There’s the goofy dancer, the competitive teammate, and the girl full of potential who are among the 14 new freshmen faces this year that are making a great name for themselves as a part of the University of Utah’s track and field team.
The entire team consists of a talented 36 competitive athletes, and among the 36 teammates are 14 shiny, brand new, smiling faces. The Utes welcomed 14 freshmen onto the team this year, and those freshmen are already standing out.
Holly Stallman is the goofy teammate from Ramona, Calif., who has a bowl of Frosted Flakes and jams out to Trey Songz before every meet. She first became interested in running track in seventh grade. She grew up listening to her father’s own track stories and decided to try it out herself.
“My dad was actually a pole vaulter,” Stallman said. “He would always tell me how he met his really good friends through track that he’s still friends with to this day. I wanted to be like my dad.”
Now, she is competing in sprints and jumps at a collegiate level.
Ann Wingeleth is the competitive teammate from Lyman, Wyo. Her family has always been die-hard Utah fans, and she grew up bleeding Utah red. Wingeleth began track in middle school. Eight years later she is now competing in jumps at the school she has cheered on since she was a kid.
“Last year I red shirted, so I’ve been waiting a whole year to compete,” Wingeleth said. “It is a little intimidating but it feels good to get out there and prove my spot on the team.”
Poppy Tank is the teammate full of potential coming all the way from Plymouth, Devon, England. Tank became interested in track when her P.E. teacher told her mother that she was a natural at running. Tank found herself joining an after school club and she competed there for eight years. Now, Tank is competing in distance as a Ute.
“The University of Utah actually found me,” Tank said. “I had shown interest in coming abroad because I had heard from other athletes at home that had gone abroad to America that there is so [many] more opportunity in competitions, facilities and the coaching. I looked around and spoke to the coaches and instantly felt a connection with coach [Kyle] Kepler and coach Mackenzie [Wartenberger].”
For Stallman, Wingeleth and Tank, success has come naturally to them during their first season competing for Utah.
Stallman has been focusing and feeling the pressure from her coaches to break the 60-meter dash. Recently, she received three personal records with one of them being her best time in the 60-meter dash. She placed fifth all-time in Utah for indoor.
Wingeleth recently won several times for long jumps. Her best mark ranked second all-time at Utah, and at the last meet in Washington, Wingeleth placed seventh after jumping 19 feet and seven inches.
“I know I have a lot of room for improvement, but I’ve already accomplished Utah’s second best for the long jump, so that’s exciting,” Wingeleth said. “It drives me to be a better person and a better athlete. I want to be the best I can be.”
Tank was all-region in cross country, and during the 2016 NCAA Championship she was Utah’s third scorer when she placed 110th, and that helped the Utes finish in 20th. At the NCAA Mountain Region Championship she placed 25th, and she earned all-region honors.
Although these girls are competing really well this season during their track meets they still enjoy the pressure that comes along with the success.
“The success adds even more pressure to do well, and that’s what I really wanted coming into college —was having people telling me I can do it and they can help me conquer that, but it’s all you at the end of the day,” Stallman said.
Even though these three freshmen are only halfway through their first year of college, they have already thought about what they want to accomplish at the end of their four years at the U.
“I want to compete at the national championship and hopefully place high there,” Wingeleth said. “I want to be a good role model for our team, and I want to end good in academics as well.”
And Tank’s aspirations reach an international level.
“My dream is to actually make the Olympic team one day for Great Britain,” Tank said.
Over the course of their first year as Utes they have made strong friendships with the girls on their team.
“My best friend, Suzannah Stark, is a high jumper, and I look up to her and go to her for everything,” Stallman said. “If I’m nervous she’ll always tell me, ‘Girl, you got this, don’t worry about it.’ I also look up to Alissa Atisme on the team because she’s very fast. She has the 100 and 200 meter records, and I look up to her because I want to do what she can do.”
Some of their teammates have even become more like sisters, and Tank admires what Hannah McInturff has done for the team.
“She’s an incredible athlete and has been a really good friend to me as well,” Tank said. “I almost idolize her because she’s a really good role model to have.”
Although Wingeleth can’t pinpoint any one person over another, she is thankful for assistant coach Pete Herber.
“Coach Pete has been a role model for me this season,” Wingeleth said. “He pushes me to be a better person, and a better athlete. I really look up to him and I trust his coaching.”