Park City senior Reese McGrath takes home Region 8 cross-country championship
Reese McGrath’s goal since last year when he ended his junior season on the Park City cross-country team has been to be the region champion.
That goal came to fruition last Friday when McGrath took home the Region 8 individual championship with a time of 15 minutes and 41.4 seconds.
“I knew I had it in me and I got myself in the mindset that I’m going to win the race,” McGrath said. “I mentally prepared myself beforehand, which gave me the confidence to go out and actually do it.”
Initially, though, the race did not begin as planned for McGrath.
Knowing that he has a very good kick at the end of races, McGrath usually waits until the final stretch before he makes his move and picks up the pace. But that wasn’t the case on Friday as teammate Wes Campbell set out on a blistering pace to begin the race.
“Honestly I got kind of nervous because Wes jumped out right away and some of my top competitors went with him,” McGrath said. “I didn’t know if they could keep that pace up but I was more afraid of falling so far behind that I wouldn’t be able to catch them in the end. … So I took off with them.”
At about the mile an a half marker, and after running with the lead group the whole way, McGrath decided to make his move and take off. He began pulling away, almost daring the other runners to “come and catch me,” according to head coach Steve Cuttitta.
“I was thinking I went out too hard so this could be a problem,” McGrath said. “I might as well try to rock it and keep going at this speed and see how it goes. … I reached the point of no turning back now so why not just go for it and see what happens.”
No one caught McGrath as he cruised across the finish line for the win, three seconds ahead of Jackson Adams of Springville.
“I would say enjoyment didn’t hit at the exact moment I crossed across the finish line,” McGrath said. “I was so tired and when I finished, it wasn’t going through my head that I won. … But once I got out of the finish chute, it all hit me at once. I never imagined I’d be doing this as a freshman.”
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The Miners are truly a brotherhood, relying on one another to help their teammates go farther. After a few players missed last year’s 4A state semifinal game, this year’s group made sure those guys got the chance to experience this year’s semifinals. When injuries last week had the chance to derail the season, unsung heroes stepped up for the win. Now No. 1 Park City faces No. 2 Sky View in the 4A state title game on Friday at Rice Eccles Stadium.