Manson Wins 800M Race to Lead Utah at Aggie Invitational
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Utah track & field team wrapped up its first indoor track event in nearly a year on a banked track Saturday at the Aggie Invitational with Brooke Manson leading the way while three other Utes recorded personal besets inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
"Overall, just very proud of this group," head coach Kyle Kepler said. "They are the first in our program to compete in almost 11 months. I think they set a great tone, not only in how they competed but the way they approached competing again in this new environment and in a building none of them have ever set foot in until they stood on their respective start lines today."
A native of Sammamish, Wash., Manson ran in the second section of the 800m race and led from start to finish, beating out TCU's Jasmin Muhammed-Graham by nearly three seconds with a time of 2:10.12 for the victory. Jasie York crushed her previous best by nearly three seconds (2:18.20aa), running in the first section of the 800m with a new PR time of 2:15.62.
"So good!" Manson said, when asked what it felt like to race again almost a year later. "I am so grateful to be able to compete again. I have been training for so long and it was great to finally get my legs in a race. My strength is the best it has ever been and I know I have a second gear to use next meet – especially with more competition to push me."
Jackie Martin was the first Ute to podium on Saturday. The Tempe, Ariz., product ran in the very competitive third section that claimed the top-three finishes in the 400m and clocked a time of 55.84 for third place. Lauren O'Banion was just shy of placing in the top-three in the very competitive 400m race as well, turning in a time of 56.53. Fellow teammate Ruby Jane Mathewson recorded a new PR running in the first section of the 400m as well with a mark of 58.94, edging out her previous best of 59.69 set at the Don Kirby Invitational last season.
In addition to setting a new personal-best in the 400, Mathewson also recorded a new PR shortly after in the 200m and crossed the line at the 26.08 mark. Maya LeBar was the first Ute to race on Saturday and set a new mark for herself in the 60m, posting a time of 7.84.
"We had a handful of top-five finishes, a few lifetime bests and a victory in a meet full of talented athletes," Kepler mentioned post meet. "I think that's a terrific start from the athletes competing to the coaches coaching. We've all faced various obstacles and these ladies didn't complain. They come to work and improve every single day and the staff does a great job finding a way to optimize practice for them. It's been fun and inspiring to be part of as we finally return to doing what we all love."
Utah won't have to go very far next weekend as it heads a few miles north for the Weber State Indoor Invitational (Jan. 29-30).