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No. 10 Cross Country Headed to Stacked Pre-Nationals Meet

Oct 14, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah cross country team will square off with some of the nation's best this Friday, Oct. 15, at the FSU Invite / Pre-Nationals (6k) meet as the 10th-ranked Utes compete against nine other USTFCCCA ranked teams as well as seven other squads receiving votes in the national poll at Apalachee Regional Park.
Friday's competition gives competitors a preview of the course that will be home to the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 20, hosted by Florida State.
Date: Friday, Oct. 15
Time: 6:35 a.m. (MT) / 8:35 a.m. (ET) local
Where: Apalachee Regional Park (Course Map)
Tickets: Buy here
Field: Arizona, #11 Arkansas, Arkansas State, Auburn, #RV Boston College, CBU, Central Arkansas, #5 Colorado, #RV Duke, Elon, Florida, #15 Florida State, #24 Georgetown, #RV Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, #27 Kentucky, #RV Liberty, Miami (OH), Montana State, #12 North Carolina, #16 Northern Arizona, Ohio State, #14 Ole Miss, #RV Tennessee, #T28 Toledo, #RV UC Davis, UCF, UCLA, #10 Utah, Utah Valley, Wake Forrest, #RV Weber State, Wyoming
Live Results: Click here
The Utes will have a contingent of 14 competing at the FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals meet this Friday as they look to build off the victory at the Dellinger Invitational. Utah's contingency includes: Keelah Barger, Karlie Branch, Hannah Butler, Morgan Jensen, Ariel Keklak, Brooke Manson, Lauren Peterson, Simone Plourde, Sophie Ryan, Claire Rusovick, Lisha van Onselen, Emily Venters, Bella Williams, Cara Woolnough.
Utah's crew of Keklak (4th), Venters (5th), Plourde (6th), Williams (11th), Woolnough (19th) and Barger (24th) all finished in the top-25 to secure the win at the Dellinger Invitational the last time they all ran together. Meanwhile, Barger, Butler, Jensen, Peterson, Plourde, Venters, Williams and Woolnough all made their season-debuts with Keklak, Peterson and Venters setting new PRs in that same race as well.
Utah sent a small group up to Utah State last Friday, Oct. 8, at the Steve T. Reeder Memorial. Natalie Platil paced the Utes with an eighth-place finish, her first-career top-10 finish with a time of 19:09.1 in the 5k race. Maddie Reed made her collegiate debut and finished the race with a time of 20:09.2, which was good for 23rd overall. Emma Earl was the third Ute to cross, recording a time of 20:21.2 and was just outside the top-25 at 27th. Freshman Maren Busath was the fourth Ute to complete the course, checking in with a mark of 20:49.4 while Kaitlyn Mercer (21:34.0) rounded out the group of racers for Utah.
Utah is set to host its first Pac-12 Cross Country Championships since joining the league in 2011 this season on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Regional Athletic Complex. The men's 8k race will kick things off at the RAC on Pac-12 Networks before the women close things off with the 6k race.
Stanford will look to defend its titles on both the men and women's side and become the first school to sweep the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on both sides since Colorado did it in 2015 and 2016.
Since realignment, Washington is the only school to have an individual win on the same year it has hosted on the women's side with Haley Herberg winning the 2020 title while Stanford checks in as the only team on the men's side with an individual winner the same year it hosted in Grant Fisher back in 2018. The Cardinal men is also the only team to claim the team title the same year it hosted the championships.

The Utes return home to host their annual Utah Open on Thursday, Oct. 21, at Sunnyside Park with the women kicking things off at 1 p.m. (MT) before the men take the start line at 1:45 p.m. Utah then plays host to its first Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Regional Athletic Complex. Meet and fan information for the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships is located at the Meet Central.