TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Led by senior Alison (Zeinner) Rush, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team battled scorching heat and a top notch field to finish second at the Indiana State Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday morning.
The Lady Razorbacks took on seventh-ranked Michigan and 30th-ranked West Virginia in the contest and placed three in the top 10 individual finishers to secure second behind the Wolverines. Rush led the Lady Razorbacks with a fifth-place finish in a solid time of 17:51 for 5,000 meters followed by junior Maureen Scott, ninth, 18:15 and sophomore Kristina Smith, 10th, 18:21.
“I am really pleased with the results,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We went out conservatively while Michigan was much more aggressive and that initial gap lasted throughout the race. I thought that as a team everyone closed very well.”
Michigan won the competition with 34 points followed by the Lady Razorbacks with 50. West Virginia, Purdue and DePaul round out the top five with 70, 104 and 149 points, respectively.
While three Lady Razorbacks finished in the top 10, all five Arkansas scorers were a part of the top 15. Cross country freshman Sarah Saffa crossed the line in 11th position with a time of 18:25 while junior Penny Splichal finished 15th in 18:29. Junior Shiloh Whiting, redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk and junior Laura Jakosky completed Arkansas top eight in the race with 16th, 24th and 25th-place finishes.
“I think that this was a great race to see what this course is all about,” Harter said. “Penny is the only one on this team that has seen this course before so this is a big advantage for later in the season. I think that each of the these young ladies realize that they can run hard on this course.”
The Indiana State cross country course is the host site for the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships, so Arkansas’ participation could give it a slight advantage heading into the meet should they advance that far.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Saturday, September 18, when they travel to Joplin, Mo., to participate in the Southern Stampede. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.