Venters Guides No. 8 Cross Country to Runner-Up Finish at Pac-12 Championships
SALT LAKE CITY – The eighth-ranked Utah cross country team posted its highest finish in Pac-12 Championship history Friday afternoon behind a third-place individual finish from Emily Venters on a beautiful sunny day at the Regional Athletic Complex.
Both the Utes and Venters' recorded the best finish in program history at the Pac-12 Championships to continue their impressive season. Utah's previous best as a team was third-place at the 2019 championships while Grayson Murphy held the previous top individual finish (fifth) back in 2017.
— Utah T&F/XC (@Utah_trackfield) October 29, 2021
The runner-up finish for Utah was thanks to all five scorers posting top-16 finishes (3-7-11-15-16) for 67 points. Venters had a strong race, running stride for stride with the lead group throughout the race and one point led the pack heading into the 4k loop before finishing third with a time of 20:40.7.
Like Venters, Cara Woolnough ran with the lead pack throughout the race as well and jumped a couple runners ahead of her in the final 800m to take seventh (20:55.0) for her second-fastest time at the conference championships. Running in her first Pac-12 Championships, Simone Plourde made a push down the stretch in the last 2k to jump seven spots for 11th-place with a time of 21:03.7.
Bella Williams was the fourth Ute to cross the finish line on Friday, posting a time of 21:11.0 for 15th-place. Keelah Barger picked up her pace as the meet went on and jumped 20 spots to finish just a hair behind Williams with the same time of 21:11.0.
Morgan Jensen was the next Ute to cross the finish line, checking in at 21:58.8 for 40th while Lisha van Onselen recorded a time of 22:01.7 for 43rd. Ariel Keklak (22:16.2) and Lauren Peterson (22:21.5) weren't too far off, finishing in 47th and 49th respectively in their first Pac-12 Championships race.
Utah now turns its attention towards the NCAA Mountain Regionals (Nov. 12), which is hosted by BYU at Timpanogos Golf Club. The women's race will kick things off at 11 a.m. (MT) with a loaded field.
For the latest news and information on the Utah cross country and track & field programs, fans can stay connected online at www.UtahUtes.com and on social media by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.