FAYETTEVILLE – Christine Kalmer of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year it was announced on Thursday afternoon by the league office in Birmingham, Ala.
Voted on by the head coaches of the Southeastern Conference, Kalmer becomes Arkansas’ second freshman of the year and the first since 2001 when the award was first introduced. She follows in the footsteps of current teammate Penny Splichal.
“I’m delighted to see Christine recognized by the SEC as a force for the future,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Considering that she had to beat out one of America’s greatest hopes in the distances in Sarah Bowman, this is quite an honor for her.”
The on the field leader for the Lady Razorbacks in 2005, Kalmer has been Arkansas’ top finisher in four of six meets this fall, earning all-SEC and all-region honors for her efforts. She opened the season with a victory at the Missouri Southern Dual, making her just the second Lady Razorback to begin her career with an individual meet title, and her 10th-place finish at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival made her the SEC Female Athlete of the Week on Oct. 18.
While placing among Arkansas’ top runners all season, Kalmer has also recorded some very impressive times including three 5,000-meter runs under 18 minutes and two 6,000-meter runs under 21 minutes. Her race at the SEC Championships is quite arguably her best of the season as she blistered the Fort Jackson Military Base course to the tune of 19:59.56 to make her just the fourth Lady Razorback in school history to run 6,000 meters in under 20 minutes.
A native of Roodeport, South Africa, Kalmer has been all over the world racing in both collegiate and international competitions. Prior to attending Arkansas this fall she was a regular on the South African Junior Cross Country team and made three trips to the World Junior and World Cross Country Championships as a prep athlete.
Kalmer and the rest of the Lady Razorback cross country team head to the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning as they prepare for race day on Monday at 1:15 p.m. in Terre Haute, Ind. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.