile split of 5:47 all season.
Park City Running Club’s 9-10-year-old girls team also did well, with three runners in the top 15 – the cutoff point for the Junior Olympics.
Avery Davidson led the team with a finish time 13:04 to take fourth in the 3K, followed by Henley Wismer in eighth with a time of 13:16.7.
Anna Senkier finished 11th overall and second for the team with a time of 13:47, followed by Ella Stoughton in 12th with a time of 13:52.7.
In the 13-14-year-old 4K race, Ava Coccaro led Park City Running club with a first-place finish time of 15:29.1.
“She’s persevered all season running low 6-minute mile 4Ks,” Taylor said of the eighth grader’s split times. “She’s grown and will definitely be prepared for the high school cross-country season.”
Leah Yaeger was close behind, taking second for her 15:57.6 finish.
Those runners and more will head to Reno, Nevada for the USATF Junior Olympics on Dec. 8.
Some of the team has experience with the competition, having competed at the Junior Olympics last year in Tallahassee, Florida. Taylor said the team is setting goals for personal records, and training hard for the last few weeks of the season.
“We are running snow, sleet or shine,” she said. “We’re hoping that that will get us ready. We’re running three to five days a week as a group.”
For more results and information go to Parkcityrunningclub.com.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Henley Wismer led the Park City Running Club’s cross-country team in the girls 9- to 10-year-old division. It was Avery Davidson, who finished fourth with a time of 13:04. Ava Coccaro’s name was also misspelled.
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