Freshmen lead Utes to 6th place

By Bubba Brown , Staff Writer

The freshmen have been leading the cross-country team all season, and the Mountain West Conference Championships were no different.

Freshman Amanda Mergaert led Utah to a sixth-place finish at the tournament Saturday at Cascade Golf Center in Orem.

Mergaert completed the 6K race 28th overall. Following Mergaert was freshman Jenny McCune, who finished 30th. Freshman Megan Combe was third for the Utes, finishing 43rd by completing the race with a time of 23 minutes 49.4 seconds. Redshirt freshman Lucy Yates and senior Sydney Osmun finished up Utah’s top five with times and places of 24 minutes 7.3 seconds and 48th, and 24 minutes 43.6 seconds and 60th, respectively.

Head coach Kyle Kepler said he was proud of the team for battling through a tough race.

“We didn’t have our best team race today,” Kepler said. “But we survived a bad day. I have to give a lot of credit to the kids. We got off to a poor start but, in the last 800 meters, they made up a lot of points. They finished hard and refused to quit, earning every point they could. We had higher goals, obviously, but between illness and injury, we had to mesh the group together. Alexis Davis has been in bed the past three days, and Megan Combe ran through her foot injury. It is tough to argue about that kind of effort, so I am proud of them. We have two weeks to get ready for the regional meet, so we’ll start preparing for that.”

It was the third race in a row that Mergaert paced the Utes, as she led Utah in both the Chile Pepper Invite and the WAC Preview-Invitational.

Finishing in sixth place with 195 points, the Utes beat TCU, San Diego State and UNLV. New Mexico took first place in the competition, followed by BYU, Colorado State, Air Force and Wyoming.

The sixth-place finish was good enough to advance the Utes to the NCAA Mountain Regional Meet to be held Nov. 14 in Albuquerque, N.M.

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