The Utah track and field team hopes it can make improvements heading into the Pac-12 Championships in Los Angeles this weekend. Assistant coach Pete Herber is looking forward to this weekend’s events, especially considering some of the talent the Utes will be going up against.
“We’re pretty excited to go out there and show where we’re at,” Herber said. “The Pac-12 Championships is one of the top meets in the country, so it’s going to be fun and pretty exciting for all our kids.”
Aside from the obvious wish to run fast and throw far, the team really wants to see more members qualify for the next round — the NCAA Regional Championships.
“On the sprint side we’re trying to get a couple of kids to hit a regional time to get them through to the next round and lengthen the season,” Herber said. “We want to be as competitive as we can.”
Sarah Feeny, a distance runner, holds the 26th-fastest time in the NCAA for the 1500-meter run, and as a freshman, she is eager to see the entire team compete.
“I’m excited for our team,” Feeny said. “I’m hoping [more teammates] can qualify for regionals. They know they have potential. I think they can do it if they put everything into it and continue to prepare and be smart about their training.”
Feeny also hopes to place well individually for the Utes and think she has a lot to offer come race time.
“I’ve had a lot of races that have given me experience racing with a big group of really fast girls,” Feeny said. “Each race I’ve learned something new and I’m excited to go race and show what I’ve learned, like being more aggressive.”
One athlete who is looking to place high is newcomer Megan Glasmann. The javelin thrower competed last year at the Championships with Stanford and came in second in the event to one of her former teammates.
After transferring to the Utes and spending time in Salt Lake City, Glasmann feels more confident heading into the meet this year.
“I am feeling a lot better than I did last year coming in,” Glasmann said. “Being able to represent the University of Utah instead of my previous school is fantastic.”
Glasmann currently holds the school record in javelin with a throw of 168’4” and has the 13th-best mark in the NCAA.
With Glasmann’s mom, Niki — a volunteer assistant coach for the team — by her side, she feels more as if things are back to normal. Glasmann has been coached by her mom her entire life and feels more comfortable knowing her mom will continue to support her in similar ways.
“You could say it was almost a blip on the radar [my one year at Stanford],” Glasman said. “It’s nice to be back to what worked. Hopefully it’ll turn out the way it should with her coaching on my side.”
Herber thinks Glasmann is ready to go despite going through some rough patches this season.
“Megan’s been battling some injuries so she’s been working through some things,” Herber said. “She’s back and healthy and ready to go. I’m sure she’ll be a great competitor and do everything she can to win the thing and I know that’s her goal.”
Glasmann knows that if she is to get a great mark, she needs to aim for perfection, but at the same time must concentrate on the details.
“If I don’t hit the right technique or the right mark, I can completely blow it,” Glasmann said. “But I feel really confident that if I go into the meet the way I want to I can get in the top two. Javelin comes down to a lot of technique and if you aren’t throwing the way you should be, you can throw it away.”
Although the team has not placed too high in recent competitions, Glasmann thinks this is something everyone on the team can push past considering the team is still fairly new.
“At our last tournament we finished third to last, which is good considering that we’re a growing team, but I think we’re hoping to improve on that,” Glasman said. “I know we have a couple of really good athletes coming in, Feeny, Ilse Kaaja in hammer throw, that can be a lot of points from those three events alone.”
Kaaja, who finished sixth in hammer throw last year in the Pac-12 Championships, is currently in the top 40 in the country in the event.
Performing better later in the season, the Utes know that they have a good chance at qualifying some athletes for the next level. As excited as the runners and throwers are to compete, Herber might be the most thrilled.
“I’m excited to see it with it being my first year at Utah,” Herber said. “I know the quality and caliber of competition that is at the meet so it’s a great opportunity.”