TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The 19th-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team returns to the NCAA Championships in 2004 ready to face a stellar field in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. at the LaVern Gibson Course at Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
Arkansas ran its best two races of the season at the Southeastern Conference and NCAA South Central Regional Championships and hope to improve on that at the national meet. At the regional, the Lady Razorbacks nearly perfected its pack running style by placing just 24 seconds between its top five runners, a strategy that could prove incredibly advantageous at the NCAA meet.
“We don’t have a proven superstar,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We have typical blue collar runners that are very tenacious and are gathering together. If we can run like we did at the regional meet, I can see us finishing in the top 15.”
A top 15 finish for the Lady Razorbacks would be a huge boost to the team as this same squad barely missed a trip to the NCAA meet a year ago. It would also be the 17th top 15 finish for the Lady Razorbacks since the NCAA began running a women’s cross country championship in 1983.
While Arkansas has no dominant number one runner, it does possess a pair of key personnel including senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush and junior Maureen Scott. Seeking the first all-America honors of their careers, Rush and Scott have been Arkansas’ top two performers in four of seven races including the last three. Rush has been the clear favorite for the Lady Razorbacks as she has yet to be passed by any of her squad mates, crossing the finish as the Lady’Backs’ first in each of the five races she has competed in.
While Arkansas attempts to improve on its national ranking it certainly has its hands full when it comes to the competition. Of the 31 teams competing, 28 are ranked among the nation’s top 30 by the FinishLynx/NCAA Women’s Cross Country Poll, but in Arkansas’ favor is the fact that it has seen the course earlier in the season and that it has posted an impressive mark against teams in the poll all season long.
For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.