EUGENE, Ore. – The eighth-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team takes its undefeated record into its toughest challenge of the fall at the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene, Ore., where it faces three of the nation’s top 10 teams and eight ranked schools in an 11-team battle.
Arkansas is making its first trip to Eugene for a cross country race after being invited into the exclusive field. The Lady Razorbacks’ history as one of the nation’s top squads helped its cause and gave it the opportunity to see some of the nation’s best runners early in the season. “We certainly have our work cut out for us,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “There are no give me’s in this competition and we’ll have to work for every point. I think that if we can stay in the top three here it will be quite an accomplishment. Our team is made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores so a race like this can help tremendously or hurt depending on what the outcome is so we are going to try and stay positive and see what happens.”
In each of Arkansas’ two races this fall it has been freshmen and sophomores that have factored into the scoring seven. Sophomore Christine Kalmer is potentially the most polished of the group, but even she was out dueled by some of her counterparts at the Aztec Invitational two weeks ago. Freshmen Brooke Upshaw, Danielle Parry and Miranda Walker have each been in the top seven at both meets this year with Upshaw finishing as Arkansas’ top runner at the Aztec.
Included in the 11-team field at the Bill Dellinger Invite are #5 Duke, #6 BYU, #10 Washington, #26 Indiana, #28 Oregon and #30 Butler along with Wake Forest who just dropped outside the nation’s top 30 this week and Portland, UCLA and Utah State.
Adding to the questions surrounding the weekend’s race is the fact that the Lady Razorbacks will run a 6,000-meter course for the first time this fall. The Lady Razorbacks opened with a 4,000-meter race, and then followed it up with a 5K at the Aztec. For a seasoned team, their first 6,000-meter run of the fall would not be much of a concern, but the Lady’Backs freshmen have never run a race of that distance at either the prep or collegiate level.
For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.