Undefeated: It is still early in the season, but the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team is undefeated this season with a perfect 11-0-0 record. Picking up victories at both the Missouri Southern Dual and the Aztec Invitational, the Lady Razorbacks have moved themselves into the top 10 nationally.
10th: Even though Arkansas is undefeated on the course, they are still 10th . . . in the national poll. Released on Monday, Sept. 26, the Lady’Backs moved from 13th to 10th in the poll and enter the top 10 for the first time since Nov. 18, 2002, when they ranked eighth.
The Aztec Invitational: Arkansas once again put together a dominating performance at the Aztec Invitational when they blew away the field with a 52-point margin of victory. Finishing all five of their scorers among the top 10, Arkansas tallied 31 points, far and away better than second-place Northern Arizona’s 83.
21 Seconds: Usually, teams like to keep their top five runners less than a minute apart in cross country and the closer they are the better off the team is. Arkansas took that charge a step further as they spanned 21 seconds not just between the scoring five, but between its top eight runners at the Aztec.
Leading the charge: For the second straight week it was freshman Christine Kalmer that led the charge for the Lady Razorbacks. Running against some of her senior teammates for the first time, Kalmer cruised to a fourth-place overall finish in 17:59 making it her second consecutive sub 18-minute run.
Nearly Unbeaten: Christine Kalmer’s individual record this season is a staggering 111-3 and she is winning at a 97-percent clip. Should she keep the pace up, she would be among Arkansas’ best ever for a single season.
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 Notre Dame Invitational: After the comforts of home followed by a trip out west, the Lady Razorbacks get some even stiffer competition as they travel to South Bend, Ind., to take on a strong field at the Notre Dame Invitational. The competition should give the Lady Razorbacks some idea of how they can expect to finish at the NCAA Championships as some of the nation’s top talent converges on Indiana on Saturday.
The Field: The Lady Razorbacks have their hands full at the Notre Dame Invite as 24 teams toe the line at the Notre Dame Golf Course including seven ranked in the national poll. The host Notre Dame is the top ranked team at the competition at #3. Fifth-ranked Michigan follows with #10 Arkansas and #12 Wake Forest close behind. #18 Butler, #20 Illinois, #28 Florida State and #29 Michigan State round out the ranked teams.
Topsy Turvy: Some years, Arkansas has a clear cut number one, number two, number three, etc., runner, but in 2005 it has all been turned upside down. At the Missouri Southern Dual, redshirt freshman Dacia Barr was Arkansas’ fourth runner, she finished second at the Aztec. Another turnaround involved sophomore Caroline Peyton who went from seventh to fourth at the two competitions. While the Lady’Backs should settle into position at the Notre Dame Invite, the changes could make life interesting for Arkansas’ coaches who have to make some decisions come championship time.
The Arkansas Lineup: The Lady Razorbacks are bringing 12 harriers to the chilly Notre Dame Invitational. Nine will run as a part of Arkansas’ team in the Gold section of the Invitational, while three participate in the Blue section as individuals. The exact lineups have not been determined but will be at practice this week.
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; the Lady Razorbacks are now 10th in the second poll. How far could the Lady Razorbacks climb? Only time will tell, but their performance at the Notre Dame Invitational will have a lot of bearing.
|Arkansas in the Poll|
|Preseason||17th, 180 pts.|
|Week One||13th, 234 pts.|
|Week Two||10th, 257 pts.|
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 two rankings, the Lady Razorbacks have been the region’s top team all season.
Welcome Back: The Lady Razorbacks welcomed their senior class to the cross country course at the Aztec Invitational and never missed a step. Laura Jakosky was Arkansas’ third finisher and sixth overall while Jessie Gordon stepped in at sixth and 10th overall. The addition of the upperclassmen makes Arkansas a much better team as it now has experience to go hand-in-hand with a host of youth.
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.
Fifth and Ninth: after earning a spot on Arkansas’ travel squad at the Missouri Southern Dual, Denise Bargiachi did not upset her coaches when she looked even better at the Aztec Invitational. Bargiachi finished fifth for the Lady Razorbacks and ninth overall in a strong field and ran 18:13 for the 5,000-meter course, just 14 seconds off Christine Kalmer’s leading time for a Lady’Back.
Sixth Straight Win: Arkansas’ win against Missouri Southern last Friday night 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.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were tabbed to finish second in the Southeastern Conference’s annual preseason coaches’ poll which was distributed last week. 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.
Twice in Two Years: Arkansas’ second-place projection in the SEC Coaches’ Poll is the second time in two years in which they have not been pegged as the conference champion. Prior to last season it was 1997 when Florida was the top pick by the coaches.
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.