Utes have high expectations for MPSF Championships.
Feb. 26, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY-The Utah women's track and field team will be heading to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships this weekend. The event will begin Friday at 12 p.m. PT with the women's weight throw at Dempsey Indoor Facility in Seattle, Wash.
"This weekend is a great chance for some of our athletes to qualify for the NCAA Championships," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "For others, it is a chance to have one last solid indoor meet before we start to focus on the outdoor season. Our goal is to try and score as many points as we can and place as high as we can in the team standings. We also hope to continue to improve and evolve as we have been doing all season."
The MPSF consists of 17 teams including top-ranked Oregon, No. 9 Stanford, and No. 19 UCLA as well as multiple athletes nationally ranked in individual events.
Last year the Utes finished 10th overall in the meet, with six top-eight performances and a combined total of 21.5 points.
"This season, I think we are wider in the event range of where we can score compared to last season," Kepler said. "We don't have quite as big of a hitter as we did with Amanda Mageart graduating, but I think we are deeper and better in more events then we were a year ago, overall. We will just have to wait and see. This is a really good meet. There are a lot of fast times and good marks put up at this meet, so our kids are going to have to be ready to go. They need to be ready to perform their best in order to give us a chance to score the amount of points that we want to score and maybe finish in the top 10 in the team standings."
Rebekah Winterton leads the Ute distance group in the 3000 and 5000-meter races with personal best times of 9:37.59 and 16:18.85. Winterton currently ranks 28th in the country in the 5000 and looks to record a season-best time in order to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Winterton will be joined by teammate Susannah Hurst, who is currently ranked 12th in the conference in the 3000.
In 2013, the Utes finished one spot shy of earning team points in the 4x400 relay. The team comprised of Ali Eisenbeiss, Alyssa Johnson, Stephanie Jolley, and Waller recorded a combined time of 3:47.31. With three of the four athletes competing again this year, they will be looking to improve upon that time and record a top performance in the relay.
Senior Aoife Hickey will lead off the day beginning with the weight throw. Last week, Hickey captured the event title at the Weber State Open with a throw measuring 58 feet, ¼ inches. Currently ranked fifth in the league, Hickey looks to improve upon a tenth-place finish at the MPSF Championships a year ago. Accompanying Hickey in the throws will be senior Nikkie Rudder who is currently tied for seventh in the league for the shot put event.
Other athletes to keep an eye out for this weekend include Alissa Atisme (sprints), Jolley (400), Eisenbeiss (800), Christine Van Brocklin (60 hurdles), Theresa Waybright (pole vault), and Courtney Jost (jumps).