Another Close One: Had it not been for the 2004 SEC Women’s Cross Country Championship, the 2005 meet would have been the closest in SEC history. Arkansas placed seven runners among the top 20 and five in the top 18, but came up just short against the Tennessee Lady Vols (48-51). Freshman Christine Kalmer led the charge with a fifth-place overall finish followed by Penny Splichal, Laura Jakosky and Denise Bargiachi who each earned all-SEC honors.
Five Points: Over the past two seasons the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks have missed out on their 11th conference cross country title by a combined five points. In 2004 it was a two-point margin at Agri Park in Fayetteville and 2005 saw a three-point deficit for the Lady Razorbacks at Fort Jackson.
Next: Pushing the disappointment of the SEC meet away from their collective consciousness, the Lady Razorbacks now focus on the NCAA South Central Regional Championships. Contested at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas, several Lady Razorbacks are familiar with the course as it has been the host for the past two years.
Seeking the Regional Title: While Arkansas barely missed in claiming the SEC Championship for the first time since 2002, it now looks for a regional title which has also eluded Arkansas since 2002. The Lady Razorbacks duplicated its efforts from the SEC meet in its regional performance with a third-place finish in 2003 and a second-place finish in 2004.
Last Season at the Regional: The Lady Razorbacks had a good meet at the 2004 NCAA South Central Regional, but could not over come a formidable SMU squad that beat the Lady Razorbacks for the second time in head-to-head competition. Six Lady Razorbacks took all-region honors as they all placed in the top 19 led by then senior Alison Rush who finished the course in seventh place.
|The 2004 NCAA South Central Regional Cross Country ChampionshipSaturday, November 13, 2004Waco, Texas; Cottonwood Creek Golf Course6,000 meters; cold, rolling hills; 127 finishers|
|1.||#12 SMU (2-4-5-10-29)||50|
|2.||#18 Arkansas (7-8-13-16-17)||61|
|5.||Texas A&M (15-24-30-32-34)||135|
|7.||Stephen F. Austin (11-42-45-53-61)||212|
Top Individuals: The Lady Razorbacks have gone without a Regional title since the 2002 season and not coincidentally, have not placed a runner among the regions top three in that same time span. The last Lady Razorback to finish among the region’s top three runners was Londa Bevins in 2002 when she finished second overall.
Arkansas’ Top Finisher: Christine Kalmer was Arkansas’ top finisher at the SEC Championships when she crossed the finish line in fifth place overall. She was the highest finishing freshman and ran a career best for 6,000 meters with her time of 19:59.56.
Only the Fourth: Christine Kalmer’s SEC Championship time of 19:59.56 makes her just the fourth Lady Razorback in school history to break the 20-minute marker for 6,000 meters. Only former Lady’Backs Andreina Byrd and Christin Wurth and current teammate Penny Splichal had achieved the task before.
All-SEC: By virtue of her fifth-place finish at the SEC meet, Christine Kalmer earned her first first-team all-SEC honor. She now has a chance to become one of an elite group of runners to claim four such honors in her career.
SEC Athlete of the Week: Thanks to her 10th-place finish at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, true freshman Christine Kalmer was named the SEC Athlete of the Week. The honor is the first of Kalmer’s career and the first for a Lady Razorback in 2005.
Leading the charge: In four of five races freshman Christine Kalmer has led the charge for the Lady Razorbacks. Running against some of her senior teammates for the first time at the Aztec Invite, Kalmer cruised to a fourth-place overall finish in 17:59 making it her second consecutive sub 18-minute run.
Sub 21: Freshman Christine Kalmer completed the 6,000-meter Agri Park Cross Country course in 20:56.3, despite it being her first collegiate 6K race. She improved on that race with her 19:59.56 at the SEC Championships making Kalmer the fourth fastest Lady Razorback in Arkansas history.
Three Straight Sub 18s: Freshman Christine Kalmer is the only Lady Razorback to post three times under 18 minutes this season. Kalmer has been Arkansas’ number one runner twice and the number three runner once. Despite the placing, she has posted times of 17:10, 17:59 and 17:47.
First Since: Christine Kalmer’s victory at the Missouri Southern Dual makes her the first Lady Razorback since 2001 to win an event in her first collegiate competition. The last Lady Razorback to accomplish the task was current senior Penny Splichal who won the Fayetteville Invitational.
The National Poll: The FinishLynx/NCAA Women’s Cross Country Preseason Poll projected the Lady Razorbacks as the 17th best team in the nation. The ranking was just under Arkansas’ NCAA finish of a year ago (16th) and Arkansas head coach Lance Harter felt it was a fair ranking at the time. The release of the first poll moved Arkansas up one spot to 16 and after a pair of victories and a solid showing at Notre Dame; the Lady Razorbacks moved all the way to 10th. The Chile Pepper loss had a huge affect on Arkansas’ ranking as they fell five spots back to where they started, 17th.
|Arkansas in the Poll|
|Preseason||17th, 180 pts.||1st|
|Week One||13th, 234 pts.||1st|
|Week Two||10th, 257 pts.||1st|
|Week Three||12th, 241 pts.||1st|
|Week Four||17th, 181 pts.||1st|
Top 10: Arkansas’ 10th-place ranking in the second FinishLynx/NCAA Cross Country Poll was its first top 10 ranking since the final poll of the 2002 season. In that ranking, Arkansas was eighth on Nov. 18, 2002.
The Regional Poll: While many look at the national poll, the Women’s Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches’ Association also distributes a regional poll and the Lady Razorbacks have been the South Central’s top team for three consecutive weeks. Followed by Baylor in the week four rankings, the Lady Razorbacks have been the region’s top team all season.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were tabbed to finish second in the Southeastern Conference’s annual preseason coaches’ poll which was distributed prior to the season. The Lady’Backs earned four of the 12 first-place votes awarded and totaled 113 points. Tennessee led the way with six first-place votes and 115 points.
Splichal Emerges at the Front: Penny Splichal had come upon some tough times in her running, but has emerged once more when she finished second for the Lady Razorbacks at the SEC Championships. Running her second fastest 6,000-meter time ever, Splichal cruised to a mark of 20:06.83 to take seventh overall and earn her second first-team all-SEC honor.
Not Far Off: Penny Splichal’s SEC Championship time of 20:06.83 is incredibly fast, but not her fastest. At the 2001 SEC Championships, she finished that 6K race in 19:49.66, the third fastest time in Lady Razorback history.
Fresh Faces: The Arkansas Lady Razorbacks are young this fall with 10 people on the 16-woman roster either a freshman or sophomore. It wouldn’t be surprising to see at least four or even five or six of those runners on the 2005 travel squad at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Bargiachi Continues at Four: After not running attached in Arkansas’ first competition of the season, Denise Bargiachi has made her presence felt. She has consistently been among Arkansas’ top seven and for the past two races has been its fourth runner.
Top 20: That has been the trend that Denise Bargiachi has shown in three of her four competitions this year. She finished ninth at the Aztec Invite followed by 6K runs that placed her 19th and 12th. The only race that Bargiachi did not finish among the top 20 runners was at the Notre Dame Invitational where she placed 70th.
Impressing the Coaches: Freshman Denise Bargiachi ran at the Missouri Southern Dual meet unattached as a training exercise, but her results made the Arkansas coaching staff rethink their decisions. Bargiachi finished third overall with a time of 17:35 and looked very strong doing it. Her impressive performance at home earned her a spot on the travel squad for the Aztec.
Up and Up: Being just a true freshman one would expect there to be rough races for Denise Bargiachi, but the Memphis, Tenn., native seems unflappable. After a “bad” race at the Notre Dame meet where she finished as Arkansas’ seventh runner, she rebounded in her first 6K and finished 19th overall with a time of 21:20.1 at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
Only Seven: The Lady Razorbacks coaching staff is going to have its toughest decisions to make in the coming week. According to NCAA rules, teams may only participate with seven runners making the Arkansas coaches take off three runners from what their SEC Championship roster. The final decision on those seven that will compete will be made on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Her Best Race: Senior Jessie Gordon has had some wonderful moments on the cross country course including a pair of South Central Region performances, but despite the honors, she had still never accomplished what she did at the Notre Dame Invitational. Finishing 24th overall, Gordon was Arkansas’ number one runner and ran a career best for 5,000 meters at 17:37.
First Time She’s First: Jessie Gordon’s first-place finish among the Lady Razorbacks is the first time she crossed the line as Arkansas’ top runner in her three-plus years on the squad. In fact, it is the first time she has ever finished higher than third among Lady Razorback runners.
16 Seconds: We mentioned that Jessie Gordon’s time at the Notre Dame Invitational was a career best for 5,000 meters, but we should note that it was a 16 second personal best for the Ardmore, Okla., native.
Another Personal Best: Continuing to make the most out of her senior year, Jessie Gordon put together another show at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival when she ran another personal best, this time over 6,000 meters. Gordon finished the Agri Park course in 21:04.5, nearly 11 seconds better than her 2004 NCAA South Central Regional time of 21:15.
Sixth Straight Win: Arkansas’ win against Missouri Southern on Sept. 9 was its sixth straight home opening win dating back to the fall of 2000 when it began to host an early meet.
16th Straight: Arkansas now has a streak of 16 straight opening day wins in cross country. Prior to the six dual meet/Fayetteville Invitationals, the Lady’Backs took 10 consecutive team titles, mostly at the Univ. of Kansas. The last time a Lady Razorback team lost an opening day meet was Sept. 29, 1989 when it finished second in Little Rock.
Steady as they Come: Senior Laura Jakosky doesn’t get a lot of the headlines, but she is quite possibly the most valuable member of the Arkansas roster. Despite graduating last spring, she returned to school this fall to race for the Lady Razorbacks and in doing so has made Arkansas a much more formidable team. She can always be counted on to be among Arkansas’ top three runners and has recorded some excellent times over the past three years.
Arkansas’ Number Three: Laura Jakosky was Arkansas’ third runner at the SEC Championships, a place that she has been since the beginning of the 2004 season. Running an excellent time at the SEC meet, a career best 20:13.52, Jakosky has been counted on time and again to put the Lady’Backs in position to win.
Here Comes Barr: We haven’t mentioned her before, but Dacia Barr is quickly emerging as one of Arkansas’ best cross country runners. A 1,500/mile runner on the track, Barr has adapted to the 6,000-meter cross country course as a redshirt freshman and been Arkansas’ second finisher in three of five races.
Academic all-American: It should be pointed out that senior Maureen Scott not only gets the job done on the cross country course but in the classroom as well. Following six semesters of perfect 4.0 grade point averages, Scott earned her second first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honor and has a chance to be the first three time honoree in Lady Razorback history.