Growing up, University of Utah track and field member Trina Moreno dreamed of going to Iowa State University.
Moreno’s father, Mike Sr., and both her brothers, Michael and Gabe, wrestled at Iowa State. Mike Sr. was an All-American and Gabe was a two-time All-American. Trina was not recruited by the Cyclones until after she had committed to Utah, and she said that her decision to become a Ute is the best decision she has ever made.
Head coach Kyle Kepler, an Iowa native, knows what wrestling family kids are oftentimes like, and that was the case with Moreno’s family.
“Wrestling family kids are usually really tough-minded, tough-nosed, not afraid, ready to work, and we kind of got that sense in the recruiting process when it came to Trina,” Kepler said. “We knew we weren’t going to have to worry about work ethic or those kind of things. And then obviously, there is some genetic talent in that family as well, if you got three kids who have all now competed at the division one level.”
Moreno was intrigued by the offer from Utah. Before coming to college she had not traveled much outside of the Midwest, so it was an appealing idea to go to a school on the West coast. She was interested in the team’s status of being in the Pac-12 and on the rise. When she took her visit to Utah, she found it to be “pretty epic, geographically.”
While moving to Utah was a change for Moreno, Kepler did not see a negative change in her racing from the location change. Moreno, he knows, is a fighter, someone who isn’t going to back down from anything or anyone. He attributes her successes during the cross country season to that grit.
“She had to figure out where she fit in and try to fill that role as well as she could and then step into another role,” Kepler said. “For the most part, she found the role that was appropriate for her and as she moves forward, she’ll step into some other roles.”
Moreno ended her cross country season with an honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic recognition, and she finished third at the open race at Notre Dame in September. She placed 63rd at the Pac-12 Championship and finished her cross country season with a 101st place finish at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships.
According to Moreno, her family is proud of her for forging her own path instead of following the one her brothers had made by going to Iowa State. Moreno is pleased to be with Utah, and Kepler is grateful for the spark she brings as a member of the team.
“She’s just a tough kid, tough competitor and we love what she brings to our program in that regard,” Kepler said. “And we know she’s a winner and with all of it, it’s about staying healthy and developing so that they can be as good as they can be.”