Steve C. Wilson
It was a lovely day for a race when the University of Utah Cross Country team set to host the Utah Open. This was the last regular season meet for the team as well as the lone home meet that the team hosted.
While she ran unattached from the U, sophomore Bella Williams took first place overall in the race with a time of 18:36.8. Williams, who was competing in her first race of the season after coming off an injury, was very pleased with her own performance.
“It just went by in a blur, I can’t believe it’s happened. I’ve been injured since April, so I was really shocked when they told me I was going to run and I was like, ‘Well let’s see what happens,’ and I just felt really good,” she said.
Sophomore Emma Christensen was the first Utah-affiliated runner to cross the finish line. Christensen finished in 11th place with a time of 19:16.7. Next to cross the finish line were seniors Hannah Allred and Megan Perkins. Allred placed 14th with a time of 19:27.1, and Perkins was a few spots behind in 16th place with a time of 19:32.4.
Rounding out the runners for Utah included sophomore Astrid Lindgren who placed 24th (20:14.1), junior Anna Busatto who finished 27th with a time of 20:33.6 and running unattached freshman Brooke Manson who finished 31st with a time of 21:24.2. Senior Caitlin Faust started the race for Utah but did not finish.
Overall, head coach Kyle Kepler was very pleased with his team’s third-place finish and says that with Williams strong performance the coaching staff has a lot to think about when it comes to the lineups for the upcoming Pac-12 Championships.
“I thought our kids ran great as well and Bella Williams how about that? I mean a dominating victory in her first cross country race of the season and that’s going to create a decision process for us as coaches and how we want to proceed forward,” Kepler said.
Next week the team will turn their focus to a championship season. The first step toward the NCAA Championships will be next Friday, Oct. 26 when they head to Palo Alto, CA to compete in the Pac-12 Championships. The team will take on their in conference opponents for the first time this season. The race is set to start at 12 pm.