FAYETTEVILLE – In a race featuring the nation’s top teams, the University of Arkansas women’s cross country team notched a ninth-place finish Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. Junior Kristen Gillespie paced the Razorbacks as the team’s top finisher.
"We didn’t have a great day but we did have some good individual performances," head coach Lance Harter said. "We had to rely on some freshmen to step in for us and considering those circumstances in this kind of field, I’m pleased with the effort."
Including Arkansas, Friday’s field at the Notre Dame Invitational featured 16 teams either ranked or receiving votes in the most recent release of the USTFCCA national poll. The Razorbacks totaled 293 points to secure the top-10 finish. Villanova, the No. 1 team in the country, captured the team title with 64 points.
As the team’s top runner, Gillespie crossed the line in 17:08 to earn a 22nd-place overall finish. She was followed in the lineup by Miranda Walker who collected finished in 33rd place. The Razorback senior navigated the 5K Notre Dame Golf Course in a time of 17:21. Arkansas’ top three was rounded out by freshman Stephanie Brown who posted a time of 17:38 and a 60th-place result.
"Kristen, Miranda and Stephanie absolutely ran unbelievable races for us and are showing great consistency this season," Harter said.
Cali George was the Razorbacks’ fourth finisher, and 74th overall, with a time of 17:46. Freshman Natanya Luther clocked a time of 18:11, good for a finish of 106th overall. Ashley Isham and Paige Johnson had times of 18:14 and 18:22, respectively. Samantha Learch was Arkansas’ last runner with a time of 19:05.
The Razorbacks also had two runners take part in the Open Division race. Freshman Grace Heymsfield crossed the line in 18:50 and earned a 15th-place finish. Teammate Rachel Carpino followed with an 18th-place performance in a time of 19:15.
With the Notre Dame Invitational behind them, the Razorbacks will take a weekend away from competition before returning to the course Oct. 16. With two competitions on that date, the team is scheduled to split between the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville and the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute, Ind. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Notre Dame Invitational_Blue.pdf