FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team straps on its shoes for its season opener on Friday evening for the Fayetteville Invitational at the Agri Park Cross Country Course beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Welcoming Missouri Southern State University, Arkansas looks to run a young team against the perennial Division II powerhouse in an effort to gain as much experience as possible before a tough regular season. Leading the way for the Lady Razorbacks is 2003 all-SEC performer Laura Jakosky. The 12th-place finisher at the SEC meet last season, Jakosky should have 2002 all-SEC runner Penny Splichal by her side throughout the race with 2003 freshman phenom Kristina Smith close behind.
“This is a meet where we can get some different bodies on the course to see what they can do in a competitive setting,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “It is one thing to run with the best at practice and another to do it in the competition arena. I feel good about the team that we are sending out onto the course.”
Joining Arkansas’ big guns up front is seasoned veteran Jessie Gordon who had a tremendous freshman season in 2002. Redshirt freshmen Tiffany Redlarczyk gets to don the cardinal and white of the Lady Razorbacks for the first time while Lea Carruthers and Laura Insell round out the talented but young team.
Last season, Arkansas entered the meet ranked 15th in the nation and backed it up with a sweep of the top seven spots to earn a perfect score of 15. Tulsa finished second with a distant 53 points followed by Missouri Southern with 72. In that competition, Jakosky, Splichal and Smith finished 3-4-5 with Gordon rounding out Arkansas’ sweep with a seventh-place finish.