West High coach Barry Makarewicz wants to know which cross-country team is fastest in Salt Lake City.
That is why he is organizing the ALL CITY Championship. He has challenged East, Highland, Rowland Hall and Judge Memorial to a 5K cross-country race at the Northwest Recreation Center on Sept. 12.
"It promises to be both a reunion and a grudge match," Makarewicz said.
The schools' runners grew up with each other in elementary and middle school but rarely get to compete against each other because they compete at different schools and regions. The ALL CITY Championship will match all six of the city's high schools in boys and girls JV and varsity races to determine the fastest school.
"There isn't a tradition like this in the valley," Makarewicz said. "I'm hoping to create an event that will have a long and prestigious history."
The ALL CITY Championship is a series of four races with the top seven varsity runners from each school. Boys and girls will navigate West High's signature course for the 3.1 miles with the top five runners from each school scoring points. The points are tallied, and whoever has the lowest total wins the championship.
"It's a means of determining the strength of each school's program," Makarewicz said. "Most of the students never get a chance for bragging rights as the fastest in the city."
Makarewicz, a Salt Lake firefighter, predicts more than 100 runners will participate.
West High is taking the lead in organizing this race this year, but Makarewicz hopes the other city teams take ownership and that the race is rotated through the other schools.
"It's going to be a good tune-up for my runners and hopefully the beginning of a good tradition," Highland coach Gary Rowles said.
Bragging rights are on the line for the victors. The winning school will be awarded a handcrafted trophy that Makarewicz designed. The team will keep the trophy until next year, when it will have to defend it.
"I'm really proud of the design, and I look forward to teams passing it to one another in the years to come," Makarewicz said. "I think this is the beginning of a big tradition in the valley."