FAYETTEVILLE – Freshman Christine Kalmer and the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team opened the 2005 season with a perfect score and a sweep of Missouri Southern University in a dual meet at the Agri Park Cross Country Course in Fayetteville on Friday night.
Kalmer, running in her first collegiate race looked like a seasoned veteran as she powered her way around the 5,000-meter course, taking the individual title by 17 seconds. Kalmer completed the course in 17:09 and is the first Lady Razorback since senior Penny Splichal in 2001 to win her first collegiate race.
“It was a day of surprises,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “I thought that Christine would run well, but her time is very good for this course. I was also impressed by Beth Fahey and Denise Bargiachi who really stepped up. When we add these runners to our seniors that didn’t race today, I think that we could have a very potent team.”
The Lady Razorbacks took the first 10 places of the race before any Missouri Southern runner crossed the finish. Behind Kalmer was Fahey (17:27), Jennifer Harper (17:36), Dacia Barr (17:40) and Kelly Vrshek (17:46). All but Fahey are freshmen or redshirt freshmen while Fahey is just a sophomore. Other Lady Razorback finishers include Tiffany Redlarczyk (17:52), Caroline Peyton (17:57), Lea Carruthers (18:28) and Laura Kerr (18:41). Bargiachi (17:35) ran unattached.
The opening meet win is the sixth consecutive time that the Lady Razorbacks opened their season with a victory and also the sixth time that an Arkansas runner has taken the team title. The Lady Razorbacks tallied a perfect 15 points to Missouri Southern’s 50, a 35-point win, dwarfing Arkansas’ 23-point margin of victory a year ago.
The Lady Razorbacks continue their season next weekend when they travel to the Aztec Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17, in San Diego, Calif. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.