Kepler returns to his home state for outdoor championships

Webster City native and Utah head women’s track and field coach Kyle Kepler (left) sits with Utes’ runner Grayson Murphy inside Drake Stadium in Des Moines during the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships on Sunday. Submitted photo

WEBSTER CITY — Webster City native Kyle Kepler returned to his home state this past weekend and he brought one of his standout athletes with him.

And both returned to Utah will plenty to smile about.

Kepler, the head women’s track and field and cross country coach at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, was at Drake Stadium in Des Moines to watch Utes’ junior Grayson Murphy compete in the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships. His coaching paid off, as Murphy finished seventh in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase on the blue oval.

The steeplechase is an event that consists of 28 barriers and seven water jumps over the 3,000 meters. Murphy finished the final in 9:54.16.

Kepler, a state track champion as a prep and a member of the Webster City High School Hall of Fame, is in his 13th year at Utah. He’s coached five athletes to All-American status and guided the Utes’ cross country team to two invitations to the NCAA Championships.

Prior to his move out west, Kepler spent seven years at UNI where he eventually became the men’s and women’s head cross country coach.

Kepler ran track and cross country collegiately at UNI and was a team captain during the 1997-98 school year. He was a member of five Missouri Valley Conference championship teams and was an all-conference award winner on nine occasions.