Chelsea Shapard is one of five Utes to qualify for the NCAA Regionals in track and field.
May 21, 2007
This Week: The University of Utah track and field team will send five student-athletes to the NCAA Regional meet being held in Eugene, Ore., this week, May 24-26. Those who post qualifying marks in the regional meet will qualify for the NCAA Championship meet in Sacramento, Calif. It will be held on the campus of Sacramento State University from June 6-9.
While three of the Utes venturing to the regional meet are seniors (Atwater, Feigt and Rowell), Feigt and Atwater are the lone athletes with regional and championship meet experience. Last year, Feigt posted a qualifying mark in the NCAA Regional meet, recording a 59.94 in the 400m hurdles. Both Abbott and Shapard are underclassmen with freshman and sophomore standings, respectively.
While Feigt will be vying for a spot in the 400m hurdles at the NCAA Championship meet, she is still waiting to see where she stands nationally in the heptathlon. Her 5,328-point showing at the Mountain West Conference Championship meet last week may be good enough to qualify her for the NCAA Championships. There is no heptathlon competition at the regional meets.
Quoting Coach Kyle Kepler:
On the NCAA Regional Meet: "We are going to Track Captial, USA, as they like to call it in Eugene, Ore. That is a great atmosphere up there. The stands will be packed with fans that know track and field, and that will make it an exciting event.
"We're going to take the same approach we had at the Mountain West Conference championships. We want to out-perform our ranking and if we do that, then we know we're heading in the right direction. Making it to the NCAA is always our ultimate goal at an event like this.
"Three out of the five who qualified are making their first regional meet appearance. As a coaching staff, it's our job to make sure our student-athletes are relaxed and not caught up in the pressure of the meet. But, we also have to make sure that they are ready to compete at their potential."
On the Mountain West Conference Championships: "I was extremely pleased with our team's performance at the conference championships. We performed at maximum capacity and I thought that we really gave a championship effort out there."
Notes - The Utes are sending five student-athletes to the regional meet this weekend. Of the five that are going, three of them posted qualifying marks just two weekends ago at the MWC Championship meet. Alyssa Abbott (2:09.45) in the 800m, Mandie Rowell (12-5 1/5) in the pole vault and Chelsea Shapard (58.47) in the 400m hurdles all punched a ticket to the regional meet at the conference championships ... Utah landed two athletes on the all-conference team at the MWC Championships. Both Amanda Feigt and Chelsea Shapard were honored as such. Feigt for winning the heptathlon title (5,328 points) and Shapard for winning the 400m hurdle (58.47) title ... pole vaulter Mandie Rowell had a standout weekend at the MWC championships. Her 12-5 ½ effort not only bested her personal best by four inches, but it also tied her for the third-best vault in school annals ... Chelsea Shapard's championship mark in the 400m hurdles (58.47) was a school record. It topped Jen Jackman's mark of 59.54 set back in 2004. Feigt also secured a school record. Her 5,328 points in the heptathlon bested Erianna Allen's mark of 5,264 points from 2002.
Last Week in Brief - The Utes finished sixth (49.5 points) at the Mountain West Conference Championships in San Diego two weekends ago.
Leading the way for the Utes were their two conference champions, Amanda Feigt and Chelsea Shapard. Feigt won the heptathlon title (5,328 points) while Shapard was crowned the 400m hurdles (58.47) champion.
In addition to Feigt's and Shapard's points, the Utes also got scoring efforts from: Feigt in the long jump (fourth, 19-7), 100m hurdles (fourth, 14.10) and 400m hurdles (seventh, 60.59); Becky Riddle in the hammer throw (fifth, 172-2); Alyssa Abbott in the 800m (sixth, 2:11.91); Jennifer Cutrer in the 100m hurdles (seventh, 14.44); Jennifer Neddo in the high jump (seventh, 5-3); Ashley Patterson in the 400m (seventh, 55.31); and Mandie Rowell in the pole vault (seventh, 12-5 ½). Both the 4x100m and the 4x400m relay teams also scored two points each, taking seventh place in their respective events.
Feigt led the Utes in scoring 22 points for the team. Brigham Young won the event with 195 total points.
Up Next - Utah track and field athletes who post qualifying marks at the regional meet will compete at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. The event will be held on the campus of Sacramento State University from June 6-9.