Seventh-Ranked Women of Utah Take Fifth at Loaded NCAA Mountain Regionals
PROVO, Utah – Paced by Bella Williams and Cara Woolnough, the seventh-ranked Utah cross country team claimed fifth against a loaded field at the NCAA Mountain Regionals late Friday morning at the Timpanogos Golf Club.
"I'm incredibly proud of this entire group," head coach Kyle Kepler said postrace. "We had to deal with some adversity over the past 8-9 days and they rose to the challenge in the most difficult region in the country. They never wavered, put their heads down and got the job done. For Bella and Cara to make All-Region Team as seniors was terrific. They have both meant so much and done so much for this program. I could not be prouder of our women. They earned us another opportunity to compete on the national stage and I know they are looking forward to that."
Williams, who finished 15th overall with a time of 20:42.1, slowly moved up the ranks throughout the race and passed Woolnough after the fifth kilometer to be the first Ute to cross the finish line. Woolnough didn't finish far behind her fellow senior and reached the finish line at 20:51.6 for 23rd overall.
Because they finished within the top-25, Williams and Woolnough both earned All-Region honors on Friday. It marked the second All-Region honor for Williams after picking up her first one in 2019 while Woolnough garnered the award for the first time.
Keelah Barger was the third Ute to finish the race, jumping 14 spots to place 30th overall at 21:10.4. Fellow transfer Simone Plourde was right on Barger's tail and crossed with a time of 21:13.3 for 32nd. Lisha van Onselen completed the group of scoring runners for the Women of Utah with a mark of 21:32.1 for 46th after sitting at 84th just past the first kilometer.
Sophomore Morgan Jensen checked in with a time of 22:03.1 for 66th overall in her first NCAA Regionals race while Lauren Peterson closed things out for Utah at the 23:38.2 mark (107th overall).
Kepler has now led Utah to a top-5 finish in five of the last six regional races – not including the 2020 season, which did not see a regional meet run due to COVID-19.
The Utes will officially know their fate for the NCAA Championships this Saturday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m. (MT) when the NCAA announces the complete championship field on NCAA.com.
NCAA Mountain Regionals – 5th Place
|46th||Lisha van Onselen||21:32.1|
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.