Cross-country team sees improvement in Indiana

Couresty+of+Kelly+Gorham%2FMSU

MONTANA STATE U

Couresty of Kelly Gorham/MSU

Couresty of Kelly Gorham/MSU
Couresty of Kelly Gorham/MSU

The Utah women’s cross country team competed in the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational last weekend in Terre Haute, Ind. The Utes had a much better performance in Indiana than they did in their last meet in Washington, finishing 13th overall out of the 43 teams that competed in the event. Powerhouse schools Georgetown, Oregon and Michigan finished first, second and third, respectively.
Utah’s performance was led by true freshman from Ogden, Utah, Sarah Feeny. The former Dream Mile champion posted a time of 21:46.3, which was good enough for 68th place overall. Coming in just seconds after Feeny was Rebekah Winterton, who finished in 77th-place overall with a time of 21:49.9. Hannah McInturff, Shaylen Crook and Jessica Sams finished third, fourth and fifth for the Utes, respectively.
“I think our third, fourth and fifth runners all stepped up and did a good job, they [finished] close together” head coach Kyle Kepler said. “As a group and as a whole, we looked a lot better than we did a couple weeks ago.”
Feeny’s performance was obviously one of the highlights from the meet, but it could have been better if Feeny was feeling 100 percent. Feeny had some health issues during the meet in Washington two weeks ago and Kepler says she is still trying to bounce back from that.
Despite her health, Feeny was still pleased with how she and the rest of her team ran.
“I feel like I did a lot better than I did in the previous race, I was able to hang on a little better at the end” Feeny said. “I think the team did really well, we made some really good improvements. Coach Kepler was really happy with us after the race and that gave us a boost of confidence.”
The team is a lot deeper than in previous years, which is a great thing to have in any sport. This is especially important in cross country because of how the scoring works. Points add up very quickly and so a single poor time for a runner can really hurt a team’s overall score.
The back end runners have really pulled their weight and this is something that Kepler has taken note of during recent races.
“The opportunity to keep your spot is more difficult than it has been in the past. Certainly we have more depth than we’ve ever had, no doubt about that,” Kepler said.
Utah will now look to prepare for the Pac-12 Cross Country Championship in Oakland Calif. on Oct. 31. While the Utes did perform admirably in Indiana, Kepler and company know they have to step up their game for this one.
“We can keep getting better,” Kepler said. “It wasn’t a perfect race and we need to clean a few things up. We’re going to have to if we want to compete for a Pac-12 championship.”
 
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