Lady’Backs Second at Conference: The Lady Razorbacks finished second at the Southeastern Conference Championships last weekend in what was the closest competition in the 21-year history of the event. Arkansas scored 57 points, just behind Tennessee’s 55 and ahead of Georgia’s 63. Senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush was Arkansas’ top finisher at third overall.
Knocking off a Higher Opponent: Ranked 20th in the nation heading into the SEC Championships, the Lady Razorbacks knocked off 17th-ranked Georgia at the SEC meet, but finished just behind #14 Tennessee.
Rush Continues to Lead: Senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush continues to lead the Lady Razorbacks this fall and looked as good as ever at the SEC Championships. Finishing third overall, her best finish in her four years, Rush was one of three Lady Razorbacks to earn all-SEC honors. Her top finish for the Lady Razorbacks is her fourth in four races this fall.
Leading Lady: Alison Rush asked Arkansas head coach Lance Harter what she needed to do to reach her full potential last spring and after a good meeting, she went out and exceeded his guidelines. The effort has paid off for Rush as she is now Arkansas top cross country runner and is poised to do something which she has not done in three years of competition, capture an all-America honor.
The 2003 Regional Championships: The Lady Razorbacks walked away from the Waco, Texas, course last spring with heavy heads and hearts as they finished third in the competition for the first time in 14 years. The finish prevented the Lady’Backs from competing at the NCAA Championships as a team, but thanks to her career-best performance, Shiloh Whiting was able to advance to the big dance when she finished fifth overall.
2003 NCAA South Central Region ChampionshipsWaco, Texas • Nov. 15, 2003(Top 10 teams only)
|2.||#18 Baylor (6-7-13-14-28)||68|
|4.||#30 Texas Christian (1-2-12-27-44)||86|
|5.||Texas A&M (16-22-25-26-29)||118|
|7.||Stephen F. Austin (9-52-53-57-59)||230|
|8.||Texas A&M-CC (37-39-43-58-69)||246|
The 2004 Regional Championships: Arkansas enters the 2004 NCAA South Central Regional as the second-highest ranked squad behind the 12th-ranked SMU Mustangs. At #18, Arkansas almost defeated SMU at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival which should make the regional meet very interesting. Other teams of note at the 2004 regional include Baylor and Texas.
The FinishLynx Poll: Ranked as high as 16th in the nation, the Lady Razorbacks fell to as low as 21st in the FinishLynx/NCAA Women’s Cross Country Poll, but since have improved to 18th. Arkansas’ performances at the Roy Griak Invite, the Chile Pepper XC Festival and the SEC Championships have led to their improvement and are poised to move up even higher with a good showing at the South Central Region.
FinishLynx Cross Country Poll
|Poll #1||16th||194 pts.|
|Poll #2||19th||148 pts.|
|Poll #3||21st||134 pts.|
|Poll #4||21st||147 pts.|
|Poll #5||20th||145 pts.|
|Poll #6||18th||167 pts.|
All-SEC: Along with Alison (Zeinner) Rush, the Lady Razorbacks’ Maureen Scott and Laura Jakosky were also named all-SEC performers thanks to their sixth and 11th-place finishes. For all three Arkansas runners, the honor was the second of their careers.
What Sophomore Slump: Sophomore Kristina Smith is looking as good as she did as a freshman. 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.
Just Missed: Sophomore Kristina Smith barely missed all-SEC status at the SEC Championships when she finished 17th overall, three spots away from the conference team. Her placing kept the Lady Razorbacks close to the higher-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols.
Sick at Chile Pepper: Kristina Smith has been solid for the Lady Razorbacks throughout the season, but didn’t seem to be herself at the Chile Pepper. Turns out the sophomore was sick before the race, but gave it a shot anyway before pulling out of the competition with a little more than a mile to the finish.
Gordon Steps Up: After a tremendous freshman season, Jessie Gordon was decent as a sophomore, but her performance at the 2004 SEC Championships could be the return of the Ardmore, Okla., native. Gordon was Arkansas’ fifth finisher at 20th overall securing herself a place on the travel roster for the South Central Regional.
Gordon’s 2004 Season: Jessie Gordon’s 2004 season has been up and down, but if there is one constant it’s that she has been consistently among the top seven on Arkansas’ roster. Out of the scoring seven at the Indiana State Invite, Gordon was the third runner at the Southern Stampede, then was seventh at the Griak and the Chile Pepper before taking the fifth spot at the SEC Championships.
Back to Seven: The Lady Razorbacks were given the luxury of competing 10 runners at the SEC Championships last weekend, but at the NCAA South Central Regional, that number drops down to seven. Arkansas’ coaching staff is going to have to make a decision as to who is running best at the time in order to have its best chance to win.
First Road Trip: The NCAA South Central Regional is Arkansas’ first road trip since late September when it went to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. The date of the Griak, Sept. 25.
Best Ever Finish at Chile Pepper: Over the course of four years, Alison Rush has improved each year and the proof in that is where she finished at the Chile Pepper last weekend. Seventh overall, the finish was by far her best showing on Arkansas’ home course improving on 46th, 58th and 70th-place finishes in each of her three previous seasons.
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.
Pack Running Again: Without a true number one runner this season, the Lady Razorbacks returned to the pack running philosophy and the strategy worked to perfection at the Southern Stampede 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 returned to Fayetteville in fantastic shape and has looked superb for Arkansas in every race 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.
Top Seven: Tiffany Redlarczyk has good races and bad races, but it seems that she somehow always places among Arkansas’ top five. One of two Lady Razorbacks to participate in all five Arkansas competitions this season, Redlarczyk has been Arkansas’ first across the line once, fifth twice, sixth once and seventh once.