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No. 7 Cross Country Headed Down I-15 to Compete in Loaded NCAA Mountain Regionals

Nov 10, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – The seventh-ranked Utah cross country team won't have to travel far for the NCAA Mountain Regionals this Friday, Nov. 12, with it being held at Timpanogos Golf Club. The women's 6k race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (MT). Admission is free for all fans.
2021 NCAA Mountain Regionals
Date: Friday, Nov. 12
Time: 11 a.m. (MT)
Where: Timpanogos Golf Club (Course Drone Overview)
Participants: Air Force, #4 BYU, #3 Colorado, #19 Colorado State, Idaho State, Montana State, Nevada, #2 New Mexico, #18 Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, #7 Utah, #22 Utah State, Utah Valley, #RV Weber State, Wyoming
Utah Line Up: Keelah Barger, Morgan Jensen, Lauren Peterson, Simone Plourde, Sophie Ryan, Lisha van Onselen, Emily Venters, Cara Woolnough
Meet Central: Click here
Live Results: Click here
The Women of Utah will run with an identical group as it did at the Pac-12 Championships with the exception of Bella Williams and Ariel Keklak. Of those eight running for the Utes, Keelah Barger (2018-19), Sophie Ryan (2018), Lisha van Onselen (2017-19), Emily Venters (2017-18) and Cara Woolnough (2018-19) have experience running in a regional meet.
Barger's best finish at the West Regionals was 46th with a mark of 20:57.5. Ryan was Utah's fifth scorer back in 2018, placing 89th with a time of 21:56.7. Van Onselen had her best finish in the Southeast Regional back in 2017 (55th) but recorded her best time in 2018 when she finished in 21:20.9. Venters, who led the Utes at the Pac-12 Championships, had her best finish in 2018 at the West Regionals with an 11th place finish at 19:53.9. Woolnough's best finish and time came in 2019 when Utah had its highest finish at the NCAA Regionals after crossing the finish line at 20:55.1 for 30th-overall.
The NCAA Mountain Region is once again loaded with seven of the 15 teams competing ranked in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA rankings while 4-of-7 ranked are inside the top-10 – including No. 7 Utah. In addition, the Mountain Region field also boasts four conference champions in BYU (WCC), Colorado (Pac-12), New Mexico (MWC) and Utah Valley (WAC).
New Mexico is the highest ranked team in the Mountain Region checking in at No. 2 while Colorado and BYU follow at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. The Utes round out the top-10 at No. 7 for their second-highest ranking in program history while Northern Arizona (No. 18), Colorado State (No. 19) and Utah State (No. 22) close out the top-25. Weber State is the lone team also receiving votes in the USTFCCCA National Poll.
Heading into this Friday's NCAA Mountain Regional meet, Utah has registered four top-5 finishes and 14 top-10 finishes dating back to 1998. Utah's best finish at the regional meet came in 2015 when the Utes came in third at the UNM North Course and was led by Hannah McInturff's fourth-place finish in the 6k race. Grayson Murphy still owns the best finish by any Ute after posting a time of 20:04.0 for second-place in 2017.
The 2021 cross country squad for Utah has continued to make its case as the best team in program history after taking second at the 2021 Pac-12 Championship, its highest finish ever since joining the conference. The Women of Utah saw all five scorers place in the top-16, including a third-place finish from Emily Venters. The third-place finish by Venters topped the previous best finish by any Ute at the Pac-12 Championships set by Grayson Murphy (fifth) in 2017. However, Murphy's time of 19:03.8 in the 6k at the conference meet still stands as the fastest time.

For their efforts, Venters and Cara Woolnough garnered All-Pac-12 First-Team accolades while Simone Plourde earned All-Pac-12 Second-Team honors.

Place Name Time
3rd Emily Venters 20:40.7
7th Cara Woolnough 20:55.0
11th Simone Plourde 21:03.7
15th Bella Williams 21:11.0
16th Keelah Barger 21:11.0
40th Morgan Jensen 21:58.8
43rd Lisha van Onselen 22:01.7
47th Ariel Keklak 22:16.2
49th Lauren Peterson 22:21.5
Sophie Ryan DNF


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The Women of Utah will know their fate at 1 p.m. (MT) on Selection Saturday as the NCAA announces the field for the national championships race in a live stream on The 2021 NCAA Championships are set for Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8:20 a.m. (MT) and will broadcast live on ESPNU at Apalachee Regional Park.
For the latest news and information on the Utah cross country and track & field programs, fans can stay connected online at and on social media by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.