FAYETTEVILLE – Led by freshman Brooke Upshaw’s athlete of the year honor, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team swept the Southeastern Conference’s post-season awards garnering the athlete, freshman and coach of the year accolades.
Upshaw was named the conference’s athlete of the year while fellow freshman Dani Parry was named freshman of the year and head coach Lance Harter coach of the year. Arkansas’ sweep of the three post-season awards is the first time since 2001 that the Lady Razorbacks have accomplished the task and just the second time in school history.
“We thought about who to nominate for these awards for a long time,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “In the end we felt that Brooke had such an unbelievable season that she deserved to be nominated for the athlete of the year. Our entire freshman class made such a huge impact this fall that we felt that we should see if we could get as many people recognized as possible which led to Dani Parry being nominated for freshman of the year. If we could have, we would have asked that all of our freshmen get the award, but we could only nominate one. As for myself, it is always nice to be recognized by my peers, but I’ve always maintained that my success is only a result of the hard work that the athletes put in. Without their dedication, none of it is possible.”
Upshaw emerged as Arkansas’ top runner through the course of the season, winning the SEC individual championship and taking all-America honors at the NCAA meet. She is just the second Lady Razorback to accomplish both tasks as a freshman joining the likes of Olympic bronze medalist Deena (Drossin) Kastor. Upshaw’s accolades this fall even outweigh those of 15-time all-American Amy Yoder Begley after her first fall season.
Parry was also a major influence on Arkansas’ roster this fall earning athlete of the week honors in early October and taking first-team all-SEC and all-South Central region honors. She was the Lady’Backs’ top finisher at the Bill Dellinger Invitational and was among the Lady Razorback scoring five in six of seven meets. She was also just one of three Lady Razorbacks to post an individual winning percentage over .900 over the course of the season.
For Harter, his SEC Coach of the Year award is nothing new. The award is the 11th of his career for cross country and gives him 17 SEC Coach of the Year honors including track and field. He was also named the South Central Region’s Coach of the Year earlier in the fall and his 22 cross country coaching accolades at Arkansas place him among the nation’s most recognized cross country figures.
For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.com.