SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Freshman Brooke Upshaw and the eighth-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team made it two straight Aztec Invitational championships on Saturday with a 40-point victory at the San Diego State hosted meet in San Diego, Calif.
The Lady Razorbacks dominated the field from the start and crossed the finish with eight runners in the top 10. Upshaw finished second overall and was trailed closely by sophomore Denise Bargiachi, freshmen Danielle Parry and Miranda Walker, and sophomores Dacia Barr and Christine Kalmer.
“In spite of our team’s classification and the fact that their workload has not backed off since we began training, they really got after it and dominated the race,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We haven’t done much race preparation at all since we got started so this is a good sign. I knew that we were a talented team and that our freshmen came in with quality times, but what has become obvious over the past two weeks is their toughness. None of them run with any fear.”
The Lady Razorbacks as a team tallied 20 points, easily outdistancing the field. Long Beach State was a distant second at 60 followed by Loyola Marymount (80), Cal State-Fullerton (129) and the hosts San Diego State (139).
Upshaw was one of the Lady’Backs top five runners at the Fayetteville Invitational, but surprised everyone in attendance with her speed and stamina over 5,000 meters on Saturday. In 2005, former Northern Arizona superstar and national champion Johanna Nilsson won the Aztec in commanding fashion with a time of 17:29. Upshaw completed her second collegiate cross country race on the same course in 17:28, just nine seconds behind Loyola Marymount’s Lauren Mickelson who was an NCAA Championships participant in outdoor track last spring.
“Brooke’s time is one of the fastest that I can remember on this course,” Harter said. “The course record was set in 1984 by an Olympian who ran 16:50.”
It was a race of personal bests for the Lady Razorbacks. Bargiachi shattered her career best over 5,000 meters by more than 30 seconds and recorded her best individual finish at third. Parry and Walker notched personal bests with their races and redshirt freshman Erin Gray also tabbed a personal best and career best finish.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next weekend when they travel to their largest meet of the young season, the Oregon Invitational in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Sept. 22. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.