EUGENE, Ore. – Led by freshman Danielle Parry, the eighth-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team shocked the field at the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene, Ore., with a 20-point victory over a pair of top five teams in the nation to win its third consecutive meet of the season.
The Lady Razorbacks scored 35 points on the strength of five runners among the top 10 finishers overall for their final tally while fifth-ranked BYU was a distant second with 55 team points. Unranked Wake Forest finished third with 117, #10 Washington was fourth with 119 and sixth-ranked Duke fifth with 132.
“Wow, I don’t think that anyone is as surprised about this as I am,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. I am literally overwhelmed by what just happened. I knew that this team was unique with sophomores and freshmen leading the way. The sophomores did a great job last season and this year’s freshmen class has just followed in their footsteps. I told the team before the meet to fear no one. They didn’t and the results were staggering.”
Competing in the first 6,000-meter race of her career, Parry was phenomenal on the rugged wood chip dominated terrain which included four hay bale jumps of the Oregon cross country course. Completing the race in 20:39, Parry finished fourth overall to lead a 4-6-7-8-10 Arkansas finish. Behind the Fort Collins, Colo., native was fellow freshmen Brooke Upshaw (20:46), sophomore Dacia Barr (20:48), sophomore Denise Bargiachi (20:49) and sophomore Christine Kalmer (20:54).
Arkansas’ strength at the Bill Dellinger was its ability to run as a group, a trait that their competition could not counter. The Lady Razorbacks put just 15 seconds in between their first and fifth scorers and a mere 17 seconds between first and sixth.
For the Lady Razorback’s Parry’s top finish marked the third consecutive meet in which a different runner has led Arkansas into the chute. Kalmer was the meet champion in week one followed by Upshaw at the Aztec.
The Lady Razorback victory in Oregon is their third consecutive team title, their first three-meet winning streak since the 2002 season when they won four in a row heading into the NCAA Championships. The last time Arkansas opened a season with three straight wins came in 1997 when it went undefeated into the Southeastern Conference championships.
The Lady Razorbacks are scheduled to compete next weekend at the Memphis Invitational as a tune up for the much anticipated Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival on Oct. 14. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.