Utes split up this weekend for two meets
Highlighting the Ute performances was a new school record in the 4x400m relay and another NCAA West Regional qualifying mark.
The relay team of Ashley Patterson, Amanda Feigt, Alyssa Abbott, and Chelsea Shapard combined to run 3:44.71 for the Utes, breaking the old school record set less than a month ago. That time allowed Utah to finish 17th out of 28 teams. Feigt had her best long jump series of the season and the result was an NCAA regional qualifying mark of 6.00 meters (19-8.25) on her final attempt. Feigt placed sixth overall in the competition.
"Ashley got us started out really well, while Amanda and Chelsea ran outstanding legs, Alyssa had to replace Whitney Wellington who injured herself earlier in the day. She ran a solid leg for someone who wasn't expecting to be on that relay. We know we can run even faster and the regional qualifying mark is 3:42.00 and that will be the goal at conference," stated head coach Kyle Kepler.
Kepler continued, "Amanda had an awesome series in the long jump with jumps of 5.95, 5.98, 5.99, and 6.00 meters. Those are all quality jumps and a sign of great consistency. It's exciting to see her perform that well at this time of the year."
The 98th running of America's Athletic Classic got off to a very auspicious start for the Utes. In the 4x100m relay, second runner Whitney Wellington injured her hamstring. Forty-five minutes later, Utah senior vaulter, Susan Atwater, dislocated her left ankle after landing in the pit awkwardly on a failed attempt. Wellington is expected to miss about two weeks, but should be able to compete at the conference championships. Atwater's injury is feared to be season ending. It will keep her out of the conference championships, but there is a little bit of optimism that she could compete in the NCAA West Regional championships in a month.
"Susan's injury could have been a lot worse. When it happened everyone around the vaulting area was sure it was worse. A dislocation is never a good thing, however she didn't break anything and the healing process could take three weeks or six months. It just really depends on the individual. Those types of injuries have always been part of vaulting. She didn't necessarily do anything wrong. She just got twisted funny after hitting the cross bar on the way down and landed funny in the pit," explained Kepler.
Jennifer Cutrer placed 21st in the preliminaries of the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.34. In the 400m hurdles, Utah's two NCAA regional qualifiers Feigt and Shapard took to the track in the same heat. Paired side by side in lanes four and five, the two teammates ran solid races. Feigt ran a season best time of 59.61 to finish ninth overall, while Shapard ran 60.22, good for 11th place. The Ute quartet of Cutrer, Haley McAllister, Patterson, and Abbott finished 12th in the sprint medley relay (200-200-400-800) with a time of 4:00.97.
"Cutrer made a few technical errors in her race that she knew right when she finished. Feigt and Shapard ran solid races. Cutrer and McAllister had good legs on the sprint medley and I was pleased with Abbott's anchor leg. We still have some things we need to improve and injuries to overcome, but overall I thought we competed well and had a good weekend," commented Kepler.
"Sometimes at a huge meet like the Drake Relays athletes just try to hard. I think we did a little of that especially our athletes who were competing for the first time at this event. It's not uncommon and ultimately those experiences will pay huge dividends in the future. The meet that Amanda had is sure-fire proof of that adage," said Kepler.
BYU Robison Invite:
TJ, 4th, 36-00.25
Discus, 3rd, 142-04
Shot, 3rd, 43-8.5 (season best)
Hammer, 4th 158-9
Hammer, 4th, 172-06 (just missed NCAA Regional qualifying mark by 4.5 feet)
1500, 5th, 4:33.99 (Huge personal best)
400m hurdles, 5th, 62.67
5K, 8th, 18:01.04
"We had another solid meet at the BYU Robison Invitational. Cardinal continues to make improvements in all of her events. Riddle just missing the regional qualifying marks is a big statement about her improvement this year. DiGrazia ran a four second personal best and didn't feel her best and Kaplar is gaining the necessary consistency in the long hurdle event that could ultimately lead to an NCAA regional mark," stated Kepler.
Kepler continued, "We have two weeks to make a few adjustments and get everything in order for the conference championships. We don't have as much depth as some of the other teams in our league, but our women will fight for every place and every point. It will be an important experience for the future development of our program."
This week the Utes were able to chalk up eight more PR's, five all-time top-ten performances, and one new school record.
Utah will travel a limited squad to Weber State for the Weber State Twilight on Wednesday, May 2nd. The meet is scheduled to begin at 4:30pm and serves as a final tune-up opportunity prior to the Mountain West Conference Championships which will be hosted by San Diego State University beginning on May 9th.