Utes Cross Country Prepares for National Championships


University of Utah senior Sarah Newton (31) and University of Utah sophomore Kennedy Powell (32) during the Women’s 5K run at the Utah Open in an NCAA Cross Country Meet at Sunnyside Park in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ryker Jackson, Sports Writer

The University of Utah Cross Country team will be participating in the 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships after placing fifth at the Mountain Region Championship. They will be competing this Saturday, Nov. 23 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Utes were one of only 31 teams selected to participate in the National Championships. Running for the Utes will be the same lineup as those that participated in the Mountain Region Championship, except for Emma Christensen, who will be filling in for Scarlet Dale.

Poppy Tank had a terrific performance last week at the Mountain Region Championship and will be looking to replicate it again for nationals. Meanwhile, the other scoring Utes will look to improve on their times to get the highest placement the Utes have received during the championships.

Currently ranked No. 14 in the nation, the Utes are among six squads representing the Mountain region that will be present for the championships. All six Mountain Region teams, including Utah, rank in the top 20 in the nation, with BYU sitting at No. 3, New Mexico at No. 7, Colorado at No. 10, Air Force at No. 12 and Northern Arizona at No. 20.

This is the third time the Utes have received an invitation to the National Championships, with the team placing 26th in 2015 and 20th in 2016. The Utes are hoping to continue this positive trend by improving their scores to finish well within the top 20, and potentially even higher.

Runners to look out for throughout the race include redshirt junior Tank, junior Bella Williams, sophomore Cara Woolnough, senior Sarah Feeny, junior Christensen, junior Trina Moreno and freshman Ellie Lundgreen.

Beyond the track, the cross country team is one of only seven teams to finish with a cumulative GPA over 3.5. The Utes also had nine student athletes named to the Pac-12 All-Academic team.

Continuing an impressive season for the Utes, keep an eye out this Saturday for the national championships, where the Utes will continue striving for improvement. Indiana State University will be hosting the national championships this Saturday at 9:15 a.m. (MT). Live coverage of the race online is available on FloTrack.


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