FAYETTEVILLE – The fifth-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team continues its season with the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Agri Park Cross Country Course in Fayetteville.
The Chile Pepper has been a tradition in Northwest Arkansas since 1992 and the Lady Razorbacks have been a huge part of that with 11 victories in 15 races. Four Lady Razorback individuals have won the competition five times and the 2007 race should be as competitive as ever as 41 teams descend on Fayetteville for the competition.
“This is the final tune up before the championship season,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “It’s nice to be back home for a great event that has an even better cause. The money generated from this weekend goes back to the kids in the area.”
Last fall, Arkansas won its first Chile Pepper competition since the 2002 season when it placed five runners among the top 13 overall. Six Lady Razorbacks dipped under the 21-minute mark for 6,000 meters, the benchmark for the distance and the team won the event going away with a 92-point victory over four other ranked teams. Four of Arkansas’ top six runners from 2006 return to the competition on Saturday including juniors Christine Kalmer and Denise Bargiachi and sophomores Dani Parry and Miranda Walker. Those runners along with freshmen Jillian Rosen and Catherine White should make Arkansas a formidable team.
Some of Arkansas stiffest competition could come from 19th-ranked Virginia Tech or #24 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders return the defending race champion and NCAA cross country champion Sally Kipyego. Kipyego was the runaway champion at last fall’s competition and with running mate Irene Kimaiyo, could challenge for the team title.
For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.