Head coach Kyle Kepler refelects about last week's race.
Sept. 17, 2007
It was another great trip to Montana in everyway. The weather was beautiful and fall temperatures were present as well. The drive through Yellowstone National Park was outstanding. The 80 miles from West Yellowstone to Bozeman has to be one of the top five drives in our country in terms of scenery.
The meet was the most competitive in the three years that we have attended. Several Utah schools along with the Montana schools and Wyoming made for a great race. The weather and the course really made for fast times. I reminded our kids to ignore splits because compared to our other two races, this course is notoriously fast. They did a great job of mentally preparing and got off to a great start.
It was a tight team race at two miles between Utah State, Montana, Weber State, Utah Valley, and us. Our number one, Lauren Lewis was in the top ten and running well. Our 2-5 pack was within five seconds of each other and running in the teens and low 20's. The group did it's very best to hang on over the last mile. We ended up forth, but if the 2-5 pack finishes 10 seconds faster we win. USU won with 59, Mont-73, Weber-78, and UT-83. That's how close it was. Give Utah State and Montana credit for finishing better than we did. Weber went 1-2 up front and we just couldn't overcome that deficit in a 3 mile race.
We have to do a better job of continuing to maintain form and efficiency when we are tired. That will come with training in the next 2-3 weeks. I was very excited about how we competed. I really felt all of our women challenged themselves and were not afraid to push their individual limits.
Lauren Lewis really ran a great race. She ran very consistent splits and held off a couple of gals at the end. It was nice to have Alyssa Abbott back in the line-up. We let her train a little longer after her extended track season this spring. Kellie Anderson may have run her finest college cross country race. She really did a great job in the middle of the race. Becky Mackelprang was her usual consistent self and Janett Ern continues to impress.
We did have a little unfortune early in the race as Steph and Alexis tripped and fell about 200 meters after the start. Steph could never regain her rhythm, but still ran hard. Alexis ran a time that was equal to her personal best so she found her stride. Lauren Endersen continues her long road back from missing eight weeks of training this summer due to a hip injury at the end of track. She gets a little better each race and we know she'll be there for us when we need her.
Another great part of the trip was seeing former teammate, Ashlee Warnick. Ashlee, who is newly married as of August, moved to Bozeman this summer with husband Kurt. They ate dinner with us and I know it was a lot of fun for all of us to see her doing well.
Ashlee was the team student assistant coach for us a year ago and is simply one of those people you don't replace completely. She knew her role and carried out her various duties very well. You can only imagine how difficult it would be to coach the very group of runners that you were a teammate with the previous year. Her presence was invaluable and I know will continue to be a huge part of our success for years to come.
The trip home included a few stops along the highway in Yellowstone for some team pics and to wade in the stream that follows Highway 191. Check out the pictures in the multi media tab on our cross country web page.
We now have two weeks to prepare for the Stanford Invitational. This will be a huge meets with team from all over the country including a few mountain region teams. It will nice to see where we stand against some different competition. If we can keep our pack intact I believe our chances to continue on our recent success will be very good. Talk to you in a couple of weeks!