Chelsea Shapard qualifies for NCAA Regionals
Chelsea Shapard led the list of outstanding performances as she became the second Ute to hit an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark this season in the 400m hurdles. Her time of 59.68, was good enough to win the event and now ranks her third on the all-time Utah school list.
"This was a solid performance up and down the line up for us. I feel good about the way we competed in almost every event. We still have a lot of room for improvement in every area, but our kids came to compete and that's what it's all about." said head coach Kyle Kepler.
"We competed without two of our top athletes, Amanda Feigt and Susan Atwater, who were nursing injuries," added Kepler. "We believe both will be able to return to action next weekend at UCLA. I think knowing that two of our best athletes were not competing gave the rest of our team a little more urgency to perform at a higher level. Once we got the ball rolling we just kept getting stronger as the meet progressed."
This week's event winners were Shapard in the 400m hurdles (59.68), Haley McAllister in the long jump (18-2.5), Mandie Rowell in the triple jump (37-3), the 4x100 meter relay team (46.35), and the 4x400 meter relay team (3:48.46). The runners in the 4x100 meter relay were Jennifer Cutrer, Whitney Wellington, Haley McAllister, and Jazmin Dickey who set a new school record by .80 seconds. The 4x400m quartet consisted of Ashley Patterson, Whitney Wellington, Chelsey Kaplar, and Shapard.
"The sprinters, hurdlers, and horizontal jumpers really had a nice meet with a bunch of PR's and a school record in the 4x100m relay," says Kepler. "We also won the 4x400m relay. Winning both relays was a nice accomplishment and something that doesn't happen very often. Coach Bockman continues to work his magic with those groups and bring them along."
Other top performers for the Utes were Jennifer Cutrer who placed second in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.09. Alyssa Abbott was second in the 800m run with a PR and a fourth-place effort on the all-time Utah performance list with a time of 2:12.17. Placing second in the triple jump was Ashley Patterson with a distance of 37-1.5 and that is seventh on the all-time Utah performance list. Patterson also placed third in the 200m dash with a PR and now ranks second on the all-time performance list with a time of 24.73. That was followed by Whitney Wellington who was fourth in the race and is now third on the all-time performance list with a time of 24.99. Chelsey Kaplar had a personal record in the 400m hurdles as she placed third with a time of 64.38. Sarah McFee took third in the triple jump with a distance of 36-8.25. That mark ranks tenth on the all-time top performances list. Placing fourth in the 100m dash was Liza Whitehead with a time of 12.37. Whitehead's time is second on the all-time top 10 Utah performance list. The throwers had a solid day and were led by Sarah Cardinal who placed third in the discus (137-8.5), fifth in the shot put (42-5.75), which was her best performance of the year, and sixth in the hammer throw with a distance of 155-10.
"Coach Kuusela's throwers really had a nice meet with six personal best performances," said Kepler. "Sarah Cardinal had three top six finishes. That's impressive for a freshman."
Coach Burke Bockman was victorious in the men's 400m hurdles with a time of 51.86. He was also 3rd at the Stanford Invitational a week ago with a time of 52.06.
Kepler ended with, "I was really impressed with the way many of our younger athletes stepped up and competed. They were aggressive and not afraid to fail. As a result, many of them experienced personal or season best performances. They continue to do a nice job of learning how to compete at this level."
Up next for the Utes are split squad meets. The majority of the team will travel to California for the Jackee Joyner Kersee Invitational hosted by UCLA and the Mt. SAC Relays. A smaller group will travel to Logan, UT for the Mark Faldmo Invitational hosted by Utah State.
The University of Utah will host its lone home meet (Utah Spring Twilight Open) of the season on Saturday, April 21st. The women's hammer throw will begin at 2:00 p.m. at Guardsman Field (north of the Utah Tennis Center). The remainder of the meet will start at 4:00 p.m. at Tally Stevens Track Complex (800S 1400E). Admission is free.