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Utah Cross Country Opens Spring Season in Las Vegas

Jan 29, 2021


SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's cross country team will resume competition after a postponed fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Silver State Collegiate Cross Country Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., on Monday, Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. MT.

On the first of two meets for the Utes, who are currently ranked #18 in the nation, will face competitors from #8 Washington, #3 BYU, # 26 NAU, # Notre Dame, and # 13 Boise State at Craig Ranch Regional Park.

Competing in the 6k for Utah will be Karli Branch, Sara Leonard, Astrid Lindgren, Sarah Newton, Kennedy Powell, Sophie Ryan, and Poppy Tank. In addition, Sandy native Morgan Jensen will be making her debut as a Ute on Monday as well.

After coming off a historic 2019 season that saw Utah make its third appearance in the last five years at the NCAA Championships, the Utes look to get back into gear in a shortened spring season and compete once again. Runners Bella Williams and Poppy Tank received All-Regional honors last season after leading the Utes to a fifth-place finish at NCAA Regionals.

The Women of Utah also won the Joe Piane Invitational in 2019, beating out a bevy of top-10 teams like top-seeded Colorado, #2 New Mexico, #6 Washington, #8 NC State and #9 Wisconsin on top of the other 25 teams in the field.

The win propelled Utah to its highest ranking ever in program history checking at No. 6 in the USTFCCCA polls and climbed to No. 2 in the Mountain Region rankings. Both rankings marked historic highs for the program. Utah ended the season with seven top-three finishes on the year, including a third-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships.

The Utes will return to Sin City on Feb. 19 for the Battle Born Collegiate Cross Country Challenge before having a couple weeks to prepare for the Pac-12 Women's Cross Country Championships on March 15 – which will be held at Chambers Bay Golf Course.