– Fielding a lineup featuring its younger runners, the No. 9 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team ran to a second-place finish Saturday at the First to the Finish Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo. The Razorbacks were paced by a third-place performance from sophomore Jessica Jackson
. Overall, the team placed three of its runners inside the top 10.
“We ran in some tough conditions today with all the rain,” head coach Lance Harter
said. “There was a point where the runners were shin deep in water. Despite all that, I thought we ran well today with some of our younger runners getting the opportunity to run up front and lead the team.”
Jackson was Arkansas’ top runner in Saturday race with a 5K time of 17:35.74, good for third place overall. She was followed was junior Rachel Carpino
in eighth place and freshman Valerie Reina
in ninth. Carpino crossed the finish line in 17:56.10, while Reina posted a time of 18:00.23 in the second race of her collegiate career.
Fellow freshman Kelsey Wheelhouse
was the fourth runner in the lineup and finished in 25th place. She ran to a time of 18:27.45. The top five was rounded out by junior transfer Codi Fritchie in her first race wearing the Razorback jersey. She finished with a time 18:58.08 and a 42nd-place overall finish.
In a show of the team’s depth, Jackson, Carpino, Reina and Wheelhouse occupied the team’s final four spots—places nine through 12—last weekend at the adidas/UCI Invitational in Irvine, Calif. Arkansas finished Saturday’s race with 72 team points, behind event winner Tulsa.
The Razorbacks will take next weekend off to prepare for the Greater Louisville Classic, the team’s next schedule competition set for Sept. 29. The race will serve as a preview of the course for the NCAA Championship which will be contest Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.