Here We Go: The Lady Razorbacks are back on the course for the 2007 season on Friday night when they run at the annual Fayetteville Invitational at the Agri Park Cross Country Course.
Season Openers: The Lady Razorbacks have been extremely successful in season opening contests over the years, winning 19 of the 29 competitions.
17 Straight: The Lady Razorbacks are currently on a streak of 17 straight season openers won dating back to the 1990 season. During that time, the Lady Razorbacks have won six different competitions.
Last Year at the Fayetteville Invite: It was a dominating performance by the Lady Razorbacks at the Fayetteville Invitational a year ago. Hosting Missouri State and Missouri Southern, Arkansas finished 1-7 to grab the top spot with a perfect score of 15. Missouri State finished a distant second with 55 points followed by Missouri Southern, 72. Christine Kalmer was the Lady’Backs top finisher for the second straight year.
A Perfect Beginning: The Lady Razorbacks have scored 15 points in three of the last four Fayetteville Invitationals and in that fourth year scored 16. The starts were perfect or near perfect scores in cross country which counts the first five runners to cross the finish line (1+2+3+4+5=15).
Three for Three: That is certainly the goal, but if she doesn’t get it, no big deal as long as Arkansas wins. Christine Kalmer is the two-time defending champion of the Fayetteville Invitational and is looking to make it three straight in 2007.
SEC Athlete of the Week: In each of the past two seasons, Christine Kalmer has been named the SEC Athlete of the Week following her victory at the Fayetteville Invitational.
Short Course: The Lady Razorbacks hope to ease into the 2007 season with a short course training run on Friday night. Rather than your championship distance 6,000-meter race, the Fayetteville Invitational will be a shorter 4,000-meter course that winds through the Agri Park Cross Country Course.
All Runners to the Line: In years past the Lady Razorbacks have backed off on the number of runners competing at the Fayetteville Invitational, but not this year. According to the Arkansas coaching staff, nearly its entire 14-person roster plans to toe the line for Friday night’s start.
First-Place Finishes: Aside from the NCAA Championships a year ago, the Lady Razorbacks ran off a streak of six straight first-place finishes. Taking away the Championships, that left four regular season first-place honors. The last time a Lady Razorback squad did not finish in first during the regular season was Oct. 15, 2005 when it finished second at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
Five Return: Of Arkansas’ top seven cross country runners from a year ago, five return to the course this fall including the junior trio of Christine Kalmer, Dacia Barr and Denise Bargiachi. Other top returnees include 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year Dani Parry and sophomore Miranda Walker.
SEC Freshman of the Year: Last fall, Dani Parry was so good for the Lady Razorbacks that she earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Parry was consistently a member of Arkansas’ top seven and one of its top four runners in four of seven races.
Third Freshman of the Year: Dani Parry’s SEC Freshman of the Year award is not new to a member of the Lady Razorbacks. Since the awards inception in 2001, three Lady Razorbacks have been bestowed its honor. Aside from Parry, Christine Kalmer (2005) and Penny Splichal (2001) have also earned the award.
National Poll: The 2007 Cross Country National Poll has yet to be released, but it should be out any day. Last season, Arkansas opened the rankings at number eight and finished at the NCAA Championships fifth. Along the way, the Lady’Backs climbed to as high as number two in the national rankings.
SEC Preseason Poll: In the annual SEC Preseason Poll the Lady Razorbacks were the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC title. Garnering all 11 of the first-place votes it could have received (Arkansas was not allowed to vote for itself), the Lady Razorbacks picked up the maximum 121 points. Tennessee, who received the only other first-place vote finished second with 105 points with Florida a close third at 102.