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Cross Country Fact Sheet #4 – The Griak Invite

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Cross Country Fact Sheet #4 – The Griak Invite

Small Squad: The Lady Razorbacks brought a small contingent to the Southern Stampede last weekend and responded with a second-place finish despite not running almost their entire first team. Redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk led the Lady’Backs with a 10th-place finish in what turned out to be an excellent competition for Arkansas’ young runners.
Pack Running Again: Without a true number one runner at the Southern Stampede, the Lady Razorbacks returned to the pack running philosophy and the strategy worked to perfection as Arkansas’ seven runners were all within one minute of each other and finished 10-13-16-19-21-22-30.
Redlarczyk Takes the Lead: Redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Southern Stampede marking the first time she has led a Lady Razorback contingent in her career. Sitting out the 2003 season because of a knee injury, Redlarczyk has returned to Fayetteville in fantastic shape and has looked superb for Arkansas in all three races she has competed in.
Second Fastest 5K: Tiffany Redlarczyk’s 17:44.85 at the Southern Stampede is the second fastest Lady Razorback cross country 5K this season and is just two seconds behind junior Penny Splichal’s performance at the Fayetteville Invitational to open the season.
Returning to Action: The Lady Razorbacks are returning their entire squad to action at the Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., this weekend. After a week off, senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush and juniors Laura Jakosky, Penny Splichal, and Shiloh Whiting return to the course.
The Competition: The competition at the Griak Invitational should be hot and heated for the Lady Razorbacks as several of the nation’s top teams converge on the twin cities. Aside from the 16th-ranked Lady Razorbacks, #2 Providence, #13 Columbia, #22 Arizona State, #26 Colorado State and #30 West Virginia are the other ranked teams. Teams receiving votes in the poll that are expected to be at the competition include Baylor, California and UC-Santa Barbara.
First Time: For the first time this season, the Lady Razorbacks will feature their entire roster. Scheduled to compete are Beth Fahey, Jessie Gordon, Laura Jakosky, Laura Kerr, Tiffany Redlarczyk, Alison (Zeinner) Rush, Sarah Saffa, Maureen Scott, Penny Splichal, Kristina Smith and Shiloh Whiting
The Land of 1,000 Lakes: The Lady Razorbacks are making their first-ever appearance in the land of 1,000 lakes this weekend at the Griak Invitational. Having competed around the area, Arkansas has never ventured into the state of Minnesota making the trip a memorable one for all parties.
The FinishLynx Poll: You have to credit the pollsters in the FinishLynx cross country poll. They were not dissuaded from Arkansas’ second-place finish at the Southern Stampede without its ‘A’ team. In fact, Arkansas finished second last week and moved up in the rankings from 18th to 16th and increased their point total from 165 to 194.

FinishLynx Cross Country Poll

Preseason 18th 165 pts.
Poll #1 16th 194 pts.

Rush Begins in Front: Similar to last season, senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush began the cross country season in fantastic shape and as a result was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Indiana State Invitational. Finishing fifth overall, Rush looked exceptional on the 5,000-meter course finishing in 17:51.74, to be one of just seven women to break the 18-minute mark.
Name Game: If you are confused, it’s Alison Rush, but it used to be Alison Zeinner. A few weeks before the fall, Alison was married and has adopted her husband’s name Rush.
What Sophomore Slump: It may be a little early to declare, but sophomore Kristina Smith is looking as good as she was as a freshman with her performances at the Fayetteville and Indiana State Invitationals. The Fayetteville meet saw her finish third overall and third on the Lady Razorback roster while Indiana State placed her 10th overall and once again third on Arkansas’ list of finishers. Smith moved up to second on Arkansas’ finishers list at the Southern Stampede at 13th overall in a very good time.
As Solid as they Come: When it comes to consistency on the cross country course, many find that it is hard, perhaps impossible to maintain considering the different courses and settings, but Kristina Smith has been able to give Arkansas all the consistency that it could want. A mainstay on Arkansas’ traveling roster as a freshman, Smith has been third in both of Arkansas’ 2004 races and should be on the Lady’Backs’ travel roster again.
Leading Returnee: She may not want to admit it, but junior Shiloh Whiting is Arkansas’ leading returnee this fall. The lone Lady Razorback to advance to the NCAA Championships last season, Whiting ended the 2004 season with the second highest winning percentage of any Lady Razorback and was at her best at the end crossing the finish line second and first for Arkansas at the SEC and NCAA South Central Region Championships.
Slow Start, Great Finish: While we could be talking about the way Shiloh Whiting approaches her races, this references the way she competed last season. Arkansas’ sixth runner at the Fayetteville Invitational in 2003, Whiting remained at the six position until she had a breakthrough at the SEC meet.
All-SEC and All-Region: Shiloh Whiting earned her second all conference honor last season when she finished 13th at the SEC Championships, then picked up an all-region honor with her fifth-place finish at the regional. The only other Lady’Back to pick up both honors in 2003 was Laura Jakosky.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were tabbed to finish second in the Southeastern Conference’s annual preseason coaches’ poll which was distributed on Monday, Aug. 30. The Lady’Backs earned three of the 10 first-place votes awarded and totaled 90 points. Tennessee led the way with five first-place votes and 94 points.
First Time Since: Arkansas’ second-place projection in the SEC Coaches’ Poll is the first time since 1997 in which they have not been pegged as the conference champion. In that season, Florida was the top pick by the coaches.



Sports Category : Cross Country (W)