An Upset Weekend: The Lady Razorback cross country team went to the Bill Dellinger Invitational last weekend with ideas of an upset over teams like #5 Duke and #6 BYU and got just that as they dominated the field at the meet. Arkansas knocked off two higher-ranked squads and six nationally ranked teams on way to their meet title.
Third Straight Win: Arkansas’ victory at the Bill Dellinger Invitational was its third consecutive meet with a team title. The three-meet winning streak is Arkansas longest since 2002.
Three to Open: The last time Arkansas opened the season with three straight team titles was back in 1997 when it went undefeated all the way to the Southeastern Conference Championship.
Parry Leads: In Arkansas’ first two meets she was a significant contributor, now she is the leader. Freshman Danielle Parry led the Lady Razorback runners across the finish at the Bill Dellinger Invitational finishing fourth overall. The finish is the first time Parry was Arkansas’ top runner in her brief career.
Fours are Wild: For Danielle Parry, four is the magic number. In three meets this season, she has been the fourth-place overall finisher each time and has steadily moved up the Lady Razorback list of finishers with each competition. At the Fayetteville Invite her fourth-place finish was good for fourth on the team and her Aztec Invite finish was third on the team.
Second on the Team: Danielle Parry’s winning percentage of .959 is second on the squad to fellow freshman Brooke Upshaw who barely holds a lead with a percentage of .963.
Moving on Up: The Lady Razorbacks jumped four spots in the national poll following their huge win at the Bill Dellinger Invitational to number four nationally. The Lady’Backs also increased their point total in the poll by 52.
Highest Since: Arkansas’ fourth-place ranking is the highest it has been since the 1999 season when they spent the entire season ranked among the nation’s top three. That season, Arkansas finished as the NCAA runner-up.
What 1999 Had: Arkansas’ 1999 squad was composed of senior leadership, youth and determination. Leading the way was 15-time all-American Amy Yoder Begley with help from 12-time all-American Jessica Dailey, nine-time all-American Tracy Robertson, five-time all-American Lilli Kleinmann and four-time all-American Christin Wurth.
Maintaining: The third poll of the 2006 cross country season was released on Monday, Oct. 9 and the Lady Razorbacks maintained their fourth-place ranking despite not competing. In fact, the Lady Razorbacks actually increased their point total between week two and three by four points to sit at 344.
The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival: One of the mainstays of the collegiate cross country scene, the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival enters its 18th season this fall and welcomes its largest field of competitors ever. On the collegiate women’s side there are more than 40 teams scheduled to compete which could make the team scoring extremely tight when you consider the caliber of athlete that will be competing.
Last Season at the Chile Pepper: The Lady Razorbacks ran a good race at the 2005 Chile Pepper, but could not overtake a very strong Oklahoma State squad who upset the Lady’Backs and used the race as a springboard into the national top 10. Arkansas placed five runners among the top 20 in the competition to score 71 points, but was seven shy of the Cowgirls 64. Christine Kalmer was the top Lady’Back with a 10th-place overall finish followed by Dacia Barr, Jessie Gordon, Denise Bargiachi and Laura Jakosky.
Those in Attendance: The list of teams competing at the Chile Pepper is quite extensive. Here is a look at all the schools that have signed on.
Abilene Christian, Alabama, #4 Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas Tech, Austin Peay, Baker, #19 Baylor, California, Cal-Riverside, Centenary, Central Arkansas, #20 Duke, East Central, Eastern New Mexico, Florida Atlantic, Georgia St., Iowa St., James Madison, Kansas St., Lamar, Lehigh, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana St., Midwestern St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri-Kansas City, Nebraska, North Central College, North Texas, #15 Oklahoma St., Oral Roberts, Sam Houston, South Florida, Southeastern Oklahoma St., Southern Methodist, Southwestern Oklahoma St., Stephen F. Austin, Texas, Texas-Arlington, Texas-El Paso, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, #28 Texas Tech, Tulsa, Utah, #30 Virginia Tech, Wyoming
Championship Drought: The Lady Razorbacks are not accustomed to losing at home and quite frankly don’t like it. The last time a Lady Razorback team won the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival was in 2002.
Individual Champion: The last time a Lady Razorback won the Chile Pepper individual title was 2000 when Lilli Kleinmann won the first 6,000-meter women’s Chile Pepper course in 20:25.
Sophomores Rock: Arkansas’ sophomore class which is made up of a core group of four runners has been the foundation for the Lady Razorback success. SEC Freshman of the Year Christine Kalmer, Dacia Barr, Denise Bargiachi and Kelly Vrshek make up the group and at least three have finished among the top seven runners in each of Arkansas’ three team races.
Freshmen Roll: Now that they have officially gotten their feet wet, the achievements of Arkansas’ freshmen class must be noted. Between Danielle Parry, Brooke Upshaw and Miranda Walker, the trio has contributed in each Lady Razorback meet and is likely to be mainstays in the Arkansas lineup for years to come.
Two of Three: Arkansas’ freshmen have been so good this fall that one has been the top finisher for the Lady Razorbacks in two of Arkansas three team competitions. Brooke Upshaw was the second overall finisher and top Lady’Back at the Aztec Invitational, while Danielle Parry was fourth overall at the Bill Dellinger.
The SEC Coaches’ Poll: After several years away from the top spot in the conference, the Southeastern Conference coaches feel that the Lady Razorbacks are poised for greatness again. In the annual preseason coaches’ poll, the Lady Razorbacks were picked to finish first in the conference, barely edging Tennessee, the three-time reigning conference champion. Arkansas picked up seven of the 12 first-place votes cast for a total of 117 points. Tennessee was given the remaining first-place votes and was right behind Arkansas with 114 points. What could be a very good Georgia squad was third with 99 points.
21 Seconds: Arkansas head coach Lance Harter has said for years that if his team can run within 20 seconds of each other than they can be a formidable group. At the Aztec Invitational, the Lady’Backs put 21 seconds between their first and fifth runners.
17:28 for 5K: The Balboa Park cross country course isn’t impossible, but it isn’t easy either and to see Brooke Upshaw finish the race in 17:28 was an impressive sight for Arkansas’ coaches. To put her achievement into perspective, former NCAA Champion and multiple-time all-American Johanna Nilsson of Northern Arizona won the Aztec Invite in 2005 with a time of 17:29 and was well in front of the field.
Razorback Hall of Honor: A pair of Lady Razorbacks were inducted into the Razorback Hall of Honor last weekend marking the first time two people with women’s athletics ties have been enshrined in the same season. Former Lady’Back and 15-time all-American Amy Yoder Begley was voted on along with her former coach and current head coach Lance Harter. Both inductees received their plaques at halftime of the USC football game on Sept. 2 after an induction banquet on Friday, Sept. 1.
The SEC Freshman of the Year: Thanks to a tremendous season and a fifth-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships, Christine Kalmer was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in 2005. She became the second Lady Razorback to win the award since its inception in 2001.
A Legacy of Winning: Arkansas has long been known for its winning cross country program, but one little known fact is that the Lady Razorbacks have won their last 17 opening meets of the season and 19 of the last 23.