Track and field performs well in Arizona

By Quinn WIlcox, Staff Writer

Despite the weather conditions being less than ideal during the weekend, the Utah track and field team had a successful meet at the Sun Angel Classic held in Arizona. Utah had a number of personal bests and added two more regional qualifiers to its team. Chelsea Shapard received a regional qualifying mark in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.88 seconds, while Chelsea DiGrazia earned a regional qualifying time in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:26.71.

“I thought we had a good weekend overall,” said head coach Kyle Kepler. “Our throwers stepped up big time. We had some (personal records) in there. The long sprinters had good races. And we had an additional regional qualifier with DiGrazia in the 1500-meter.”

The number of standout performances by the Utes was a pleasant surprise to the team considering that the weather wasn’t being very cooperative. And apart from the rain and wind making an unwanted appearance at the meet, the track team also has a few members fighting the flu.

“The conditions weren’t the best in Arizona,” Kepler said. “It was rainy and windy, and we also have some of our kids under the weather. But our kids were mentally tough.”

Apart from Shapard and DiGrazia having standout days with their regional qualifying times on the track, the Utes had a number of other performers represent the track team well during the weekend. Runners Lauren Endersen and Kellie Anderson both recorded personal bests in the 5000-meter run. Endersen ran a time of 17:13.50, which was good for an eight place finish in the race, and Anderson beat her old personal record by 35 seconds, recording a time of 17:26.80. Anderson finished 14th overall on the day. Their two performances also rank highly in the school record books. Endersen’s time ranks fifth all-time on Utah’s outdoor performance list, and Anderson’s time puts her as eighth-best on the list.

There were two other track performances that also ranked as some of the all-time best at the U. In the 100-meter dash, Whitney Wellington ran a time of 12.26, good for 15th place on the day and ninth on the all-time performance list. Ashley Patterson competed in the 400-meter dash and got a sixth-place finish with a time of 56.66 seconds. Her time is the eighth best on the Utes outdoor all-performance list.

Utah also had a standout day on the field. Haley McAllister-Birkeland had a long jump distance of 18 feet 7.75 inches, which ranks as seventh best on Utah’s performance list. She finished eighth in the event. Langley Iverson also put her name on Utah’s all-performance list in the high jump. Iverson cleared the 5-foot-7 inch mark, giving her an eighth-place mark at both the Sun Angel Classic and on Utah’s all-time performance list. Finally, Klaudia Rokossa tied her personal best in the pole vault with a vault of 11 feet 7.75 inches. The mark was good for an eighth-place finish at the Sun Angel Classic and ranks as eighth best on the all-performance list.

With four meets left before the Mountain West Conference championship meet that starts on May 13, Kepler feels there is still work for the Utes.

“We can still work on a lot of little things,” Kepler said. “Improving technique and timing. We could also use some more speed work, and try to clean some things up there. But at this point, it’s mostly the smaller things that need work.”

The track team’s next event will be the Mt. SAC Relays from April 16 to 18 at Walnut, Calif.

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