ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 24th-ranked Utah cross country team was just short of defending its title in the Women’s Gold 6k race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Friday, finishing in second with 64 points behind a trio of top-10 finishers in Anna Peters, McKaylie Caesar and Morgan Jensen at the Les Bolstad Golf Course.
“Outstanding effort by our women today,” said head coach Kyle Kepler. “They put themselves in the race early and never backed down against some very good teams with more experience racing together. We’ll get recovered and then continue to train well moving forward.”
Utah’s 64 points was just one point shy of tying No. 22 California Baptist for first while it had a 32 point advantage over No. 29 Colorado State who came in third.
Living up to her Gatorade Player of the Year honors, Peters led the Women of Utah from start to finish on Friday and placed third-overall with a mark of 20:49.0 in her first collegiate 6k race. Caesar, a grad transfer from Cal State Fullerton, moved into the top-5 with 1000m left to go behind Peters and finished with a mark of 20:59.7 for fifth-overall in her Utah debut while also picking up her ninth-career top-10 finish.
Like Caesar, Jensen waited for her time and moved into the top-10 at the 5k mark as well to finish with a time of 21:14.8 for ninth-overall – her first-career top-10 finish. Grad transfer Clara Mayfield, who had an illustrious career at the DIII level, made her Division I and Utah debut with a 12th-place finish (21:32.7). The Manhattan, Kan., product was in 22nd at the 3k checkmark and picked up the pace by the time she hit the 5k marker before finishing 12th-overall. Karli Branch closed out the scoring five for Utah, finishing 35th overall with a time of 22:03.3.
The Women of Utah will get just under three weeks of rest and recovery to prepare for their next meet in Verona, Wisc., for the annual Nuttycombe Invitational on Friday, Oct. 13.
ROY GRIAK INVITATIONAL
Les Bolstad Golf Course • St. Paul, MN
2nd / 17 • 64 Points
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