Nationally Ranked Utes Cross Country Finish in Top Eleven at Nuttycombe Invitational


The University of Utah and Weber State host the Utah Spring Classic at the McCarthey Family Track and Field Complex in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday April 06, 2018. (Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer

The No. 6 ranked University of Utah Cross Country team finished in eleventh place at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational with 309 points. The Wisconsin Badgers played host to thirty-six teams, nineteen of which were nationally ranked coming into the weekend. Over two-hundred runners competed in the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday afternoon.

In the Utes’ first 6K this season, they finished in the top tier, beating fourteenth ranked Oregon, sixteenth ranked Notre Dame, and eighteenth ranked Minnesota. Arkansas won the race with four of five runners finishing in the top ten. Stanford was the highest placing Pac-12 school finishing in second place.

According to Utah Athletics, Head Coach Kyle Kepler said, “I thought for the meet we ran we did a great job and we’ll certainly take that result knowing we left Scarlet Dale at home as she’s feeling under the weather,” Kepler explained. “Our top two, Poppy and Bella, really stepped up finishing 23rd and 24th, which is very impressive to see in this race against this field and really backed up what they did at Notre Dame.”

Poppy Tank and Bella Williams led the Utes crossing the finish line together with times of 20:23.8 and 20:24.0 respectively. Sarah Feeny crossed the finish line in 20:48.8 with Cara Woolnough and Trina Moreno rounding out the Utah scoring runners with  times of 21:14.0 and 21:25.5 respectively.

Emma Christensen and Kennedy Powell completed the race in 21:56.9 and 22:27.2 to round out the finishing runners for the Utes.

Williams topped her previous personal record by 35 seconds in the 6k race. Her last personal-record in this event came last season at the Pac-12 Championships.

Utah also took part in the “B” race where Ellie Lundgreen was the first to cross the finish line for the Utes moving up twenty-three spots in the final two-thousand meters of the race. She would earn 45th place with a time of 22:11. Anna Busatto would finish in 46th place, four tenths of a second behind Lundgreen. Grace Burnett, Sarah Newton and Karli Branch completed the scoring runners for the Utes finishing in 22:28.2, 22:32.7, and 22:49.8.

Brooke Manson and Jade Mulvey would be the final two runners across the finish line for the Utes with times of 23:04.8 and 23:05.8 respectively.

Busatto earned herself a new personal-record time, outscoring her previous record by over two minutes. This is Busatto’s second personal record of the season, with the first coming only three meets ago.

Utah Athletics also quoted Coach Kepler who said, “We had a really nice race, a very conservative start, maybe a little too conservative but our kids didn’t panic,” Kepler said “It was great to see and they knew they had a long ways to run so they gained a bunch of spots after the first 2k. “Overall I thought we ran well. You know with three freshmen out there that have never ran a 6,000-meter race before on a pretty challenging course, I thought they held up really well and did a great job today.”

The University of Utah Cross-Country team will be back in action next Friday for their first home meet of the 2019 Cross-Country season. Salt Lake City’s Sunnyside Park will be the backdrop for the Utah Open as the Utes will take part in a 5k race.


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