FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas women’s cross country team will have its final regular season contest in Louisville, Kentucky against some of the nation’s best for Pre-Nationals Saturday, Oct. 15.
The Razorbacks held steady in the most recent USTFCCCA poll, coming in at No. 9 nationally in the coaches poll and remaining the top team in the South Central Region rankings.
Pre-Nationals 6K Seeded Race
The same group of runners that took first at the Riverside Invitational 6K (Sept. 16) will run this weekend led by 2016 All-American Taylor Werner, 2016 South Central Region Champion Devin Clark along with a pair of freshmen standouts in Lauren Gregory and Ashton Endsley. All-SEC seniors Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss as well as all-region performer Carina Viljoen will round out Arkansas’ participants in the race.
“We’ll run the official distance for the national championships and the SEC Championships,” head coach Lance Harter said. “We ran that once at Riverside to kind of debut it, now it’s a matter of taking care of it in the heat of the battle with the very elite that the U.S. has to offer.”
Notable Participants (USTFCCCA Coaches Poll)
No. 1 Colorado
No. 2 Oregon
No. 4 Michigan
No. 9 Arkansas
No. 12 Ole Miss
No. 16 BYU
No. 19 Utah State
No. 24 Missouri
No. 25 Georgia
Freshmen Out Front
Led by Lauren Gregory and Ashton Endsley, Arkansas has had eleven individual top-20 finishes by freshmen this season, including three in the top-10 that has led the Razorbacks to three wins this season.
Gregory has been stellar in both races she has competed in. She finished ninth at the Riverside Invitational 6K (Sept. 16) and 21st overall at the Joe Piane Invitational 5K (Sept. 29) against top-tier competition. Each race time placed in the top-25 in program history, and each race garnered Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week honors.
“Lauren is one of those that is a proven national competitor,” Harter said. “She has international experience as she’s run on the US team. She’s not intimidated too much by the level of competition.”
Endsley has been just as impressive with two top-15 finishes this season. She led the way for two Arkansas victories, with the first coming with a 13th-place finish at Riverside and finishing as the first Razorback and fourth overall at the Chile Pepper Invitational (Sept. 30)
6K Open Race
Arkansas will also have a young group run in the 6K open race in Lousiville, led by redshirt junior Sydney Brown and sophomore Maddy Reed. Both runners finished in the top-10 at the Chile Pepper Festival (Sept. 30). It will be the third race for Brown and Reed, with each runner finishing in the top-10 in all three.
The women’s races begin at 10:45 a.m. Saturday. A live stream will also be available to viewers at home who subscribe to FloTrack.
2017 Cross Country Schedule
Fri, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.) | 2nd of 4
Sat, Sept. 16 – Riverside Invitational (Riverside, Calif.) | 1st of 29
Sat, Sept. 16 – Southern Stampede (Joplin, Mo.) | 5th of 32
Fri, Sept. 29 – Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) | 4th of 20
Sat, Sept. 30 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park) | 1st of 45
Sat, Oct. 14 – Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.)
Fri, Oct. 27 – SEC Championship (Athens, Ga.)
Fri, Nov. 10 – NCAA South Central Regional (College Station, Texas)
Sat, Nov. 18 – NCAA Championship (Louisville, Ky.)
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.