Personal bests were again set by members of the University of Utah track and field team this past weekend. The team competed in the Mountain State Games hosted by Idaho State University.
The Utes started the two-day event off on the right foot in the 5,000-meter race. Both Hannah Allred and Jade Mulvey set personal bests in the event. Allred finished in 6th place, while Mulvey placed 9th.
The second day of competition was also a productive day for Utah. It had seven runners place in the top 10 in their respective events. The highlight of the day was when Dakota Grossman finished in 1st place in the mile race. Aubrey Argyle placed 3rd, Nicole Griffiths finished in 7th and Melissa Taggart rounded out the group placing 9th.
Continuing the trend of top 10 finishes were Megan Perkins-Killian and Natalie Platil who placed 2nd and 10th, respectively, in the 800-meter. With her time of 2:16.04, Perkins-Killian set a personal best.
Head coach Kyle Kepler believes that due to the level his team is training at, the Utes are more likely to break previous records and set new ones.
“They are excited about what they are doing and they are taking advantage of opportunities and that’s what we talk about all the time,” Kepler said. “You’re not necessarily going to compete or race every weekend, but just like the other sports, when your name is called, be ready to go. Be ready to take advantage of those opportunities and maybe you can earn more.”
Grossman also raced in the 3,000-meter event, and placed 7th, while teammate Astrid Lindgren took 10th. Also competing in this event was Griffiths, who placed 16th. The final event Utah competed in was the 400-meter dash where only one Ute, Rachel Whipple, competed. Whipple ended up placing 11th.
Kepler feels that Utah got the job done in Idaho and it accomplished the things the team wanted to.
“I think we got out of it exactly what we were trying to get out of it, we’ve got some kids that needed some races and needed that continued development,” Kepler said. “It was an opportunity for them to get in some races and maybe race a little bit closer to the front. We had some [personal records] out of it, and we had some kids run really well.”
Looking ahead, the Utes will travel to Seattle, Washington to compete in the Husky Invitational. According to Kepler, the staff is trying to focus on keeping the team calm going into a competitive environment.
“Overall, I think our kids are really excited, we go out there pretty much every year, so I think anybody who goes there knows they are going to be in a great race regardless of whether they’re in the fastest section or whether they are in one of the mid-sections,” Kepler said. “I think they are fully understanding they could race their guts out and finish not very high in their heat and still run a lifetime best or to win their section, is probably going to require a lifetime best.”
The meet gets underway on Friday, Feb. 9.