Sophomore Charity Vernon ran her best race of the year to earn an 11th-place finish at the conference championships.
Nov. 12, 2002
THIS WEEK: The University of Utah cross country teams will head to Albuquerque, N.M., to compete in the Mountain Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 16. This is Utah's last meet of the year, aside from those athletes that qualify for the NCAA Championships, and is arguably the biggest race of the year for the Utes. The race will take place at the University of New Mexico Golf Course. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. (MT) with the women's 6K race held first. The men's 10K race will begin at 11:15 a.m. The top two finishing teams and top four individual runners competing on a non-qualifying team will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 25 in Terra Haute, Ind.
QUOTING HEAD COACH BRIAN APPELL:
On the men's side
"Our plan is to improve on last year's placing in the Mountain Region. We hope to move ahead of the other competitors as the race distance moves from 8K to 10K. We have prepared all year for the added distance at this Championship meet."
On the women's side
"The women will have to play catch up as they are slightly behind other regional teams at the 6K distance. Our squad is catching the other teams, but we might be running out of enough season to catch them."
LAST MEET: The University of Utah cross country runners wrapped up their conference seasons at the Mountain West Conference Championships on Friday, Nov. 1. The Ute women notched a fourth-place finish, while the men finished fifth. Guiding the women was sophomore Charity Vernon who finished an impressive 11th out of 65 runners (21:57.0). On the men's side, junior Delfino Arevalo nabbed 17th place out of 49 runners (25:03).
Vernon raced well for the women, leading the Ute pack the entire race. "I felt great and went out at a good pace," said Vernon. "It was nice to see the hard work pay off." Following Vernon, were freshman Stacie Grover (23rd, 22:38.0), sophomore Jenny Brusch (24th, 22:43.2) and junior Tara Hall (25th, 22:54.7) in a three-pack.
Arevalo ran with the lead pack for most of the race, but fell off the pace towards the end. "I started too quickly and need to run smarter at region," stated Arevalo. Right behind Arevalo was junior Nephi Tyler, who finished 18th in 25:05.0.
"Jeff Davidson stepped up for the men's team. He usually is our seventh runner to finish, but pushed himself into fifth," said Head Coach Brian Appell. "On the women's team, Charity Vernon preformed really well. We relied on our youth to step up, and barely fell back in the homestretch."
UTES ON THE MOVE: Sophomore Charity Vernon ran her best race of the year to earn an 11th-place finish at the conference championships. Vernon, who redshirted the cross country season last year, seems to be peaking at the right time. The Utah native has consistently shaved time off her 6K pace throughout the season, including a 25-second trim from her previous 6K race at Pre-Nationals (Oct. 19, 22:01).
Next on the schedule for Utes that qualify, will be the NCAA Championships in Terra Haute, Ind., on Thursday, Dec. 5.