Men's Cross-Country: Meyersdale's Yutzy to run for Potomac State

Shane Yutzy
 Meyersdale senior Shane Yutzy announces his intent to run cross-country for Potomac State College as his parents Davis and Amy Yutzy look on.  In back are Meysesdale cross-country coach Tom Deakins, Potomac State Head Coach Kurtis Wildman and Meyersdale Coach Mike Swick.

MEYERSDALE — Shane Yutzy didn't really think about playing a sport in college, but recently a single phone call changed all that.

Yutzy will run cross country at Potomac State College in Keyser, West Virginia, for head coach Kurtis Wildman. The men's and women's programs were started in 2014 and are trying to bring in more talent.

"I wanted to go to Potomac State for a while because of its criminal justice program," Yutzy, who wants to get into drug enforcement, said. "I wasn't really thinking about running in college. But, it is a good way to keep in shape. I'm excited for the opportunity. I'm still learning about cross county and I think the other members of the program will help me with my technique."

Meyersdale cross country coach Tom Deakins said Yutzy is a natural runner even though he picked up cross country late in his high school career.

"He was playing soccer for Salisbury and got into cross country his junior year," Deakins said. "The first time I ran with him, we ran up a really steep hill and I couldn't keep up with him. I usually lead the kids up that hill and he pulled away from me. I knew right away we had something good there. I ran with him a lot and pushed him to be better. He hasn't reached his full potential yet. Potomac State will benefit from having him in the program."

Deakins noted Yutzy's work ethic and drive to always improve himself as qualities that will help him succeed with the Catamounts.

"Coach Deakins helped me learn how to pace myself. He ran a lot with me and motivated me," Yutzy, 17, said. "We were already in soccer camp in August when we found out that we wouldn't have enough kids to have a soccer season. We ran two miles as a warmup before practice. So when (cross country) coach Mike Swick called me and told me my two mile times were really good for not running seriously, I decided to try cross country. The hardest adjustment for me was in soccer we do a lot of sprinting and short distances. I didn't know how to pace myself and would go out too fast and burn up my legs."

Yutzy soon figured it out. He just missed going to the PIAA state championship meet his first year. This past cross country season, he finished fourth overall at the District 5 meet and qualified for states.

"We are extremely proud of him," his mother Amy said. "His father, David, is a cancer survivor and both Shane and his brother Scott run for him. It motivates them to give it their all now because you never know what the future holds. We all thought soccer would be his future, but when life changes one direction, it opens up another one."

Yutzy also participated in track for two years. He is a member of National Honor Society, band and Envirothon.

He thanked his parents, younger brother Scott, coaches, teammates and friends for pushing him to be his best.