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Utah seeks to better 10th place finish at this year's Pac-12 track championships
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Following a 10-place finish last year in its first Pac-12 Conference Championships, Amanda Mergaert leads a senior-laden Utah women's track and field team Friday and Saturday at Loker Stadium on the campus of USC.

Competition begins both days at 11 a.m. (MDT).

The Utes return this season with 12 seniors, including Mergaert, a 2013 indoor All-American.

"Championship time is upon us," Utah coach Kyle Kepler said. "With a veteran team there is not a lot of rah-rah that needs to be said. They understand that this meet is a monster and that they will have to compete at their highest capabilities to obtain the success they are seeking. That is part of the transformation of our program...understanding what it means to compete against the best and having expectations to win events, score points and make finals. Last year we were able to find some success in a few events. This year we want to continue to build on that experience and score where we can. We also hope to add a few more NCAA preliminary qualifiers this weekend as well."

Throws and jumps athletes will compete in trial and final rounds in the hammer throw, long jump, high jump, javelin and shot put during the first day of action. Aoife Hickey in the hammer throw and Destanae Howerton-Davis in the shot and discus will look to gain points for Utah.

In the distance events, Mergaert will lead the way for the Utes, while the hurdles will feature senior Stephanie Jolley.

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