PCHS cross country teams take their talents to Idaho | ParkRecord.com

PCHS cross country teams take their talents to Idaho

The Park City High School cross country teams traveled over 380 miles last weekend to Eagle, Idaho to run in the Bob Firman Invitational, where the girls team took 16th place in the Elite race while the boys team finished 35th in the Boys Varsity I race.

Leading the way for all Miner runners was Madison Carr, who finished the Elite race in the 27th overall spot with a time of 19:08. Carr was followed by Daisy Townshend (20:23.9) and Sydney Oraskovich (20:25.9) to round out the top three, while Sydney LaPine (20:49.7) and Liza Greene (21:03.8) completed the Park City top five to give the team a score of 379.

"[The times run were] the best times we've run all year as a team," said head coach Steve Cuttitta. "I was pretty impressed with how the whole team ran in that big of a race with that kind of competition. I thought they competed really well."

The field that the Miners had to compete with consisted of teams from eight different states, including some of the better teams that are classified as 4A and 5A schools in Utah. Couple that with a difficult five-kilometer course at Eagle Island State Park, a course that has been used for multiple Idaho state championships and even a WAC championship meet, and this might be the hardest meet Park City will have all season in terms of competition.

After a promising performance at Bob Firman, Cuttitta is pleased with where the girls' team sits at this point in the season.

"I think we are charging, closing the gap a little bit over the last month," Cuttitta said. "[The Bob Firman Invite is] a little different than state, in that the state meet is usually a race with maybe three or four elite teams a lot closer to the front. But this meet does prepare you for going out a little bit faster, being able to handle a faster pace, just kind of running a faster race in the middle of the season."

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Meanwhile, the boys' team performed admirably in the absence of two of its top runners, who couldn't make the trip due to scheduling conflicts over the weekend. With only five runners officially scoring for a team score, not having two of your top runners can certainly have an impact.

"Losing those guys really hurt the team score, and if you're kind of looking at the results, our top four [runners] actually ran well," Cuttitta said. "[The team score] is not a true indicator of where we actually are."

Leading the way was Anton Hibl, who finished in 121st place overall with a time 17:58.2. Just a few seconds behind was Jackson Parker (18:01.7) and Jacob Freeman (18:02.6), while Jack McMullin (18:15.6) and Andrew Freeman (19:58.7) rounded out the top five.

While the girls' team entered the 2016 season with higher expectations, Cuttitta says it’s the boys' team that continues to improve every week. After the race last weekend, the head coach believes that the boys' team could be a top 10 squad in 3A, and if the Miners really put it together all on the same day, maybe even a top five team.

"Our improvement from August to now has been great," Cuttitta said. "The guys have dropped close to a minute off of their times, on average. So, if that trend continues and they keep working hard and keep getting faster, I wouldn't say the sky’s the limit, but certainly they are going to be a tough team."

Just a week after traveling across state borders, the Miners will be racing in their own backyard this upcoming weekend at the Park City Invitational. The races will take place at Round Valley, where races will begin at 3 p.m., with the last varsity race taking off at 6 p.m.