Still Perfect: The Lady Razorbacks dominated the 2006 Chile Pepper Field to remain perfect this fall at 66-0-0. In the largest field it will face all season, Arkansas placed five runners among the top 15 runners.
A Dominating Performance: The Lady Razorbacks were by far the dominant team at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival last Saturday. Arkansas placed five runners among the field’s top 14 to score 41 points in the team standings, outdistancing second place and #20 Duke by 92 points.
Largest Ever: Arkansas’ Chile Pepper victory is the largest margin of victory (92 points) by a collegiate women’s team in the history of the event. Prior to the 2006 race, Arkansas’ 57-point win at the 2002 Chile Pepper was the largest margin.
Upshaw Leads Again: If you had gone to the odds makers on who would lead the Lady Razorbacks at the Chile Pepper, you probably would have gotten numerous answers. Three different Lady’Backs had been the front runner in the opening three meets, but at the Chile Pepper freshman Brooke Upshaw was the leader for the second time in three meets.
16th: Brooke Upshaw’s run at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival of 20:25 is not a Lady Razorback record, but for her first 6,000-meter race of her career it is not a shabby result. To put the time in perspective, Arkansas tracks all 6,000-meter times under 21 minutes and Upshaw’s time ranks 16th in the UA record books. Only 10 Lady Razorbacks have run faster over 6,000 meters than Upshaw.
School Record: Brooke Upshaw’s fifth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival seta school record for single-meet victories at 344. She eclipsed the mark of Andreina Byrd who had 296 wins at the Great American in 2001.
Six Under 21: We mentioned that Brooke Upshaw’s Chile Pepper run was 16th all time and that Arkansas track all times under 21 minutes. Did you know that six Lady Razorbacks dipped under 21 minutes at the 2006 Chile Pepper? Behind Upshaw were Christine Kalmer, Denise Bargiachi, Dacia Barr, Danielle Parry and Miranda Walker. Their times are good for 20, 21, 27, 31 and 42 on the Lady Razorback all-time list.
The SEC Championships: The Lady Razorbacks enter the 2006 and 24th SEC Championships as a favorite thanks to their 4th-place national ranking but must exorcise the demons that have prevented them from winning the past three conference titles. Over the past two seasons, Arkansas has missed out on the conference title by a combined five points and hope to end Tennessee’s three-year strangle hold on the league championship.
Arkansas’ History: The Lady Razorbacks have had a rich history at the SEC Championships, winning 10 of the 15 contested since joining the league in the fall of 1991. Twice, Arkansas has rattled off a string of five consecutive titles and has never finished worse than third in any meet. The Lady Razorbacks also hold the record for lowest score by a title team when it scored a perfect 15 points at the 1999 championship.
Toughest Ever: The 2006 SEC Championships could be the toughest competition Arkansas has ever faced at the league championship as four teams enter the meet ranked in the top 20. Along with Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia are also ranked.
Last Time it Happened: Not to jinx the Lady Razorbacks in 2006, but the last time they entered a Southeastern Conference Championship with an undefeated record was 1997 and that year the Lady’Backs finished second to Florida.
Other Times: We should also point out that it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Lady Razorbacks in 2006. Arkansas has entered the SEC Championships undefeated four times since joining the league in 1991 and three of the four times walked away with the conference Championship.
Still Number Four: The Lady Razorback coaches feared that since they did not participate in the pre-national meet two weeks ago that their ranking may suffer, but in fact it was quite the opposite. Despite not traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., Arkansas’ dominating performance at the Chili Pepper Cross Country Festival brought it closer to the top three schools.
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.
SEC Championship Experience: Arkansas is young this fall, with seven freshmen and sophomores making up the majority of the roster, but that doesn’t mean it is inexperienced. All four of Arkansas’ sophomores competed at the SEC Championships last fall as well as one junior.
Returning All-SEC Runners: The Lady’Backs return a pair of all-SEC runners from 2005 in the form of Christine Kalmer (1st team) and Denise Bargiachi (2nd team). Kalmer was the fifth-place overall finisher in 2005 while Bargiachi took 12th overall.
Freshmen Step Up: Arkansas’ freshman class has been outstanding all season and the Lady Razorback coaches hope that carries over to the SEC Championships. In four meets this fall, Arkansas’ top three freshmen have been among the Lady’Backs top five in two races and among the top seven in all four.
Leaders: Not only have the Lady Razorbacks had their freshman class step up and contribute, both Brooke Upshaw and Danielle Parry have been Arkansas’ top runners in three of the four meets this fall. Upshaw was Arkansas’ number one runner at the Aztec Invite and Chili Pepper, while Parry led at the Bill Dellinger.
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 seemed to be the magic number. In three of her four meets this season, she has been the fourth-place overall finisher 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.
SEC Athlete of the Week: For Danielle Parry’s effort at the Bill Dellinger, she was named the SEC Athlete of the Week. She was Arkansas’ top finisher in the race and picked up her first conference honor. She was also the second Lady Razorback to earn SEC Athlete of the Week honors this fall along with sophomore Christine Kalmer.
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.
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.
SEC Athlete of the Week: Thanks to her win at the Arkansas Invitational, Christine Kalmer opened the 2006 season with SEC Athlete of the Week honors. The honor is the second of Kalmer’s career and goes with the one she received in 2005 for her finish at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
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.
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.