Cross country takes sixth in conference

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Hoping for a spot in the top five, the U women’s cross country team had to settle for a sixth-place finish at the Mountain West Conference Championships on Saturday.

BYU won the event, which was hosted by Utah at Rose Park Golf Course.

The top Ute finisher was freshman Alyssa Abbott, who clocked the 6K-course in 22:48, placing 22nd overall.

Abbott has been Utah’s No. 2 runner all year behind fellow freshman Becky Mackelprang, who finished in the second position for the Utes after being hampered by an injury she sustained in a workout earlier in the week.

The soft tissue injury, which Mackelprang doesn’t remember sustaining, left her in considerable pain throughout the almost four-mile race.

Despite the discomfort, she still managed to run the course in 22:53, securing her 27th place.

“(Becky) has to be one of the toughest humans,” said head coach Kyle Kepler of Mackelprang’s effort.

Another noteworthy Utah runner was Lauren Endersen, who ran “the best race of her career,” according to Kepler, with a time of 23:28. Endersen’s gutsy effort helped the Utes hang on to sixth place instead of slipping to seventh, which is where they finished last year.

A major positive for the Utes, Kepler said, is that the Utes are so youthful-their top three racers are freshmen.

“A lot of our big goals are in front of us,” he said. “They’re a year or two down the road.”

Also scoring for the Utes were Stephanie Skoreyko (23:09) and Kellie Anderson (23:41).

Next up for the Utes is the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship in Albuquerque, N.M., on Nov. 11.