Freshman pacing Utah Cross-Country team.

By By Bubba Brown , Staff Writer

By Bubba Brown , Staff Writer

Freshman Jenny McCune led the Utah women’s cross country team in the Bob Firman Invitational on Saturday.

McCune was just one of four freshman that finished in the top five for the Utes, as the underclassmen continue to have good performances.

Overall, the Utah team placed fifth among the six competing teams. McCune paced the Utes for the third straight meet, finishing in 21st place among all runners. Megan Combe ran another strong race for Utah, as the freshman finished in 27th place. Freshman Amanda Mergaert was next for the Utes and finished in 30th place. Rachel Schmalzle took 33rd place as the fourth Ute freshman to cross the finish line, and junior Alexis Davis finished 36th, rounding out the top five for the Utes.

Four other runners competed in the 5K event for the Utes. Senior Sydney Osmun completed the race sixth for the Utes and 39th overall. Freshman Kacee Hildebrandt sat out last week’s event, but returned this week to finish 40th overall. Freshman Chantel Hunt finished 43rd and sophomore Brooke Casagranda completed the race at 58th.

After last week’s race, coach Kyle Kepler said he was pleased with where his team was at and that the Utes were continuing to learn and gain experience. He said the Utes once again improved this week.

“We ran better than a week ago,” Kepler said. “We still have to run a better middle of the race and our sprint to the finish needs to improve.”

BYU won the event, followed by Idaho State, Boise State and Northwest Nazarene University. The Utes finished fifth, followed by Central Washington.

The Utes will have to finish out the season without top runner Alyssa Abbott, who is redshirting this season due to injury.

Utah will take a two-week hiatus, as they don’t compete again until the University of Nevada-Reno Invitational on Oct. 10, 2009.

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