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Robison leads pack at season opener

Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Diane Robison of the No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team crossed the finish line in 14:39.5 to win the Razorback Invitational and lead a group of teammates to a win Thursday in the season-opening meet at Agri Park in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks swept the top four spots in Thursday’s race.

“I feel good,” Robison said of her victory. “I went out there and did the best I could and had a lot of fun. I think our team is going to be really strong this year and today was a great start to the season.”

Robison, a Chesterfield, Mo., native used a strong finish down the final stretch to overtake teammate Shannon Klenke for the top position. The win is the first of Robison’s career and comes after a long recovery from injuries. Klenke was a close second at 14:39.6, and was followed by sophomore Paige Johnston (14:43.5) and junior Keri Wood (14:43.6), respectively.

“It was a strong first meet for us,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We held out some real key individuals that are in incredible shape that will be our leaders up front for the duration of the season, so this meet gave a chance to some of our athletes who don’t always get a chance to be leaders, to get into the spotlight and also show some of our depth to see that they need to contribute. The marks were surprisingly fast considering the weather. We will gather everybody up and head to California next week with our front runners and see what happens.”

The Razorbacks finished with six runners in the top ten including the first four to cross the finish line. Behind Arkansas’ top four came junior Rachel Carpino in seventh place (14:56.5) and sophomore Jessica Jackson in eighth place (14:58.4).

Kaitlyn Belisle was the top runner for Missouri Southern, navigating the 4K course in a time of 14:55.3, good for sixth place for the Lions. Arkansas is back on the course Sept. 8, when the team travels to Irvine, Calif., for the adidas/UCI Invitational. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

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