PCHS cross-country teams claim top 10 finishes | ParkRecord.com

PCHS cross-country teams claim top 10 finishes

Park City High School's Nick Burnz 625 kicks it into gear, passing runners, as he powers down the Highland High School's track to the finish line of the 3A State Cross Country race on Wednesday afternoon. Burnz finished 28th with a time of 16:50:05.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Heading into the UHSAA 3A state championships, those on the Park City High School girls’ cross-country team felt like they had a shot to compete for a title. After showing improvement all season long, Head Coach Steve Cuttitta and company were hoping that the year would culminate with a season-best performance at Sugar House Park on Wednesday afternoon.

But to the Miners’ dismay, the southern teams flexed their strength at the right time, as it was a Region 9 sweep of the team awards led by Pine View in first place (45), Desert Hills in second (65) and Cedar in third (84). Park City was the first non-Region 9 team to show up in the team standings in fourth place with a score of 115 points.

“I felt like they raced tough today,” Cuttitta said. “Maybe not quite the results we were hoping for; we wanted to do a little better. … It’s just the other teams were a little tougher than we expected, especially in the girls race, all those teams from Region 9. We hadn’t seen a couple of those teams [this year].

“Utah is getting tough, even in 3A. The races just get faster and faster each year, so we just have to keep finding a way to get faster too.”

Leading the way for the Miners was MacKenna Doilney, who, according to her coach, had the best race of the season with her 14th-place finish in 19:24.7. Not far behind was Madison Carr (19:38.1), who was dealing with some hip issues throughout the race, but still managed to finish in 20th-place overall.

Rounding out the top five for Park City were Sydney Oraskovich (19:51.7), Liza Greene (20:18.3) and Daisy Townsend (20:23.5) in 23rd, 32nd and 34th places, respectively.

“We didn’t have our best day, but we had some great individual performances on the girls [team],” Cuttitta said.

Despite being one of the top five teams in the state, the Miners weren’t too happy with the end result, but that’s somewhat Cuttitta’s fault for creating a successful program.

“The girls are disappointed in fourth because the expectation is high,” he said. “For a lot of teams, fourth place is a great day. It’s just that we’ve created a monster here where if it’s not first, it’s not a great day. That’s kind of unfair to the girls that ran today.”

On the boys’ side, the expectations weren’t as high heading into the final meet. The Miners have shown improvement throughout the year, like the girls’ team, but even so, they were just hoping to crack the top 10. They did just that by coming in 10th place in the team standings with a score of 264 points. Winning the team title was Desert Hills (46) of Region 9, narrowly edging second-place Pine View (50), while Stansbury (94) took third.

The boys’ team was led by a 28th-place finish from Nick Burnz, followed by Kyle Weldon and Kaleb Barnhart, who basically finished side-by-side. Rounding out the top five was Anton Hibl and Jacob Freeman, while Jackson Parker and Jack McMullin finished things off for the seven Miners running in the race.

Of those seven, five of them will be returning next season, giving this team some momentum heading into the offseason. With one season ending, the Miners are already looking forward to 2017.

“Most of those guys come back next year, so I’m hopeful that we can keep building on what we’ve done this year,” Cuttitta said. “I think the expectation will be back next year and we’ll train harder and hopefully in 365 days, we’ll perform a little better.”

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