Cross country takes fifth at Autumn Classic

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Freshman Becky Mackelprang ran another solid race for the U cross-country team as she posted a time of 19:00 in the 5K at the BYU Autumn Classic Saturday.

“(Becky) is a kid who trains really hard; it’s paying off,” U head coach Kyle Kepler said. “Her early success is something we want to build on.”

Mackelprang took eighth place overall, leading the Utes to a fifth-place team finish. Mountain West Conference foe Colorado State won the meet, followed by BYU, UVSC and Idaho State. Westminster took sixth.

Staying healthy will be critical to the Utes’ success, said Kepler, who has been impressed with Mackelprang’s dedication to keeping herself in good condition by getting enough sleep and focusing on nutritious eating habits.

“(She’s) very interested in finding out how good she can be in the next four years,” Kepler said.

Also scoring for the Utes were Alyssa Abbott, Lauren Enderson, Kellie Anderson and Janett Ern, who finished in 26th, 28th, 30th and 33rd place, respectively.

Chelsea DiGrazia, the team’s third-fastest runner, did not finish the race because of a hip flexor injury she sustained in a workout earlier in the week. The pain became intense and DiGrazia pulled out of the race after about a mile. Rehab will begin immediately, and Kepler hopes to get her back into race shape soon.

The team heads to Montana State this weekend for the Bobcat Invitational, at which the Utes will compete in the three-mile race.

“We performed well a year ago there,” Kepler said. “That’s where we really started to figure things out.”