The Utah track and field team gets the 2013 season underway on Saturday.
Jan. 8, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY- Competing in its first meet of the 2013 season, the University of Utah women's track and field team will split its squad to attend the BYU Invitational and Snake River Open, both beginning Saturday.
"The first meet is always interesting because it gives us a baseline to work from," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "It gives the coaches an opportunity to evaluate the work each of our student-athletes did over the holiday break. We don't necessarily go into the first meet looking for lifetime bests or NCAA qualifying marks. We tend to focus on improving marks from the same meet the previous year and then build on that. The energy at practice, especially for the track athletes, is usually a little better because everyone is refreshed and excited about the competitions that are now upon them."
The Utes head into the 2013 season with a very talented and experienced squad led by 13 seniors. Leading the way this weekend will be seniors Angela Kaplar, Stephanie Jolley, Alyssa Johnson, and Anneli Stahl.
"All of those upperclassmen bring a ton of experience with them," Kepler stated. "They know they just need to compete hard and the rest will take care of itself."
Leading the team in the throwing events this weekend will be Stahl. An NCAA Regional qualifier in 2011, Stahl will be the lead thrower in the weight and hammer throws this season. Following a great off-season, Stahl looks to have her best season yet with the Utes in 2013.
The hurdle events will feature the combination of Kaplar and Jolley. Coming off a breakout year in 2012, Jolley looks to continue that success in the 400m hurdles and qualify for the MPSF Championships. Kaplar has led the Utes the previous two years in the 50m-100m hurdles and will look to cap off her collegiate career with an NCAA Championships appearance.
"Both meets provide an opportunity to compete in an environment that is more intense than practice, but at the same time doesn't greatly penalize an individual performance the way a championships or scored meet might," Kepler said. "We know there might be mistakes, but this is the time to find out what those mistakes or weaknesses are so we can improve them before the championship portion of the schedule begins."