It was an eventful day for the University of Utah track and field team as it participated in the Weber State Winter Open on Saturday, while distance runner Grayson Murphy competed for the Utes at the Boston University Season Opener.
Murphy, who according to head coach Kyle Kepler is trying to punch her ticket for the NCAA Championships early on in the season in the 5,000-meter race, set a new school record as she cut nine seconds off her personal best time. Murphy finished in fifth place with a time of 15:44.45.
Kepler said that her placement in this race is going to boost her confidence, considering the competition she was facing and how everyone was racing.
On the other side of the country, the mile was won by Hannah McInturff by a time of 5:10.68 with second and third place finishes coming from Sarah Newton and Megan Perkins Killian, respectively. Eight of the top 10 finishes belonged to Utah.
“That was a wild mix of people. Some of them are mile specialists and some of those kids are 5K, 10K specialists,” Kepler said. “Whether it was their primary event or definitely not their primary event, it was just a chance to compete again and put a jersey on and go through being nervous, getting all that stuff out of the way.”
For McInturff, there was a sense of familiarity in this race because a lot of the girls who were running against her she had seen during the cross country season. She said it was comforting to know who was around her and to already know how they run. McInturff believes this race has given the team an idea of where it stands.
“[We] can start working to get ahead so that by the time we race in January the nerves will be gone,” McInturff said.
The Utes also saw some success in the 55-meter as Raynee Helm Wheelock placed fourth after running a time of 7.26, while Holly Stallman, who ran as an unattached athlete, placed third with a time of 7.23. Alissa Atisme ran a preliminary time of 7.20, but she did not compete in the final.
In the 200-meter, Ruby Jane Mathewson was the lone Ute to compete in the event and she placed sixth. Two Utes finished in the top 10 in the 400-meter. Brooke Martin took fourth place with a time of 59.37, and Rachel Whipple finished in sixth place after earning a time of 1:00.18.
“I think our kids really competed great, preformed at a high level,” Kepler said. “That’s a meet you certainly don’t expect a lot of personal bests, you’re not in season form yet.”
Up next, Utah will travel to Boise, Idaho to compete in the Jackson’s Open on Saturday, Dec. 9.