FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team opens its 2006 season on Friday evening when they host the Fayetteville Invitational at the Agri Park Cross Country Course beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Arkansas welcomes Missouri State and Missouri Southern to the competition which will be a shortened 4,000-meter race which should allow all the competitors to gear up for a long season.
“Typically we have run 5,000 meters in our opening weekend, but felt that a shorter competition might help everyone,” Arkansas head cross country coach Lance Harter said. “We are going to race our entire team and see what they can do. Our freshman class has been very good in practice and it will be interesting to see how they adapt in a meet setting. Overall we are a young team, so a good race tomorrow can really set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Last season, Arkansas’ mainly freshman lineup dominated Missouri Southern in what became a dual meet competition. Despite not running its three seniors in 2005, the Lady Razorbacks took the top 10 spots in the race to finish with a perfect score of 15. Then freshman Christine Kalmer was the runaway winner finishing 17 seconds ahead of the field and Denise Bargiachi, running unattached at the time, finished third overall, prompting Arkansas’ coaches to pull her redshirt.
The addition of Missouri State to the 2006 event could make the team competition more competitive, but a strong Arkansas lineup that will include three juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen may prove to be more than the competition can handle. Arkansas’ opponents are also bringing good sized squads, but neither have the experience at the front of their lineup as Arkansas has.
For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.