Utah cross country earns seventh at Pac-12 Championships.
Oct. 27, 2012
SAN CLARITA, Calif.- Competing in its second-ever Pac-12 Conference Championships, the University of Utah women's cross country team posted a seventh-place finish. Led by the sixth-place performance of senior Amanda Mergaert, the Utes finished the day with 200 points edging California and Arizona State.
"Overall it was a good day," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "I am very pleased with the effort and toughness that our team ran with today. I give credit to our team for having a plan and running a smart and patient race."
"At the beginning of the race, we were at the back of the pack," Kepler continued. "But we knew this was a challenging course that would take its toll as the race moved on. Our team was patient and our athletes divided time with patience then moved up and were tough when they needed to be."
Overall the Utes finished the day in seventh place with 200 points, which was just 28 points shy of beating 24th ranked UCLA (172). All six teams that finished ahead of the Utes are nationally ranked in the top-24. The overall winner of the race was No. 3 Oregon with 47 points followed by No. 5 Arizona (69 points) and No. 4 Stanford with 82 points. The Utes earned the seventh spot edging California (209 points) and Arizona State (210 points).
Mergaert, a native from Shelby Township, Mich., led the team with a sixth-place performance. Finishing the six-kilometer race in a time of 20:22, Mergaert garnered All-Pac-12 Conference honors for the second consecutive year and becomes the first Utah cross country athlete to ever earn All-Pac-12 First Team accolades.
Sophomore Susannah Hurst finished second for the Utes and 28th overall completing the course in a lifetime-best 21:06.
Crossing the line third for the Utes and 39th overall was sophomore Giselle Slotboom. After losing her shoe with 5,000m remaining in the race, Slotboom didn't stop, but completed the race in heroic fashion with only one shoe running over rough and rocky terrain. Slotboom finished the course, posting a time of 21:31.
Andrea Chavez recorded another solid performance for the Utes capturing 66th place with a time of 22:14. Nikki Reitz and Katelyn Stringfellow ran close to each other for the majority of the race with Rietz pulling ahead to finish fifth for the Utes and 79th overall clocking a 22:32. Stringfellow rounded out the top-six runners posting a time of 22:36 for 82nd.
"It was an excellent race," Kepler said. "Today was a great day to have the best race of the year. Our runners fought for each other and helped one another. I am very pleased and excited as we now get ready for the NCAA Mountain Region Championships coming up."
The Utah women's cross country team will return to action on Nov. 9 for the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Fort Collins, Colo.
The Pac-12 Cross Country Championships will be rebroadcast on the Pac-12 Networks as follows:
Nov. 5 at 6:00 pm PT
Nov. 6 at 7:00 pm PT
Nov. 7 at 11:00 pm PT
Nov. 8 at 6:00 am PT
Nov. 8 at 11:00 am PT