Amanda Mergaert finished fourth at Chile Pepper Invitational.
Oct. 15, 2011
Fayetteville, Ark. - Led by junior Amanda Mergaert's fourth place-finish, the University of Utah women's cross country team tied for seventh place with 215 points at the six-kilometer Chile Pepper Invitational.
"Overall things went alright today," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "We had some bright spots individually. Amanda continues evolving into a premier cross country runner in our region and on a national scale as well. However as a team we have to get tougher."
In her second race of the season, Mergaert earned the fourth overall spot with a time of 20:19.5. Senior Alyssa Abbott was the second Utah runner (17th place) to finish with a time of 20:59.8.
"Amanda ran a smart race," Kepler said. "Abbott improved her back three-kilometer spilt and made a good step forward today."
Finishing third for the Utes and 47th overall was sophomore Rebekah Winterton with a time of 21:48.7. The fourth Utah runner to cross the line was freshman Susannah Hurst with a time of 22:06.3. Rounding out the top-five finishers for Utah was freshman Nikki Rietz (22:41.1).
"Rebekah ran a solid race and did very well on the back half," Kepler said. "We aren't comfortable getting out fast enough at the beginning of the race. We need to improve our fifth spot and it is not just one person, but as a team we need somebody to step up as we move into the conference meet."
Utah earned 215 points to tie for seventh place with Wichita State. The overall winner of the meet was Texas with 85 points. Arkansas (89 points), Oklahoma State (123 points), Texas Tech (156 points), and Weber State (175 points) rounded out the top five overall team standings.
The Utes will take a week off before returning to competition for the Pac-12 Championships in Phoenix, Ariz., on Oct. 29.