Run, Feeny, Run

sarah feeny

While growing up, Utah freshman cross country star Sarah Feeny spent a lot of time playing soccer. As she chased the ball around the pitch she realized something. Though her ball skills might not have been the greatest, she did have one thing going for her.
“I could run,” Feeny said.
She could then, and she really can now.
Feeny’s running resume includes high school All-American nods, state championships and what seems like countless records. Feeny’s mother also ran races and would push young Sarah in a stroller while competing. That’s where the seeds of racing were first sown.
Feeny was born in California but moved to Ogden in her elementary school years. Her running talent started to show, but it wasn’t straight out of the gate.
Feeny finished next to last in one of her first races, but her coach Alydia Barton wasn’t worred about the future star.
“My coach came up to me and told me ‘you have a chance to win next time,’” Feeny said
Alydia Barton’s words turned out to be prophetic as, sure enough, Feeny won the race the following year. It was her first of many victories.
Many of those victories came in her years at Ogden High. In her sophomore year at Ogden, Feeny had two goals: break five minutes in the mile and take home the state team title. Feeny was forced to miss some time that season with a hip issue, but it did not end her season. Since she knew she would be able to return, Feeny cross trained to remain in shape for the final meets of the season.
After she recovered from the hip issue, she returned and was able to break five minutes in the mile with a time of 4:59. Ogden also went on to win state, accomplishing both of Feeny’s goals.
“I love reaching goals as a team,” Feeny said.
One of the most exciting and dramatic moments in Feeny’s career came during the state sprint medley her senior year. After breaking the 3200 meter state record, and nearly breaking the 800 meter record right before the medley relay took place, Feeny was given the task of anchoring her team’s medley relay.
During the race, one of her teammates tripped and fell, losing a lot of ground for the team. When Feeny’s time came, she was 40 meters behind the last pack of runners and 50 meters behind the leader. A win seemed out of reach.
“I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can catch these girls,’” Feeny said.
She slowly began gaining ground on the other runners, working her way past girls one-by-one. As she approached the end straightaway, catching up became more of a possibility.
“The girls [on my team] were just cheering, and it gave me that extra drive to go,” Feeny said.
Go she did, and by the end she had passed every other runner.
“I just stood there in shock, and thought, ‘did that really just happen?’” Barton said.
The press box even called down to the team and told them it was one of the most impressive races they had ever seen in the state of Utah. Feeny gives credit to her team.
“The team aspect really got me to go,” Feeny said.
Habits are a big thing for a lot of athletes, and though Feeny doesn’t have any extreme pre-game rituals, there are a couple of things she does to prepare mentally before a race. She listens to David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ the night before a race before bed, and then listens to it again in the morning. For a morning race, Feeny eats pasta the night before and oatmeal for breakfast.
Even when she’s not zipping around a race course, Feeny is attracted to speed.
“I love riding roller coasters,” Feeny said.
Among her favorites are California Screamin’ and Goliath, but her love of roller coasters goes beyond a hobby. Feeny is going into engineering and eventually wants to design roller coasters as a profession.
Whether she is on the course or on the track, Feeny has been running for a very long time, breaking all sorts of records along the way. From being named an All-American in cross country to winning the Adidas Dream Mile in high school, Feeny has accomplished just about everything she could have as a high school runner.
Now, as she looks to finish her freshman season strong at the NCAA Cross Country Regional Championships this weekend, it’s become clear in her first year at the U that as talented as she is, there is still room for improvement.
“She still can get even better,” said head coach Kyle Kepler.
Feeny and the rest of the Utes will next compete at the Regional Championships on Friday in Albuqerque, NM.
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