Junior Rebekah Winterton led the Utes to become Utah's second-ever MPSF Champion.
March 12, 2014
Completing its third indoor season as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, the Utah women's track and field team gains momentum as it begins to prepare for the upcoming outdoor season.
The Utes competed in eight regular season meets leading up to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Indoor Championships in Seattle, Washington. These meets prepared the women to earn a combined total of 26 points at the MPSF Championships, which was good enough to claim a 12th-place finish out of 17 teams.
Junior Rebekah Winterton led the way for the Utes in the distance events, becoming Utah's first-ever MPSF Champion in the 5,000 with a time of 16:30.51. Winterton also recorded a personal best in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 9:24.11 at the MPSF Championships. Throughout the season, Winterton continued to improve with every passing meet, recording a new personal best in every meet she competed in. Senior Susannah Hurst and sophomore Nicole Rietz accompanied Winterton in the distance events. Hurst recorded personal best times of 9:37.83 and 17:01.20 in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races, respectively. Rietz set the school record in the mile with a time of 4:57.10 at the MPSF Championships to finish 21st overall.
The middle distance events featured senior Rosalie Waller and juniors Ali Eisenbeiss and Allison Aafedt. At the MPSF Championships, Waller recorded a lifetime best 2:07.57 in the 800 to capture fourth place. Waller's performance currently ranks fourth on the all-time Utah list. Eisenbeiss recorded a personal best time of 2:10.53, which also ranks in the top 10 on Utah's all-time list. Waller and Eisenbeiss teamed up to capture the first and second spots at the Bronco Invitational. Aafedt's season best-time of 2:15.68 in the 800 was also a new PR for her.
The sprinting events in the 2014 indoor season showcased a bunch of new talented freshman, as well as veteran leadership. Freshman Alissa Atisme emerged as a talented asset for the Utes in the 55, 60 and 200-meter races. Atisme is currently both the 55 and 200-meter record holder for the Utes with times of 7.18 and 24.97 seconds, respectively. Atisme also just missed setting the school record in the 60-meter with a time of 7.80 seconds. Sophomore Jameela Hayes also ran well in the 60 and 200, posting a top-ten performance on the Utah all-time list in the 60 meter with a time of 7.91 seconds. Senior Stephanie Jolley and freshman Grace Englund were the frontrunners for the Utes in the 400. Jolley, who completed her final season of eligibility at Utah, finished first for the Utes and 13th overall at the MPSF Championships with a personal-best performance of 55.20. Englund was another freshman who made an immediate impact for the Utes, posting a personal-best time of 57.28 seconds.
Freshman Christine Van Brocklin was the primary competitor for the Utes in the hurdle events. Van Brocklin recorded her personal-best time of 8.95 seconds at the Bronco Invitational in the 60-meter hurdles. Her performance was good enough to land her a spot on the Utah top-ten list.
The Utah 4x400 relay broke the school record twice this past indoor season. The relay featured Stephanie Jolley, Ali Eisenbeiss, Rosalie Waller and Grace Englund. The relay set a record time of 3:43.82 to secure an eighth-place finish at the MPSF Championships. The distance medley relay team of Andrea Chavez, Allison Aafedt, Kendahl Melvin and Nikki Rietz posted a season-best time of 11:42.
In the jumps, true freshman Courtney Jost proved her dominance as the top athlete for the Utes in the long jump and triple jump. Jost recorded a season-best jump of 18 feet, 3.25 inches in the long jump, which was good enough to rank in the top ten all-time for the Utes. Jost's jump of 39 feet, 0.25 inches in the triple jump also ranks in the top ten. Senior Theresa Waybright was the only Ute who competed in the pole vault in 2014. Waybright cleared a mark of 12 feet, 6 inches at the MPSF Championships to set her new personal best.
With veteran senior Destanae Howerton-Davis redshirting the 2014 indoor season, the Utes were looking for someone else to step up and fill her shoes and senior Nikkie Rudder answered the call. Rudder broke the school record in the shot put at the BYU Invitational on her first collegiate throw in two years. Rudder's new record is set at 50 feet, 2 ¾ inches. The shot put also featured true freshman Kassie Nagel, who posted a season-best throw measuring 44 feet, 4.75 inches. In the weight throw, senior Aoife Hickey led the Utes with a top-ten throw measuring 59 feet, 9 inches. Rudder was second on the team with a personal-best throw of 57 feet, 4.25 inches.