The Utah track and field team competed in Seattle last weekend at the UW Invitational. For some of the athletes, racing at the Dempsey Indoor Track was their opening race. Utah had some solid performances across the board as school records were achieved and personal bests were clinched.
“I think overall we had a great meet,” said head coach Kyle Kepler. “Our kids competed, they competed hard in the races they were in.”
The meet got underway on Friday when junior Shaylen Crook raced in the 5000-meter run. She placed 14th in her heat and 32nd overall with a time of 17:41.29.
On Saturday, Utah had positive results through out the day as three Utes found themselves a spot in the Utah record book. Freshman Amanda Gehrich and juniors Grayson Murphy and Hannah McInturff had standout days.
Gehrich, in her first collegiate mile, earned 17th place as she ran the fourth fastest time in Utah indoor history at 4:49.33. Murphy placed fourth all-time in Utah indoor history in the 3000-meter run, clocking in at 9:29.71. She finished in 18th place.
McInturff not only got her name into the history book by recording a time of 9:35.89, but the sixth all-time Ute in indoor history to record a personal best time in the 3000-meter run. She placed 29th overall.
“We kind of really weren’t expecting that this early in the season,” McInturff said. “We were just going to kind of go up there and race into shape. It was good. We were really happy with it. Hopefully that means that we’ll continue to get faster as the year goes on.”
Senior Becky Sarmiento also recorded a personal best in the 3000-meter run, and a time of 9:51.92 earned her 47th place. Junior Jessica Sams ended her race in 38th with a time of 9:44.68.
“Our eyes are set kind of on outdoor season instead of indoor, so we still want to race well in indoor, but with the idea that we’ll peak and have our best races in outdoor,” McInturff said. “It makes you really uneasy when you race in the beginning because you don’t really feel quite in shape, but I think everyone is in a good place and is going to be good to go by the time outdoor starts.”
Next up for Utah: the Jackson’s Invitational on Feb. 3-4 in Boise, Idaho. However, many members of the team will get this weekend off to prepare for the competition in Seattle next week, as this week’s competition will mostly focus on the sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers.
“Most of the sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers had the weekend off this past weekend, so I know they’re anxious to kind of get back going again and race again,” Kepler stated. “I think they had a great week of practice this past week, and I’m sure they’ll have another one this week so that we can continue to improve.”
This weekend, Utah will continue to strengthen and embellish its team in an atmosphere they are familiar with. As the pressure increases in what is expected to be a bigger meet according to Kepler, he is looking forward to how his team is going to respond.
“This week at Boise will be much more competitive than the one two weeks ago,” Kepler explained. “So we’re going to have to be ready and we’re going to have to be ready to battle no matter what event we’re in or what heat we’re in.”