PCHS cross-country teams look for strong runs in Idaho | ParkRecord.com

PCHS cross-country teams look for strong runs in Idaho

At the beginning of the year, the Park City High School cross-country teams were targeting the Bob Firman Invitational as the first big meet of the year and a chance to see how much they’d improved since the start of the season.

After nearly two months of hard work, the Miners will get the chance to see how they stack up against some of the best teams in the West on Saturday in Boise.

Park City Coach Steve Cuttitta said the coaches are happy with what they’ve been seeing in training runs so far.

"I think we’re pretty pleased with how we’ve improved," he said. "We’re not where we want to be yet, but, fortunately, we still have a month [until the 3A state meet]."

The big thing for both the boys’ and the girls’ teams this weekend, Cuttitta said, will be to turn in good times on a big stage.

"I’m confident we’ll run well Saturday," he said. "But we haven’t put it all together in a meet yet. They’ll have to step up a little bit. The fitness is there, but it doesn’t count until you put it together in a big race."

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The Bob Firman Invitational certainly qualifies as a big race. Cuttitta said about 60 teams from 8-10 states will be represented, including Oregon and Colorado.

Cuttitta said the Park City girls will be concentrating on a pair of Utah squads, though. He wants to see how the Miners stack up against Stansbury, a 3A and Region 10 rival, and Pine View, another tough 3A squad. Both Stansbury and Pine View have defeated Park City this year.

"We’ll see both of them this weekend," he said. "If we can close the gap a little bit, that’s a step in the right direction."

The girls have the potential to finish higher than last year’s 18th place, Cuttitta said, thanks to more depth.

"Maddie Carr has been our No. 1 runner the last couple races," he said. "Haley Hunt is coming back and is back into the top five. Aspen Neville and Claire Breiholz have all been there, too — it’s been a team effort and I’m hoping they can all move up together. If the girls are in the top 15, that’s a really good day."

On the boys’ side, Cuttitta is hoping to see the young squad have its best race to date.

"I’ve seen some good improvement and I’m encouraged with what they’ve done in the past few races," he said. "I think they’re a team that can make it to state, but they’re mostly freshmen and sophomores, so in the next two years, we should be very competitive. I’m not looking for a team score [on Saturday], but everyone who goes should be able to run their personal best."

The Bob Firman Invitational will take place at Eagle Island State Park in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday. For more information, or to see race results, visit bobfirman.runnerspace.com.