Utah notches 3 wins in weekend classic

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

Utah returned from the Mark Faldo Utah State Classic with three event winners this weekend.

Chelsea Shapard gave the Utes a victory in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.50 seconds. Shapard wasn’t done for the day, however, as she, Whitney Wellington, Chelsey Kaplar and Haley McAllister-Birkeland also earned Utah another win on the track in the 4×400-meter relay. Utah’s other victory on the day came on the field, as Sarah Grimm had a personal best 199-feet throw in the hammer.

“Shapard’s 400-meter was a NCAA regional qualifier in fact,” said head coach Kyle Kepler. “She’ll run her specialty in the NCAAs though, the 400-meter hurdle. But we put her in there to see where her foot speed is at. She executed very well. She also anchored the 4×400-meter relay to their second-best finish in school history.”

Utah’s track and field team had a strong day overall. Along with the three event wins, Utah placed in the top five in 13 of the meet’s events. Ashley Patterson finished in second place in the 400-meter dash, behind Shapard, with a time of 55.97 seconds. Kaplar also had two other top-five finishes to add to her event win in the 4×400-meter relay. Kaplar got second place in the 100-meter (14.82 seconds), as well as the 400-meter hurdles (1:01.26). Chelsea DiGrazia got Utah’s other top-five finish in the track events, placing second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.16.

The Utes also had a fairly successful day on the field. Apart from Grimm dominating the competition with her personal best in the hammer toss, Josefin Berg also placed well in the event, with a third place mark of 189 feet 7 inches. Other top-five finishes on the day were Chasity Toilolo in the shot put with a fourth place finish of 42 feet 1.5 inches.

Klaudia Rokossa and Laryssa Simpson rounded out the top-five finishes for the Utes, as they both received high scores in the pole vault. Rokossa had a 12-foot clearance to place second, while Simpson came in fourth place with her vault of 11 feet 6.25 inches.

“Field has been doing very well for us,” Kepler said. “Grimm won the hammer event, and Josefin (Berg) has also done very well for us. We have a group of real young kids behind those two, but they’re developing really well. We’re getting personal bests every week it seems out of them, which is the sign of good training.”

The Utes will get back to action April 23 through April 25, as they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to take part in the 100th Drake Relays. Eight players on the track and field team will perform for them in the event. The Robinson Invitational will also take place at that time in Provo. The Utes will then have three more events remaining on their schedule as they prepare for the Mountain West Conference Championships.

[email protected]

Photo illustration by Erik Daenitz

Chelsea Shapard took first place in the 400-meter dash at the Mark Faldo Utah State Classic during the weekend. As an NCAA regional qualifier, Shapard will run the 400- meter hurdles and will anchor the 4×400-meter relay at the Mountain West Conference Championships.