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Cross Country Closes Out Regular-Season Hosting Utah Open

Oct 20, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 8 Utah cross country team will close out the regular-season this Thursday, Oct. 21, when it plays host to the Utah Open at Sunnyside Park. The women's 5k race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. while the men's 6k is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m.
 
UTAH OPEN
Date: Thursday, Oct. 21
Time: 1 p.m. / Men: 1:45 p.m.
Where: Sunnyside Park (Course Map)
Field: Idaho State, #8 Utah (Host), Utah State, Utah Valley
Live Results: Click here
 
THE LINE UP
The Utes will roll out Maren Busath, Emma Earl, Natalie Platil, Kaitlyn Mercer and Karli Branch for the annual Utah Open. All five racers for Utah have ran in at least one 5k meet this year between the Utah Valley Invitational or the Steve T. Reeder Memorial.
 
At the season-opening meet hosted by UVU, Branch took third overall with 5k PR time of 18:21.2 while Busath made her collegiate debut with a 23rd-place finish (19:47.4). Platil wasn't far off with a time of 20:11.8 for 30th-place while Earl clocked in with a personal-best mark of 19:47.4.
 
IN THE RANKINGS
After a stellar performance at the FSU Invite / Pre-Nats race last week, the Women of Utah jumped two spots to No. 8 in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll. Meanwhile, the Utes held steady at No. 4 in the loaded Mountain Region of the USTFCCCA Polls.

 
LAST TIME OUT
The Utes continued their strong season last weekend after taking second at the FSU Invite / Pre-Nationals meet led by veterans Bella Williams and Emily Venters in the 6k. The Women of Utah beat out eight other ranked teams in the meet, finishing with a grouping of 12-13-34-42-48.


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Williams navigated the field well as the race went on, moving up 19 spots to be the first Ute to cross the finish line at 20:11.6 for 12th. Venters hung with the top front group from start to finish and checked in at 13th behind Williams with a time of 20:11.9.
 
Simone Plourde checked in with a mark of 20:30.3 in the 6k race and finished 34th overall while Ariel Keklak registered a time of 20:35.8 for 42nd. Cara Woolnough came in 48th overall to round out the list of scorers for the Women of Utah with a time of 20:39.3. Meanwhile, Keelah Barger (21:02.1), Lisha van Onselen (21.44.9 and Lauren Peterson (22:12.7) closed out the group of competing Utes on Friday at Apalachee Regional Park.
 
In the Women's Open 6k race, Utah's second group took fifth led by Sophie Ryan's PR time of 21:02.9 – which was 20 seconds better than her previous mark set back at the Dellinger Invite. Morgan Jensen was the next Ute to cross the finish line, posting a time of 21:56.6. Brooke Manson followed with a time of 21:10.6 after the junior moved up 28 spots.
 
Hannah Butler and Claire Rusovick were just .3 seconds from each other with Butler finishing at 22:36.5 while Rusovick checked in at 22:36.8 with Karli Branch (23:04.2) rounding out Utah's racers.
 
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS COME TO SLC
Utah is set to host its first Pac-12 Cross Country Championships since joining the league in 2011 this season next Friday, 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.
 
UP NEXT
The Utes won't have to go very far to kick off the postseason with Utah playing host to the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Regional Athletic Complex. The men's race is set to go off at 10 a.m. (MT) while the women take off at 11 a.m. followed by the awards ceremony at Noon (approximately). For more info on the race, check out the meet central.
 
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