FAYETTEVILLE – Split between two meets, the No. 25 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team competed Saturday morning at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., and the 22nd Annual Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville. At the 6K event in Indiana, the Razorbacks had a 17th-place finish among the nation’s elite. In Fayetteville, Arkansas’ all-freshman group posted a 10th place team finish.
"We’re licking our wounds a little bit but we know how to fix them," head coach Lance Harter said. "We came into (the Pre-National Invitational) with some heavy legs but in this kind of race against this type of competition, you have little room for error. Individually, Kristen Gillespie continues to run really well for us."
Gillespie was Arkansas’ top finisher in Saturday’s blue-division race on the LaVern Gibson Course in Terre Haute. She paced the team with a 41st-place overall finish in a time of 21:05.5 Miranda Walker posted a time of 21:22.7, good for a 62nd-place overall finish. The Razorback duo has finished 1-2 in the team’s lineup in four races this season.
Arkansas’ third finisher was Samantha Learch who crossed the line in a time of 21:40.9 and finished 102nd overall. Cali George (134th overall) and Jillian Rosen (154th) rounded out the Razorbacks’ top-five lineup with times of 21:57.9 and 22:07.3, respectively. The final runner for Arkansas was Stephanie Brown (181st) in a time of 22:24.0.
At Chile Pepper, Natanya Luther turned in a top-finisher result for the Razorbacks with a clocking of 17:44.91 and a 40th-place overall finish. Luther’s time is a season-best effort. It was her third race of the 2010 season.
"Saturday’s result is big for Natanya as the leader of our team at Chile Pepper," Harter said. "She was our fifth runner at Notre Dame (Oct. 1) so to have her back with the group that we ran in Indiana is a good thing for us as we look toward the SEC Championship."
She was followed by Grace Heymsfield who was 61st overall and crossed the line in a time of 18:00.85. Arkansas’ third and fourth runners finished together as Ashely Isham (91st overall, 18:17.72) and Paige Johnston (92nd, 18:18.57) crossed next to each other. Rachel Carpino (168th, 18:56.59) was the fifth and final scorer for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas will be away from the competition field for the next two weeks as it prepares for the Nov. 1 Southeastern Conference Championship meet. The women’s 6K race will take on Hilton Field at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. For more information about Razorback cross country, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.