SEC Champions: The Lady Razorbacks won their second consecutive and 12th overall Southeastern Conference Championship in their last competition two weeks ago. Arkansas did so in convincing fashion as they scored 39 points to easily outdistance the field in Lexington, Ky. Three Lady Razorbacks earned first-team all-SEC honors while a fourth took second-team honors. Two Lady Razorbacks were named to the newly formed all-freshman team.
First of Three: The Lady Razorbacks took their first step to accomplishing their three goals on the year at the SEC Championships, win the conference title. Arkansas’ next objective is to qualify for the NCAA Championships and its long term goal is to take home a trophy from the NCAA meet.
Gatekeeper to the Championships: The NCAA South Central Regional is one of nine gateways to the NCAA Championships in two weeks. All teams wishing to compete at the NCAA meet must qualify through one of the regional meets or receive an at-large selection based on their body of work through the year. To qualify out of the regional, teams must finish among the top two teams.
Arkansas’ Chances: The chances for Arkansas to qualify for the NCAA Championships are quite good when you look at the field. The Lady Razorbacks enter the meet as the top seed (10th) and are one of just two ranked teams in the 23-team lineup (#16 Rice).
Last Season at the Regional: The Lady Razorbacks were dominant at the 2006 NCAA South Central Regional held in Waco, Texas. Arkansas scored 30 points on its way to a 53-point victory, one of its largest in school history. Five Lady Razorbacks finished among the top nine runners overall and all seven Lady Razorbacks were among the race’s top 13. Christine Kalmer led the way for the Lady’Backs with a fourth-place finish.
All-SEC: Four Lady Razorbacks were named all-SEC at the conference championships on Oct. 27. Three Lady Razorbacks (Denise Bargiachi, Christine Kalmer and Jillian Rosen) were named first-team while one (Dani Parry) was named second team.
All-Freshman Team: For the first time the SEC named an all-Freshman team at the SEC Championships and both Lady Razorback first-year runners were recognized on the inaugural team. Jillian Rosen was named to the freshman and first teams while Catherine White picked up the freshman team honor.
Back to the Front: Christine Kalmer has been a go-to-runner for the Lady Razorbacks ever since she set foot on campus in the fall of 2005. Her run at the SEC Championships solidified that standing once again as she finished as the conference runner-up. Kalmer’s finish is her best ever and improves upon already lofty finishes of fifth and third as a freshman and sophomore, respectively.
Twice This Season, Eighth Overall: Christine Kalmer’s finish atop the Lady Razorback roster at the SEC Championships is the second time this season she has led Arkansas and the eighth time in her career. She has been Arkansas’ front runner in eight of 19 career races or 42% of her competitions.
Peeking at the Right Moment: One thing that Lance Harter was worried about for all his runners this fall was that they would be peaking too early. To counter that he changed their training schedule to be best prepared for the SEC, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championships. Based on Christine Kalmer’s performance at the SEC meet, it seems that Harter’s plan is working to perfection.
Third First-Team Honor: With her runner-up finish at the SEC Championships, Christine Kalmer earned her third first-team all-SEC honor. She is in rare company as very few athletes can say they have accomplished the task. In fact only six Lady Razorbacks have ever accomplished the task with the last being Christin Wurth between 1999 and 2002.
The Latest Rankings: After dropping from as high as fourth to 13th in the NSCAA Coaches Poll, the Lady Razorbacks moved back up to 10th in the latest rankings released on Oct. 30. The upward movement was due in large part to Arkansas’ impressive win at the SEC Championships.
Tops in the Region: The Lady Razorbacks rank 10th in the nation and continue to rank first in the South Central Region. Arkansas has held the number one position since the beginning of the year and has not been ranked otherwise in more than two seasons.
Welcome Back: It was a welcome sight to see Arkansas junior Dacia Barr line up for the SEC Championships. Barr has been out all season due to knee surgery she had over the summer and is just getting into competitive shape. Barr was Arkansas’ number two runner in 2006 and debuted at the SEC Championships with a 16th-place finish and as Arkansas’ fifth runner.
Continuing Improvement: One thing that Lance Harter knew about Dacia Barr going into the SEC meet is that while she is 100% fit from a medical perspective, she is not 100% from a racing standpoint. With one race under her belt, look for Barr to show the most improvement at the NCAA Regional.
Three Years Running: Freshman Jillian Rosen was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year following the conference championship race. She is the third Lady Razorback in as many years to be given the award which goes to the top first-year runner in the league. The previous Lady’Backs to earn the award in Arkansas’ current streak were Christine Kalmer (2005) and Dani Parry (2006).
A Tremendous Year: To say that Jillian Rosen is having a great season would probably be a disservice to what she has accomplished. Rosen has been Arkansas’ number one runner once, its number two runner three times and among the top five in another race. She has certainly been a pleasant surprise for the Arkansas coaching staff and is second on the team with a .939 winning percentage.
SEC Athlete of the Week: For her part in Arkansas’ second-place finish at the Bill Dellinger Invitational, Jillian Rosen was named the Southeastern Conference’s Female Freshman of the Week. Rosen finished second among Lady Razorback runners with a time of 20:38 for 6,000 meters. Her time was tied for the 30th best in Lady Razorback history, an accomplished feat when you consider the lineage of Arkansas cross country and the fact that it was her first ever 6K.
Coach of the Year: While on the topic of Southeastern Conference honors, Arkansas head coach Lance Harter was named the SEC’s Coach of the Year. The award is Harter’s second in as many years and the 12th of his cross country coaching career at Arkansas.
Bargiachi’s Emergence: Denise Bargiachi has been a consistent runner for the Lady Razorbacks for two seasons and beginning to come into her own this fall. A competitor at the NCAA Championships in the 10,000-meter run last spring, Bargiachi is quickly making a name for herself in cross country this fall as one of Arkansas’ top runners.
First Top Finish: Denise Bargiachi’s career has been one where she has been counted on to score, but never to lead, but the junior took that role at the Chile Pepper when she was Arkansas’ top finisher. Bargiachi finished eighth overall at the meet and took her first top finish as a Lady’Back in cross country.
Leading the Team: Denise Bargiachi has been nothing less than consistent throughout the 2007 season. That consistency has allowed her to amass Arkansas’ best individual winning percentage at .947. She is 680-38 during the 2007 season and has not finished worse than 15th in any single competition.
SEC Freshman of the Week: Fresh off her victory at the Fayetteville Invitational, Catherine White was named the SEC Freshman of the Week by the league office on Tuesday. White won her first collegiate competition at the Fayetteville Invitational and takes her first freshman of the week honor.
First Time: For the first time the Southeastern Conference is naming a freshman of the week in cross country. Catherine White’s appointment makes her the first in SEC and Arkansas history to win the weekly award.