Take a glimpse at the great facilities and the people who make up the Utah cross country and track & field program.
Tag along with Jessica Sams to experience what a typical meet day is like for a Utah student-athlete.
Utah made its second straight appearance at the NCAA Championships and placed 20th for the program's all-time highest finish. The Utes were ranked in the top 25 the majority of the season and peaked at No. 17 headed into the Pac-12 Championships, where they equaled their program's best mark with a fifth-place finish.
Junior Grayson Murphy led the Utes at nationals by placing 53rd while junior Hannah McInturff came in 60th. Both were only a few seconds out of the top 40, which would have earned them All-America honors. Freshman Poppy Tank was Utah's No. 3 runner coming in 110th. Amanda Gehrich and Ashley Licata also scored for the Utes.
Murphy, McIntruff and Tank earned all-region honors as Utah placed fourth in a loaded NCAA Mountain Region field. A few weeks earlier, Muphy finished 12th at the Pac-12 Championships to earn second team all-league honors. Senior Giselle Slotboom placed 33rd at the Pac-12 Championships, while Gehrich and Tank were 39th and 40th, respectively.
Utah's track & field season was highlighted by a two-time All-American in the distance events and four NCAA Outdoor Regional Meet qualifiers.
Grayson Murphy earned All-America honors in both the 5,000 meters indoors and the 3,000-meter steeplechase outdoors. She also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regionals in the 5,000 meters.
Murphy was a first-team All-American during the outdoor season with a fifth-place finish in the steeplechase. She finished as a second-team All-American after placing 15th in the 5,000 indoors, rallying after being tripped in the middle of the race. She finished third at the Pac-12 Championships in the steeplechase and was third in the 5,000 at the MPSF Championships.
Murphy set Utah school records in the indoor (15:53.24) and outdoor (15:58.29) 5,000 meters, and the 3,000 steeplechase (9:53.04). She also ranks fourth all-time in the outdoor 10,000 meters (34:06.69) and is fifth in the indoor 3,000 meters (9:29.71).
Amanda Gehrich placed fifth in the 1,500 at the Pac-12 Championships and earned an invite to the NCAA Outdoor Regionals. She ranks third all-time at Utah in the indoor mile (4:47.45) and is sixth in the outdoor 1,500 (4:22.78).
Hannah McInturff recorded a personal-best time (9:24.52) to rank fourth in school history in the 3,000 meters indoors.
Ann Wingeleth finished fifth at the MPSF Championships and sixth at the Pac-12 Championships in the long jump. She also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regionals in that event. Wingeleth ranks second all-time at Utah in both the indoor (19'8.75") and outdoor (20'1.5") long jump.
Javelin thrower Chrissy Glasmann placed eighth at the Pac-12 Championships and qualified for NCAA Outdoor Regionals.
Holly Stallman recorded personal-best times in the outdoor 100 meters (12:20) to rank fourth in school history and the indoor 60 meters (7.84) to rank fifth.
Alissa Atisme returns in 2018 from a redshirt year. She holds the school records in the outdoor 100 and 200, and the indoor 55 and 200. Rhianna Williams, who holds the school record in the indoor 400 and ranked second in the indoor 200, also returns next year.
The distance medley relay team of McInturff, Grace Englund, Caitie Faust and Gehrich finished fourth at the MPSF Championships. The 4x100 relay team of Raynee Wheelock, Wingeleth, Madison Lanford and Stallman placed seventh at the Pac-12 Championships.
Kyle Kepler is in his 13th year as the head coach of the Utah women's cross country and track & field programs. Kepler's organization and attention to detail have allowed him to develop a solid foundation and create a competitive program that has steadily improved each year.
Kepler has coached five athletes to All-America honors at Utah. Ten athletes have combined for 16 appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Cross country qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team for the first time in 2015 and repeated that feat in 2016 with a 20th-place finish—setting a program-best mark. He has also sent individuals to the NCAA Cross Country Championships five times. The Utes have had 10 runners combine for 15 all-region honors while five have earned eight All-Pac-12 accolades in cross country.
During Utah's six years in the Mountain West Conference under Kepler, the Utes won nine individual outdoor conference titles and two indoor titles.
Kepler is in his 19th year coaching at the NCAA Division I level. Prior to coming to Utah, Kepler served as Northern Iowa's head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach for two seasons. He was on staff at UNI for a total of seven years, serving as an assistant cross country coach for five years prior to being named head coach in 2003.
Kepler is married to Hannah Vickery and the couple has a daughter Cora.
Mackenzie Wartenberger, the former head cross country and assistant track coach at Radford University, is in her fourth season working with Utah's distance runners. She helped Ute cross country qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team for the first time in 2015 and again in 2016, when it had a 20th-place finish. In 2017, she helped Grayson Murphy earn All-America honors in both the 5,000 meters indoors and the 3,000-meter steeplechase outdoors.
In two years at Radford, women's cross country placed third at the 2014 Big South Championships for its best finish since 1990. The men's squad finished fourth for its best placing since 2007. In track, the women's distance runners won six conference titles.
She was also an assistant distance coach at UNC Charlotte from 2009-13, coaching three NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifiers.
The North Carolina native is married to husband Marc.
Chad Colwell is in his first season as an assistant coach for the Utes, overseeing the sprints, hurdles, jumps and multi-event athletes.
Colwell previously served as assistant women's track and field coach at San Diego State. The Aztecs were ranked 16th in the final 2017 USTFCCA poll. While working at SDSU, Colwell was a volunteer assistant coach at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (formerly the Olympic Training Center), working with respected jumps coach Jeremy Fischer.
Colwell was an assistant coach at Portland (2013-16), head coach at St. Martin's (2012-13) and head coach at Great Falls (2011-12). While working towards his master's degree, Colwell was a two-year volunteer assistant at Duke University. He was also an assistant coach at Cal Poly Pomona (2007-08) and Eastern Oregon University (2004-06), where he earned his bachelor's degree.
Back-to-back appearances at the NCAA Championships. Utah qualified as a team for the first time in 2015 and returned to record their all-time best finish of 20th in 2016. The Utes have also placed fifth at past two Pac-12 Championships. Utah finished third at NCAA Regionals in 2015 and came in fourth in 2016.
Five individual NCAA qualifiers in the last nine seasons, all of them finishing in the top 90 at the NCAA Championships.
Utah has been ranked as high as 17th over the past two seasons, the highest ranking in school history.
Amanda Mergaert placed 14th at the 2012 NCAA Championships—the highest finish ever by a Ute—to earn All-America honors.
Five Utes have earned All-Pac-12 Conference honors since 2011, including Hannah McInturff (10th place in 2015) and Grayson Murphy (12th place in 2016).
Utah's first ever All-Pac-12 Conference honoree in any sport was Amanda Mergaert, who earned second-team honors in 2012.
41 athletes have posted 86 NCAA Outdoor preliminary qualifying marks and 10 athletes have advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships under Kyle Kepler. Utah's NCAA Regional Championships attendees increased from five in 2006 to as many as 10 in 2013. The Utes have also sent three athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships under Kepler.
Amanda Mergaert (2011-13, 1,500) and Chelsea Shapard (2007-09, 400 hurdles) were both three-time NCAA attendees. Mergaert finished third in the 1,500 at NCAAs as a senior in 2013. She was the 2011 USTFCCCA Mountain Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year.
In its first six years in the Pac-12 Conference, Utah had five podium finishes and 30 top-eight finishes at the outdoor championships.
Two Utes have won Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor track championships: Amanda Mergaert (Mile in 2012) and Rebekah Winterton (5000m in 2014).
Since 2010, Utah has had eight U.S. Junior National qualifiers and one U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier. Of the eight qualifiers for U.S. Junior Nationals, six have medaled (finishing in the top six).
Sarah Feeny was a bronze medalist at the 2015 Pan American Juniors and a silver medalist at the U.S. Juniors in the 1500 meters. In 2016, Chrissy Glasmann finished sixth in the javelin at U.S. Junior Championships.
Over the last eight years, Utah athletes recorded over 500 new all-time top-10 performances. Utah has set 18 outdoor and 15 indoor school records since 2006.
Kyle Kepler has coached five athletes to All-America honors at Utah.
Amanda Mergaert was a five-time All-American with her career culminating in first-team honors in cross country in 2012 and the indoor mile and the outdoor 1,500 in 2013.
Grayson Murphy was a two-time All-American in 2017 (indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase).
Langley Iverson (2011, indoor high jump), Brianna LeRoy (2012, outdoor high jump), and Rosalie Waller (2014, outdoor 800) have also earned All-America honors at Utah under Kepler.
Kyle Kepler's cross country teams have earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors 10 years while his track teams have been recognized six times. Ute athletes have combined for 44 individual honors from the USTFCCCA between track and cross country.
Lauren Endersen was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2008 and 2009, while Rosalie Waller was honored in 2014.
Since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011-12, the Utes have earned 56 all-academic cross country and 96 all-academic track accolades, in addition to 85 MPSF all-academic honors.
Two Pac-12 Post Graduate Scholarship honorees.