U athletes finish 13th at track championships

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

Utah’s track and field season came to an end Thursday at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Utes’ final competitors were eliminated after senior Chelsea Shapard finished seventh in her respective heat in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.36 seconds. Her time was just .16 seconds off the needed time to qualify for an appearance in the finals. Shapard’s time was good for 13th place overall.

Also competing for the Utes at the NCAA Championships was junior hammer thrower Sarah Grimm. Grimm was eliminated from competition on the first day after she threw a mark of 187’8″ in the semifinal round. Her mark was just 5″ short of qualifying for the finals. Grimm also finished in 13th place overall in the event.

“I’m proud of how our athletes (Shapard and hammer thrower Sarah Grimm) represented Utah at the NCAA Championships this week,” said head coach Kyle Kepler.

This year’s conclusion of the season marks the end of one of the more decorated careers of a member of the Ute track team. Shapard has qualified for the past three NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles event, and each time out, Shapard improved on her performance from the previous year.

In 2007, she finished in 18th place with a tie of 59.49 seconds, and in 2008, she came in 15th place with a semifinal heat time of 59.19 seconds. The Park City native’s numerous appearances on tracks biggest stage was a testament as to just how consistent she was throughout her career.

“It’s sad to see Chelsea’s career come to an end,” Kepler said. “She always ran hard and never gave up. We’re going to miss her.”

Although Grimm might have hoped for a better performance in the hammer throw, she improved her overall ranking, moving from 14th place to 13th place.

“It was a close call for Sarah. She barely got edged out,” Kepler said. “She just missed moving onto the final round, but we’re happy that she improved on the ranking that she came into the meet with. It was her first time in this meet and we’re pleased with how she handled the pressure.”

The NCAA Championships competition will continue on until June 13th, while the Utes will now wait for the 2010 track and field season to get underway.

[email protected]