Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Cross Country Heads to San Diego for MWC Championship

Head coach Kyle Kepler

Head coach Kyle Kepler

Oct. 29, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah women's cross country team will head to the sunny state of California this weekend to participate in the Mountain West Conference Championships. The San Diego State Aztecs will play host on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Mission Bay Park to the women's 6K beginning at 10 a.m. PT.

The women were last seen at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 18, where they placed 26th out of 39 teams in the Women's 6K White Team Race. They tallied 611 points, just 20 points off of breaking into the top 20 team finishes. Two Ute runners individually placed in the top 75 out of 287 competitors and five runners set new personal bests.

After such a great performance at the meet, the Utes rightfully earned a sixth-place regional ranking, the second highest for Utah since 1996 when they were fifth in the league. This ranking also put the Utes ahead of Colorado State, the 2007 Mountain West Conference Champions. The Rams are currently ranked seventh in the region.

Alyssa Abbott has had a good showing this year as a junior. She recently posted a new personal best at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. where she finished the 6K race in 21:14.

Chelsea DiGrazia is one of Utah's four leading seniors. She has been one of the top finishers in every race this year and ran for a first-place finish for the first time in her career at the Utah State Open in August.

Lauren Endersen is another senior on Utah's team. She has finished in the top 5 in each race this season and has succeeded in the classroom as well. Endersen has maintained a 4.0 GPA and scored in the 99.4 percentile on the MCAT with a 39 on her first attempt.



Janett Ern is in her senior year and has represented Utah in every team race this season. She came in third overall for the Utes at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet two weeks ago, finishing in 22:17, a new personal record.

Kellie Anderson has contributed to the Utes' as a top-five finisher in several races this year. She finished 14th overall in the Utah State Open and 29th overall at the Colorado State Open after finishing in 20:51.

Samantha Gaffney is a competitive sophomore in her first year as a Ute runner. She has had a top 50 finish in three of the five races she has competed in this season. At the Stanford Invitational in September, Gaffney finished the 6K in 23:32.

Carly Selleck is a sophomore transfer from Montana State. In the Colorado State Open she finished the 5K in 20:19 for an 18th-place finish.

Alexis Davis is a sophomore runner for the Utes. In the Montana State Open in September, Davis finished the three-mile run in 19:20.

The Utes placed fifth in the league last year after tallying a net total of 130 team points. Abbott led the team with a 20th-place finish after crossing the line in 22:37. Close behind was Endersen with a 24th-place finish (22:50), DiGrazia (25th, 22:50) and Lauren Lewis (26th, 22:52). Anderson crossed the line in 23:47 to earn a 35th-place finish, followed by Davis in 40th-place with a finish time of 24:02.

STRAIGHT FROM KEP'S MOUTH "The championship portion of our schedule begins with the Mountain West Conference Championships. This is why the women run all the miles they run and train as hard as they do. We want to run our best races of the year and continue our improvement within the league. We have placed a spot higher in the league each year since my arrival as the head coach. Maybe we can climb two this year," said head coach Kyle Kepler. "The Pre-Nationals meet gave us some momentum, but we will have to perform at an even higher level if we want to finish in the top three. Our league is just really good. New Mexico and BYU are nationally ranked and Colorado State is the defending conference and regional champions. Colorado State has almost everyone back from last year so you can expect them to be in the mix as well. Every place is important so our women have to be ready to fight for every point. We don't need any one runner to try to do too much, we just need all of them to have great individual efforts on the same day. That is easier said than done, but these women are committed to each other and our university as good, or better, than any other team I have coached. They know what it takes and I know at the end of the day on Saturday they will have given their best effort. As a coach, that is all you can ask for."

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