Wirth The Change: Wallenpaupack Junior Finds Success In First XC Race

Tyler Wirth said he changed his mind after breaking 4:20 in the 1,600.

A sophomore at the time, Wirth of Wallenpaupack first broke the 4:20 barrier at the Jack Roddick Shippensburg Invitational this past spring. Eventually, he ran 4:17.96 in the prelims of the 1,600 meters at states before taking ninth in the final.

After that, he made the decision to to run cross country over playing soccer, which he did the first two years of his high school career.

So Saturday was Wirth's first invitational cross country meet. He ran a scrimmage meet and dual meet, but PTXC9 was his first big race.

And boys, was it big. Wirth squared off with the nation's top team, Loudoun Valley, and the state's top runner, PA#1 Rusty Kujdych of Neshaminy. He didn't dissapoint, running a solid 16:03 on the rolling hills and mud of Kutztown's Farm Course. He place sixth behind LV's top four and Kujdych.

Not too shabby for a debut.

"It was a pretty easy decision and my parents were all for it," Wirth said "My soccer coach was very understanding."

Paul Short is the next big race up for Wirth as he looks to break 16 minutes. He also wants to win the District 2 AAA title and lead his team to the win there as well.

Watch an interview with Wirth above and video of the Gold Race below: