PCHS track team looks to develop for future
March 20, 2015
When you think of Park City High School track, you probably think of distance running, and for good reason. In just the past couple years, the Miners have featured stars like Ben Saarel, Ali Walker and Maddie Criscione, among others, in the distance events.
This year, though, outside of senior Alyssa Snyder and senior boys Jesse Case, Wes Miller and Sam Edmunds, the Miners’ distance unit is made up of primarily underclassmen.
"I have three upperclassmen boys and three upperclassmen girls out of 25 distance runners," Park City Coach Steve Cuttitta, who primarily handles the distance events, said. "We lost a lot. We returned one scorer from last year’s track team distance-wise, and that’s Alyssa. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got some talent, but we’ll see where we’re at by the end of the year. Right now, my goal is just to get people to state and then we’ll see what they do. I don’t have any aspirations to go 1-2-3 in any events this year or even score in the top five, other than Alyssa."
A young corps of runners will make up the rest of the girls’ distance squad, Cuttitta said.
"This team is two years away from really being competitive. Haley Hunt, Liza Greene, Sydney Oraskovich and Maddie Carr are all sophomores and freshmen and they all scored in cross country. I’d say it takes an extra year for track. To run three events in one day, different events, the strategy is different."
Elsewhere on the Park City squad, things are looking up, according to Coach Dave Yocum, who primarily handles sprints and jumps.
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"In the throws, we probably have our best throwers we’ve ever had," he said. "We’re the deepest we’ve ever been and that’s going to bode well for state."
Chrissy Glasmann and Kambridge Van Der Veur will headline the girls’ squad, with Sawyer Pruitt and Eli Alford starring for the boys.
In the sprints, Yocum has a strong returning group of girls to work with in the shorter events.
"We’ve got some kids that have very, very good potential," he said. "The girls, in particular, that we’re looking at — Leah Anderson, Claire West, Courtney Ruttan and Lindsay Gordon — they’re all repeaters from last year. In the boys, we have a really young team — hardly any seniors. Some of them have never competed at the state level. We have a junior in Mason Stephens who was probably our top guy last year and he’s probably going to be our top guy again. Beyond that, we’ve got a bunch of sophomores in both boys and girls that have a lot of potential — it all depends on how they mature."
Though last year’s girls’ team won the state title and the boys were competitive, Cuttitta thinks this year’s squad might be better from top to bottom.
"If we went to a dual meet with this year’s team against last year’s team, this year’s team might beat last year’s team," he said. "But the state meet isn’t a dual meet — it’s about how good are your superstars, your five best. If we went head-to-head, every event across the board, this year’s team is probably better, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to state."
"This year, I think we’re more well-rounded, in the sense that we’re looking for points and the ability to score from a wider mix — we won’t depend on the distance runners," Yocum added.
That said, neither Cuttitta nor Yocum are expecting to repeat as state champions in 2015.
"We don’t like to lose — none of these people do," Yocum said. "But I’m not worried about a state title. I’m just worried about developing the kids, keeping them healthy and having fun."
"A lot of it will depend on how much we improve in two months," Cuttitta added. "It’s a wild card when 60 percent of your kids are brand new. Our first [big] meet is the Pine View Invitational Friday and Saturday. We’ll go up against the best schools in 3A, which are mostly the southern schools. That’ll be our first measuring stick to see where we stand."
PCHS Track and Field Schedule
March 25 — at North Summit
March 27-28 — at Pine View
April 2-3 — Alpha Invite (at Timpanogos)
April 15 — at North Summit
April 18 — Taylorsville Invitational
April 21 — Wasatch Underclassmen Meet
April 25 — at Davis
May 1-2 — at BYU campus
May 8-9 — at Morgan (Region 10 Championships)
May 15-16 — 3A State Meet (at BYU)
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