Senior Brooke LoBue closed out her career at Utah with a conference championship in the pole vault.
June 23, 2003
The 2003 season proved to be the Utes best effort to date. Seventy-five new personal records were set, while 61 top 10 performances were posted and five school records were shattered. The Utes had 10 athletes qualify for the NCAA West Regional and one athlete make it to the NCAA Championships. The women's team finished fifth at the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships, which was a place higher than the previous year. The men placed sixth overall.
"We competed in higher caliber meets this year in California and Arizona to help us prepare for the conference championships and regionals," said Head Coach Lisa Archer. "The toughness of the meets really pushed our athletes. We had better marks and set several personal records. We're really optimistic for next season because we are just a few points off from competing for third and fourth place in the conference. We are definitely getting stronger as a team."
Three athletes' performances stood out the most during the Utes' 2003 campaign. Sophomore Nellie Hammons set a new school record in the 800 meters, and went on to break that record four more times during the course of the outdoor season. The final record, which she set at the NCAA Championships, stands at 2:06.99. Hammons notched the conference's best time during the league season for the 800 with 2:07.91. She was the Utes' lone qualifier for the NCAA Championships.
Senior Brooke LoBue grabbed first place in the pole vault at the MWC Championships with 13' 00" and 10th place at the NCAA West Regional. The California native broke her own school record at the Robison Invitational with 13' 00.25". LoBue also saw success in the classroom, making the Verizon Academic All-America Third Team, after maintaining a 3.92 GPA in the master's program for deaf education.
In her debut season, Vanessa Mortensen surpassed all expectations by dominating the conference in the hammer throw. The Denmark native won the hammer with a heave of 185' 06.00" at the conference championships. Her throw of 188' 07.00" at the Hornet Invitational on March 29, ranked atop the conference all season, and is second in the Ute record books. Mortensen finished ninth in the hammer at the NCAA West Regional.
Switching to the men's team, Colby Frazier, Jeff Davidson and Nephi Tyler notched the best seasons. Davidson, a junior, was twice named MWC Outdoor Athlete of the Week for his outstanding performances in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Davidson grabbed fifth at the MWC Outdoor Championships in the steeplechase.
Frazier finished sixth at the conference championships in the 1,500 meters with 3:54.61. He qualified for the NCAA West Regional in the 1,500 with 3:47.52. The junior also competed well in the 800 during the season.
Tyler, a junior, qualified for west regional in the 1,500 meters after running 3:49.46 at the Stanford Invitational earlier in the year. Unfortunately, he was unable to compete at the regionals after suffering a foot injury at practice.
The Utes also saw success in the classroom, as 35 members of the track and field team were named to the honor roll. On the women's team, 25 student-athletes were on the honor roll while 13 made the Dean's List. Overall, the women's team boasted a 3.291 combined GPA.
"Our women's team's GPA was the highest it has ever been," noted Archer. "Both teams success is an attribute to the strength of the coaching staff and the advisers in supporting the student-athletes. The team values doing well in the classroom."
The men had eight student-athletes named to the honor roll and two to the Dean's List. Their combined GPA was 2.916.
NCAA West Regional Qualifiers
Nellie Hammons 800m (2:07.91) -- 1,500m (4:31.27) Brooke LoBue Pole Vault (13' 00.24") Trisha Wagner Pole Vault (12' 00") Vanessa Mortensen Hammer Throw (188' 07") Jen Jackman 400m Hurdles (1:01.28) Katie Decker High Jump (5' 08") Aubry Startin High Jump (5' 07") Colby Frazier 1,500m (3:47.52) Nephi Tyler 1,500m (3:49.36) Jeff Davidson 3,000m Steeplechase (9:07.66)