Around the Hill Update

Pac-12 championships and personal bests were on the line for Utah sports teams this past weekend. - George Frey

Several University of Utah sports competed in Pac-12 championships this past weekend. Men's golf, and men's and women's tennis matched up in the post season, while track and field and baseball and softball kept chugging along in their spring seasons.

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team spent a three-day weekend in Marana, Ariz. at the Pac-12 Championships. Benjamin Bankhead had the best round overall for the Utes. Other top performers were Casey Halliday, who shot a 77 on Friday and Sunday. Jonathon Thomas and Brent Pollock both finished the tournament scoring in the 80's in the final round to take third and fourth for the Utah. Jack Maerki with a 7-over 79 and Daniel Engle finished the tournament with a 6-over 78.

The men finished the weekend with a 12th place finish. No. 3-ranked Stanford won both the individual and team title. Washington came in second.

Tennis

Men’s and women’s tennis also spent the week at their Pac-12 Championships, held in Ojai, Calif. The men’s team got off to a roaring start Wednesday in the first round of the competition by sweeping Arizona 4-0.

"We competed very well from the start until the finish on every court today," said assistant coach Roeland Brateanu. "We did a good job jumping Arizona in doubles and carried the momentum into singles."

The Utes, who were 57th in the country could not sustain their winning streak the next day, losing to third-seeded California, 4-0 on Thursday.

The Utes head to NCAA Regionals in two weeks, May 9-10.

The Utah women’s tennis team also performed well at the Pac-12 Championships with players in both the championship and invitational tournaments.

In singles action, the Utes had three players in the championship tournament: Callie Craig, Sarah Pham and Tereza Bekerova, and the rest: Luisa Gerstner Da Rosa, Paige Miles and Sarah Richter in the invitational tournament.

Bekerova and Richter both advanced to their round of 16 in the championship tournament, following afternoon victories. Bekerova beat Carla Manzi Tenorio of Colorado (6-0, 6-3), then lost to the No. 6-seed, Zoe Scandalis of USC (6-4, 6-4). Richter beat Laura Oldham of Arizona (6-3, 2-6, 6-4), and then fell to No. 7-seeded Gabriella DeSimone of USC (6-0, 6-3). Pham came close to advancing before falling in a third-set tiebreaker to Lauren Marker of Arizona (6-3, 4-6; 7-6(5)). Callie Craig was beaten by Kaitlyn Christian of USC (6-4, 6-1) in the day's first match. Christian ended up winning the doubles championship with her partner Guiliana Olmos. Paige Miles lost to the No. 5 seed, Klara Fabikova of Cal (6-4, 6-1) in the invitational competition, and Da Rosa was beaten by Ebony Panoho (7-5, 6-2).

In doubles play, the Utes had two doubles teams perform well in the Pac-12 in the invitational tournament. Utah improved to 2-1 in the round of 16 with the No. 2 seeded team of Da Rosa and Richter beating Lena Macomson and Maja Salibasic of Oregon (8-2) to reach the quarterfinals. Richter and Da Rosa advanced to the semifinals beating Arizona's duo of Akilah James and Susan McRann (8-4). The No. 1 seeded Callie Craig and Sarah Pham lost to USC's Gabriella DeSimone and Zoe Katz (8-6) in the first match of the doubles competition. The duo of Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles, who were the only Utes doubles team in the championship tournament, shocked No. 2-seed Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr of Cal (8-6) in the round of 16. They later fell to ultimate champions Christian and Olmos of USC (8-1). Gerstner and Da Rose lost on Saturday morning to the No. 3-seeded pairing of Brynn Boren and Zoe Scandalis of USC.

Women’s Track

The University of Utah women’s track and field team split their team and their time this week sending some athletes to the Drake Relays in Iowa and the rest to the BYU Robison Invitational. The women were able to make their mark at both events with many top ten finishes and records broken.

The Drake Relays is one of most well-known track meets in the country and attracts some of the best athletes in the country. On Thursday, the Utes started off on the right foot against these top athletes, finishing fifth in the 4 x 1600-meter relay. The team, comprised of Nikki Rietz, Andrea Chavez, Rebekah Winterton and Susannah Hurst turned in a time of 19:49.43.

At the BYU Invitational, junior Suzie Vozarova competed in the heptathlon. Her finishes on the day included, a ninth place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Clearing a mark of 5 feet, 2.50 inches to earn second in the high jump. A throw of 31 feet, 6 inches in the shot put, second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.43 seconds, and a long jump measuring 15 feet, 3.75 inches. Those numbers earned her tenth overall with a score of 4,283.

The Utes had another successful day at the Drake Relays on Friday recording several solid performances. Rosalie Walker set a new school record in the 800-meter race, where senior Rosalie Waller recorded a new school record with a time of 2:04.71 and a third place finish. Junior Ali Eisenbeiss also finished in the top-five setting a personal best time of 2:05.84 and a finish fifth overall.

Friday was also a record-setting day at the BYU Robison Invitational in Provo. Hammer thrower Aoife Hickey threw a season-best of199 feet, 8.75 inches. Ilse Kaaja finished third overall with a throw of 193 feet, 6.75 inches. Junior Lauren Mills won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:15.58. Jessica Sams also finished in the top ten with an eighth-place finish and a time of 18:53.89. Senior Theresa Waybright recorded a new lifetime best, clearing 12 feet, 6.5 inches. True freshman Christine Van Brocklin recorded a personal record of 14.75 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles that gave her a ninth-place finish. She took ninth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02.85.

On Saturday, Utah capped off a successful weekend at the Drake Relays with strong finishes in the medley races. The sprint medley relay team, made up of Alissa Atisme, Rhianna Williams, Ali Eisenbeiss, and Rosalie Waller finished with a time of 3:53.61 to finish first in their heat and sixth overall.

In the distance medley, Nikki Rietz, Grace Englund, Andrea Chavez, and Susannah Hurst finished 11th overall with a time of 11:467.85. Hurst, who anchored the medley, and finished her 1600-meter leg with a time of 4:53.

"Another great weekend," head coach Kyle Kepler said. "It was great to get some experience at a big-time meet like the Drake Relays."

The Utes did not compete on Sunday at the BYU Robison Invitational, due to bad weather.

Next up, the Utes will head to the Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas on May 3.

Baseball

It was an interesting weekend in Utes baseball action as they played their last non-conference series hosting Nevada. The Utes sandwiched a rained-out game between a convincing win Friday and a decisive loss Sunday.

Friday’s 12-0 win against Nevada gave Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg his 500th career victory. The Utes season-high 12 runs came on four runs in the third inning, three in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three runs in the sixth for the victory. Konner Armijo had his first homer of the season in the fifth inning to put the Utes up 9-0. A three-run inning in the sixth followed with an RBI triple from TJ Bennett, his second on the year.

Mitch Watrous pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts, and allowed two hits with three walks. Hunter Rodriguez came in to close the game, allowing allowed three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Rainy weather cancelled Saturday’s game and Utah then fell to Nevada, 11-1, on Sunday afternoon. The bulk of Nevada’s scoring came in the fifth and eighth innings where they grabbed four runs in each inning apiece. Utah only had three hits coming from Konnor Armijo ,Cory Hunt and Cody Scaggari . The Utes used seven pitchers in the game, including starter Zach Adams, then Dalton Carroll, Tanner Banks, Bret Helton, Dylan Drachler, Josh Chapman and Nick Green.

Utah will host Washington for a three-game series, May 2-4.

Softball

Utah's softball team was on the road where they went 0-3 on the weekend against No. 9 Arizona in the Pac-12 Conference series opener.

The Utes, who are 23-22 on the season and 5-13 in Pac-12 play, struggled against the Wildcats, on Friday losing 7-1. Utah’s freshman right-hander Sammy Cordova allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in six innings during her fifth complete game of the year.

The Utes lost again Saturday 11-7. Freshman shortstop Anissa Urtez went 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. She also improved her team-high RBI total to 45. She is tied for a team-high six home runs on the season. Relief pitcher, Junior Mariah Ramirez, threw four innings giving up five earned runs on 11 hits with a strikeout and walk. Sophomore Kayce Nieto got the start in this game. Utah closed out the series with another loss to Arizona 8-3. They received three hits from three different players, but continued to struggle to contain the Wildcats defensively. They did, however on the mound, Cordova allowed eight runs on 10 hits in six innings.

Despite the losses, the Utes turned three double plays in the weekend series to add to their nation-leading double-play total of 40 on the season.

The Utes will finish their Pac-12 regular-season schedule with a three-game series against California at home. The first game will be Thursday, May 1 at 7 p.m. MT. the games will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Teri Goldberg on the call.

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