Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Conference Week


It's conference week for the cross country team and neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor darkness will keep us from our preparation!  Susannah, AuraLea, and Rebekah had to go early this morning (7am) due to some academic conflicts this afternoon.  They had a terrific workout despite the constantly changing weather that happened to roll through this morning.  (Of course as soon as they finished the weather lightened up considerably).

Be sure to go to the cross country page at www.utahutes.com (select media tab) to check out my weekly press conference.

We are off to Colorado on Friday and race on Saturday morning at 11:40am. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Three is Our Number

While our streak of finishing third in three straight meets came to an end the number three is still going strong.  At the Stanford Invite we finished fourth for the third straight year.  Junior Susannah Hurst finished fourth in her.....I'll give you one guess....yep....third straight meet.  And now we have three weeks until our next meet.

We are still searching for more consistency in regard to our scoring five and top seven runners.  Our top  three (Rebekah, Susannah, and Andrea) all seemed to have found a grove.  However, our 4-7 are still fighting not only to improve, but when they do improve hang on or even build upon that increased output.  Most of that can be related directly to the fact that we are very young in those positions with three freshmen among the five.

If we want to achieve our preseason goals we have to continue to stay healthy/get healthy and find consistency in all of our running.

We are off for the next two weekends and return to action on October 19th at the Pre National meet on the NCAA Championship course in Terre Haute, IN.

Be sure to check out my weekly press conference at http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/c-xc/utah-c-xc-body.html  Click on the Multi Media tab in the center of the page.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

and The Award Goes Too?

Five time University of Utah All American Amanda Mergaert. 

As usual the Utah/Southern Idaho Chapter of the M.S. Society Dinner of Champions was a gala event.  This dinner brings "champions" from all parts of life together in a celebration of achievement and awareness.  Multiple Sclerosis affects 1 in 300 people.  It can affect anyone but typically is diagnosed between ages 20-50.  This years event celebrated athletic champions who along with there commitment to their sport also volunteer in the community in various ways.  The event also highlighted careers of people who are supporting those with MS, individuals living with MS, and the  continued research of a cure for MS. 

Mergaert was honored as the College Female Athlete of the Year by this great organization.  She is the second University of Utah Track & Field/Cross Country athlete earn this award in the 35 year history of the event (Alyssa Abbott, 2011). 
Pictured is Dinner of Champions host Philip G McCarthey, Amanda, and myself. 

To have two award winners in the past three years speaks volumes about the type of people we have in our program.  They spend countless hours between school work, running, and volunteering in the community...giving back.  We have many other student athletes who are on a similar path and I know both Amanda and Alyssa would say this honor is something they can share with all of their teammates.  An awesome night with some truly inspiring people.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stuck in 3rd Gear

We've ran two meets and we've finished third as a team twice.  Like most teams we have work to do, but know we will be better later in the season.  Practices have gone well thus far, but we simply need more time to learn how to run together and be able to finish better.

To hear more about our recent home meet and learn more about our upcoming meet at Montana State go to the cross country page at www.utahutes.com and listen to my press conference.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Camping Utah Style







With preseason camp complete we are now looking forward to school starting and our first competition at Utah State on August 31st.  We had lots of fun running at camp, discussing goals, making homemade pasta, and making a few new animal friends.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Victory Lap!

Sorry for the lateness of this report.  In the final outdoor race of the 2013 Utah Track & Field season and the final race of her collegiate career, senior All American, Amanda Mergaert went out a winner.  The time (2:08) wasn't a PR and the field wasn't nearly as strong as it was two days earlier, but a win is a win.  The LaFarge High Performance meet in Abbotsford, BC, Canada was the second in a three meet series over five days in British Columbia.  Amanda took control of the race early and never looked back as the nearest competitor was three seconds back.

She called it her victory lap for what will go down as one of the greatest seasons by any individual in any sport in Utah school history.

A full recap of her stellar career will be posted soon at www.utahutes.com.  It will be a great retrospective of her development as a runner.  She'll be the first to tell you it wasn't always easy and came with a few rough patches.  However, she always accepted the challenges and looked forward to the opportunities that came her way.  Along the way she learned how to become a genuine and effective leader.  Most importantly, she learned she could do it her way and enjoy all of the success that her and her teammates enjoyed along the journey.

She recently signed a professional contract to run for Oiselle (pronounced Wa-Sell) during the 2014 season.  Check out www.oiselle.com to learn more about this unique and growing women's apparrel company.  

And finally...it's time for summer break.  I will be looking ahead to what we believe will be another outstanding cross country season for the Utes in 2014.  It will be a young squad with no seniors in the top five, but three of the five have NCAA championship experience on the track.  Check back her for more details and the season schedule soon!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Prize

It's something that caught her eye on her recruiting trip.  It's something that has been so temptingly close to happening.  Yet, it was a mark that was like Stockton to Malone and an NBA title...always a near miss.  The 800 meter school record is the mark that Amanda has been chasing her whole career.  Even when her premier event became the mile her sophomore it's something she has always coveted.

Finally..today...in her first international race...she took it down...and did so with authority.  Her lifetime best of 2:06.33 was accomplished in April on a breezy day after a tough 1500 the day before.  That left her .12 short of Lucy Yates's 2011 mark of 2:06.21.  At the Drake Relays she came up short by less than half a second again.   Then began a series of eight consecutive 1500 meter races to end the collegiate season.

Her patience and focus has paid off as today in Vancouver at one of Canada's most famous track meets (and on Canada Day to boot) she ran 2:04.73 to finish second in the 800m race.  She was just out leaned at the line by season line rival Rebecca Tracy (2:04.71) for the win.  Even 400m splits of 62 seconds including a furious move down the backstretch to get into contention made the difference.

Amanda's final race of the 2013 season will be another 800m run on Wednesday night in Abbotsford, BC at the Lafarge High Performance meet.