On Friday, Feb. 2, the University of Utah track and field team will return to action for a two-day meet as it races in the Mountain State Games. Utah is coming off solid weekend performances in Washington, where several Utes broke personal records and some Utes improved in the school record book.
Poppy Tank was a racer that did both in the 3,000-meter event. She believes that given the success the team had this past week, that Utah will go into this weekend with confidence.
Head coach Kyle Kepler is giving the Utes who competed this past week the weekend off to recover. This opens the door for other Utes to get experience under their belt and show what they are capable of doing.
“We’ve got some younger girls that are continuing to develop and improve,” Kepler said. “And this is their opportunity to kind of show where they’re at and shine in a meet where they’ll have the full attention of the staff.”
According to Kepler, there is a possibility some sprinters will be in the lineup this weekend.
“We are middle distance-distance heavy, there’s no doubt about it so we’re not as spread out as some teams are. We are less event focused than some teams, but we are deeper than some teams in that area,” Kepler said. “So that’s kinda our MO and how we approach our program.”
Tank is one of the athletes that is being given this week off, but that isn’t going to stop her from training in any way. Tank said being on “off-week” involves running a few extra miles and doing a couple extra tougher workouts. The focus for the team overall is maintaining its health.
“This week is also about recovery, making sure we are all staying healthy because you know if you are doing back-to-back weeks or racing every other weekend, your body can get really run down,” Tank said. “So it is important to sleep well, eat well and get the work done in the training room, and just make sure you are taking care of yourself.”
Both Tank and Kepler are looking forward to when the team is able to start its outdoor season, but it’s focused on one meet at a time as it continues racing indoors.
“It [has] been a lot of fun this year, and my staff and I really appreciate all the work these kids do,” Kepler said. “And [we] just look forward to a great season ahead and that includes this weekend up in Pocatello.”