After hundreds of hours of practice and preparation for the regular season and the Pac-12 Championships, four Utes are now headed to represent the University of Utah at this year’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas. The competition will begin Thursday, May 25 and run through Saturday, May 27.
The athletes representing Utah will be freshmen Amanda Gehrich and Ann Wingeleth, sophomore Christine Glasmann and junior Grayson Murphy.
“These four are definitely four that we thought would be here,” said head coach Kyle Kepler. “All four have been really steady throughout the year. They’re very consistent. They believe in themselves, and they believe they belong here.”
Wingeleth and Glassmann will take part in the field events. Glassmann comes in ranked No. 28 overall in javelin with a mark of 47.61 m that was recorded at the UC Riverside Classic earlier this year on March 23. This event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. MT on Thursday afternoon.
“Christine has been consistent all year in her throws,” Kepler said. “Everyone has been consistent. One thing we know about consistency is that it means that something big is coming. Something that I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see from everyone.”
Wingeleth will be competing in the long jump, which is scheduled to begin at 6:15 MT on Thursday evening. Wingeleth recorded her personal best earlier this year at the Utah/Weber State Spring Classic with a mark of 6.13m. Her personal best ranks her No. 34 overall entering the competition.
Representing Utah in the track events will be Gehrich and Murphy. No. 30 ranked Gehrich is scheduled to compete in the first heat of the 1500-meter run beginning at 4:30 p.m. MT on opening day. Gehrich recorded a time of 4:22.78 at the Pac-12 Championships.
Murphy is returning to the preliminaries for her second straight year, and she will be competing in both the 3000-meter steeplechase and the 5000-meter run. The steeplechase is scheduled to begin on Friday at 7:20 p.m. MT with the 5000-meter run scheduled to begin at 7:05 MT the following day.
“Last year I tried to learn something and have fun,” Murphy said. “I think doing that helped me a lot. It helped me differentiate running and who I am. I’m not just a runner, I’m so much more than that.”
Murphy enters the competition ranked No. 7 in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a personal best time of 10:05.77, and No. 16 in the 5000-meter run with a time of 15:58.29. Murphy has set school records with both of those marks, but she believes she still has room to improve.
“I’ve been training smarter and more consistently,” Murphy said. “I don’t know if I need to do anything different than what I’ve been doing throughout the year. I know I’m capable of running significantly faster. Last year I was trying to run outside of myself, and this year I think I’m smarter and can do better.”
Kepler believes these girls have been consistent all year, and he expects nothing but success at the meet.
“I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see all four advance,” Kepler said. “They’ve all worked hard and they’re all focused. They’ve been consistent all year, which is what I expect going into this weekend.”
Those who qualify will move on to the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships that will be held from June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.