SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Freshman Jillian Rosen led the 4th-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team to a dominating victory at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego, Calif., on Saturday morning at historic Balboa Park.
Arkansas tallied a mere 28 points to pick up a 69-point victory over UC-Santa Barbara who entered the meet receiving votes in the latest United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association poll. 2006 NCAA Championship team Northern Arizona finished third with 114 points followed by USC, 117, and Cal St.-Los Angeles, 135.
“Going into the meet we knew that we would be facing superior competition than we have in years past,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “This has been one of our hardest weeks in terms of training. We knew that the team would be tired but we went in saying that we would just need to see what we can do.”
Arkansas went out quickly and established itself at the front of the field. Allowing the meet to set up, the Lady Razorbacks held on to their position until the final mile before it began picking off runners at an impressive rate.
Rosen was Arkansas’ top finisher at the meet in just her second collegiate competition. Last weekend she was Arkansas’ number two runner and her finish at the front of the Arkansas field marks the second consecutive week that a first-year runner finished first for the Lady Razorbacks. Taking third overall, Rosen was the only Lady’Back to clock a time under 18 minutes at 17:54.
Arkansas runners finished 3-4-5-7-9 to complete its scoring of 28 points with displacing runners finishing 10th and 19th. Behind Rosen was sophomore Dani Parry, junior Christine Kalmer, freshman Catherine White and sophomore Megan Jackson. What was most surprising about the Lady Razorback finish was the fact that just 13 seconds separated the first and fifth runners.
“I think that one thing that makes this team so special is that you can’t focus on any one runner,” Harter said. “This team has interchangeable parts and you can’t key on any one runner.”
Last weekend, Arkansas ran at home and just two seconds separated its first and fifth runners. A week later it was just 13 seconds making the 2007 squad one of the tightest in terms of time in recent memory.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next weekend when they travel to Eugene, Ore., for the Bill Dellinger Invitational. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.