Senior Amanda Mergaert finishes 14th at NCAA Championships.
Nov. 17, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Running in her final collegiate cross country race, senior Amanda Mergaert wrapped up her career in perfect fashion, earning All-American honors with a 14th-place performance at the NCAA Championships.
“Amanda ran a near perfect race,” Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. “I couldn’t be any prouder or happier for Amanda. This is a monumental day in our program. She used her senior experience and followed that race plan perfectly. We are so excited, she has had a great career and this was a perfect way to end her senior season.”
Mergaert has qualified for the NCAA Championships three consecutive seasons. In her first two attempts, Mergaert fell just shy of earning All-American accolades. However, for Mergaert third time was the charm. Mergaert wrapped up her cross-country career posting a 14th-place finish with a six-kilometer personal-record time of 19:57.7, which earned All-American honors.
Mergaert’s performance is the highest finish ever recorded by a Utah runner at the NCAA Championships. She also becomes the first cross-country All-American from Utah in 25 years (Celsa Bowman, 1987).
Getting the six-kilometer race underway at Tom Sawyer State Park, the lead pack fired off to a quick start. Two kilometers into the race, Mergaert was in the 150th spot just waiting to make her move. During the next 2.5 kilometers, Mergaert gained 128 spots to move into the 22nd position with 1.5 kilometers remaining. On the final stretch of the race, Mergaert did not hold anything back as she passed eight more competitors crossing the finish in 14th and permanently stamping her name in the Utah record books.
“The starts aligned perfectly today,” Kepler said. “This was an awesome race and we are so happy for Amanda.”