Sophomore Charity Vernon will help pilot the women's cross country team this season.
Aug. 26, 2002
The Utah cross country team will open the 2002 season at the Idaho State Invitational in Pocatello, Idaho on Aug. 31. Competition begins at 9:00 a.m.
Quoting Head Coach Brian Appell:
Appell, last year's Mountain West Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year is excited for the upcoming season. "The ISU meet will be the first collegiate race for the new freshmen on the team," says Appell, "Our team is focused on the championships at the end of the season, and will use these early meets to develop our athletes.
With the graduation of two-time All-American Teren Jameson, the Utes will look to their veterans for leadership. Junior Colby Frazier and senior Lion Gallegos should lead the men's team, which finished third last season. Junior Nephi Tyler and juco transfer Delfino Arevalo are also expected to knock out big seasons. Arevalo was the California Junior College Champion in the 10,000 meters last year, while Tyler ranked 30th in the nation in the 1,500 meters.
Switching to the women's side, Appell forsees a talented group of athletes achieving success. Senior Tara Hall, and sophomores Charity Vernon and Jenny Fidler are expected to guide the pack. Newcomers Suzanne Cooney, the Kentucky State cross country champion, and Stacie Grover, from Utah, should have an immediate impact on the team's success. Appell will sit out some of the freshmen, on both the men's and women's teams, for the first two meets in order to analyze their skills.
The Utes have scheduled important NCAA qualifying meets, such as: the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 28 and the NCAA Pre-National Races on Oct. 19. "Those Races will give us an idea of how well we will place this year at the Mountain Regional Championships. Hopefully Utah will record its first berth to the NCAA Cross Country Championships," says Appell. "The men's and women's teams both have a shot at qualifying if they stay focused and continue to develop."