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Go Utes!
Utes Wrap Up First Day at Drake Relays

Haley McAllister-Birkeland won the long jump at the Simpson College Track Meet with a mark of 18'10

Haley McAllister-Birkeland won the long jump at the Simpson College Track Meet with a mark of 18'10

April 24, 2009

DES MOINES, IOWA - The University of Utah track and field team competed in the 100th Anniversary Drake Relays on Friday afternoon in the 4x400-meter relay and the distance medley. Utah's relay team finished 12th and the medley team finished 16th overall. Haley McAllister-Birkeland competed and won the long jump event at Simpson College.

Utah's 4x400-meter team competed in the preliminary round of the competition, and had a finish time of 3:46.16. Ashley Patterson got things going for the Utes, completing her leg of the race in 57.5. She passed it on to Chelsey Kaplar, whom had a split of 56.8. Whitney Wellington ran the third leg of the race with a season-best split of 56.3. Chelsea Shapard ran the last leg of the 4x400-meter with a split time of 55.5, aiding in Utah's 12th-place overall finish.

"Three of the legs were about average, but Whitney [Wellington] ran really well," said head coach Kyle Kepler. "Burke and I are pleased with her efforts. She looked strong and finished well. The other three didn't run poorly by any means, but we were hoping for more. We missed the qualification for the finals by five seconds."

The distance medley group, comprised of three seniors and a freshman, finished 16th overall with a time of 11:57.05. Senior Janett Ern had the first leg of the race and executed a smart 3:40 time. Ern passed it off to senior McAllister-Birkeland for the second leg, whom finished in a solid 58.1. Freshman Lucy Yates had the next leg. The Ute came out too strong and too quick, causing her to tire, finishing in 2:20. She passed it on to senior Chelsea DiGrazia for the last leg and finished in 4:58.



"I think the distance medley group ran three legs well, but Lucy [Yates] had a rough leg," commented Kepler. "From one stand point, you love the effort and not being afraid, but there is a fine line there. There were over 8,000 people watching, and I think she got caught up in the moment. I'm not upset at the effort, but she didn't run her race. We've learned a lesson and we'll move forward. I thought we belonged in the top-12, but that's how it goes. We win together and have rough days together. Her teammates know that she just tried too hard."

At the Simpson College Track Meet, McAllister-Birkeland won the long jump with a 18'10" mark.

Tomorrow Shapard and Kaplar will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles, and DiGrazia will be competing in the 1,500-meter run. The sprint medley group, comprised of McAllister-Birkeland, Wellington, Patterson, and Ern, will be competing on Saturday afternoon.

"It is hot and windy here. The weather conditions are not what we have been accustomed to," said Kepler. "On the hole, our team represented the school and the team well. We will be picking things up in the morning and hopefully have a great day of competition. The 400-meter hurdles will be a great experience for Shapard and Kaplar. This is Kaplar's first time here and we'll ask her to just run her own race. She has to continue to step up and run the race as well as she can. DiGrazia will just have to go out and compete. That's what is great about her though; that's what she does. She will run a smart race and have an opportunity to place really high."

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