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Trio of Runners Set New PRs at Arkansas Qualifier

Feb 5, 2021
Photo Credit: Walt Beazley

Arkansas Qualifier Results

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Utah track & field team had a successful day at the Arkansas Qualifier racing against some of the nation's top runners on Friday inside the Randal Tyson Track Center and registered personal bests from a trio of runners.
 
"Overall, it was a nice day," said head coach Kyle Kepler. "I thought we ran really hard again. The pieces are coming together. It is just our second indoor meet for most of these gals and third overall so no complaints on the effort. It's a different track and we don't get to train on any sort of banked surface, so when you try to go race it's just different. Again, another venue none of our kids have ever raced in."
 
The day got going for Utah in the 60m dash, where Maya LeBar tied her personal best and clocked in at 7.84 – which she recently ran at the Aggie Invitational two weeks ago. Taylor Watson had a wonderful start off the block and finished just ahead of LeBar's time with a season-best 7.80.
 
Lauren O'Banion had the top time among the trio of Utes running in the 400m and collected a new personal best of 56.21, edging out her previous time of 56.24 set at the Bronco Invitational last season. Newcomer Kelise Davis also set a new PR in the third section of the 400m with a time of 57.58 while Jackie Martin took third in her section (57.40).

 
The 800m was just as physical and competitive like the 400m as Whitney Hessler (2:10.91) and Brooke Manson (2:11.76) came in one after the other. Manson looked like she was going to have a run at the 800m title but shifted into fifth gear a little too early heading into the final lap.
 
The 200m dash followed with almost the entire field recording PRs or season-bests. For the Utes, Davis continued her great day on the track and took second with a time of 25.13, which is good for seventh all-time, in her section while also notching a new PR. LeBar posted a season-best time as well, crossing the finish line right behind Davis (26.16).

 
Utah's 4x400m relay team set foot on the track together for the first time on Friday since setting the new school record last season. The team of O'Banion, Skyler Blair, Oneillia Fuller and Martin took fifth overall in their first race together with a time 3:43.43. Martin ran a terrific anchor leg for the Utes, sprinting in with a time of 54.94 – which was the third-fastest split in the second section.
 
"It's great to see some of our kids trying some new things, some different things and not just getting caught up in the same race plan every single time," Kepler said. "We always talk about if you're going to make a mistake, make an aggressive mistake and if backfires on you so be it. Again, overall I'm excited for the growth and for the development of our team moving forward."
 
The Utes will have a slight change of pace next week as it travels to Sin City for its first outdoor meet of the year at the UNLV Winter Challenge #1 on Friday, Sat. 13.
 
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