Track and Field: Utes Have Strong Weekend of Competition

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Track and Field: Utes Have Strong Weekend of Competition

By Jared Walch

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This past weekend, the University of Utah track and field team competed at three different meets. The Utes traveled to southern California to take part in the Mt. SAC Relays, the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate and the Brian Clay Invitational. Utah had runners in all three different meets, and head coach Kyle Kepler thinks his team’s performed well.

“There were some things we could have done better, but I was pleased with how our team ran. I think the 800m team did really well at Brian Clay,” Kepler said. “Today was a big day of track and field between the three meets I think our gals competed hard and continued to improve in several event areas.”

Junior Grayson Murphy represented the Utes at the first day of the Mt. SAC Relays as she competed in her first 10,000 meter event of the season. Murphy had a strong finish, and she placed ninth place overall with a time of 34:06.69 — good enough for fourth all time at Utah.

At the Brian Clay Invitational, freshman Ashley Licata paced the Utes as she recorded a personal best time of 10:58.53 in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Licata finished the event 21st overall, but her mark puts her in Utah’s record books as the fifth fastest time in school history. Seniors Dana Snell and Becky Sarmiento both finished the event in 26th and 32nd place, respectively. Snell finished with a time of 11:06.48 while Sarmiento posted a finish of 11:15.93.

In the 5000 meter event, freshman standout Poppy Tank finished 20th overall with a time of 16:38.24. In the 800 meter run, sophomore Caitlin Faust had a top 20 finish, finishing 18th overall by posting a time of 2:09.96.

“Overall I think we did well,” Faust said. “My race went well on Friday, and I did better than Thursday. I think our team did well as a whole.”

Faust also added that she feels the track and field team is much improved from 2016, and the Utes have a better shot to compete in the postseason. After this past weekend saw several different Utes record personal and lifetime bests, the Utes have this weekend off as they prepare for the Drake Relays on Wednesday, April 26.

“The Drake Relays are a great event with a long history — they’ve been around for about 110 years,” Kepler said. “It’s very relay oriented. There are many different teams from around the nation. Ususally when we compete, we head to the west coast. This is a chance for us to head further east and compete against some teams from our region that we don’t necessarily see in our other competitions.”

Although the Utes are going to be competing in an unfamiliar environment, Kepler expects the same type of effort his team has been putting forth this entire season.

“I think we have really good consistency across the board,” Kepler said. “ The way our kids have competed this year, they’ve gotten a lot better. That’s shown in the results. Last year, we only had four girls make it to the NCAA regional meet. This year, we have about nine or ten kids who will most likely make the meet.”

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