MADISON, Wis. –The No. 5 Arkansas women’s cross country team faces its stiffest challenge of the 2014 season this Friday, as they will face-off against some of the nation’s top teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Start time for the championship races will begin at 11 a.m., while the “B” races will start at 12:30 p.m.
Head coach Lance Harter will put his fifth-ranked Razorbacks squad against 21 ranked teams in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top 30 Poll at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in the 6K race. Friday will be the first time this season that Arkansas will compete on a 6K course.
Some of the top teams planning to attend the Wisconsin adidas Invitational are No. 2 Michigan State, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Iowa State, No. 9 Florida State and No. 10 Virginia.
The 2014 season has been a dominant one for Arkansas thus far, as they have captured four team titles and have picked up a quartet of individual titles through the first four races of the season.
Redshirt junior Dominique Scott picked up three of those individual titles as she has won the adidas/UCI Invitational (Sept. 6), the Missouri Southern Stampede (Sept. 20) and the Chile Pepper Festival (Oct. 4). Scott has set a course record at each meet this season and posted the fastest 5K time in NCAA Division I at the Chile Pepper, as she ran a personal-best time of 16:01.00.
Currently, the Cape Town South African native is ranked as the No. 3 individual in NCAA Division I according to Flotrack.com. The No. 3 ranking just adds to an already impressive list of honors for Scott this season, as she has been named the Southeastern Conference Runner of the Week on two occasions (Sept. 9 & Oct. 7) and the USTFCCCA National Runner of the Week (Sept. 22).
Scott will look to improve on her 13th-place finish at last year’s Wisconsin adidas Invitational, as the 2013 NCAA All-American completed the 6K race in 20:05.00.
Redshirt senior Grace Heymsfield is one of two returning runners who placed inside the top 10 in last year’s race. Heymsfield placed sixth in the 2013 Wisconsin adidas Invitational with a time of 19:56.00.
Like Scott, Heymsfield has had a strong 2014. Currently the Elkins, Ark., native is the No. 16-ranked runner in NCAA Division I according to Flotrack.com after placing second at both the adidas/UCI Invitational and the Chile Pepper Festival. Her time 5K time of 16:12.00 at the Chile Pepper Festival is the third-fastest 5K time in NCAA Division I this year and is a new personal-best for the runner.
Senior Shannon Klenke placed eighth at last year’s race with a time of 19:59.00, which still stands as her personal-best time in the 6K. Klenke has posted three top five finishes this season, and her time 5K time of 16:25.70 at the Chile Pepper Festival is the 13th-fastest by a NCAA Division I runner.
Arkansas will run Diane Robison, Jessica Kamilos and Regan Ward along with Scott, Heymsfield and Klenke in the championship race, while Samantha Mohler, Valerie Reina, Kaitlin Flattmann, Chandler Crumblish and Kelsey Schrader will run the meet’s “B” race.
For more information on the Arkansas women’s cross country team, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.
COACH HARTER PRE-RACE SOUND
On Wisconsin adidas Invitational:
“This race might be one of the greatest assemblies of top-ranked teams ever in history. 22 of the top 30 teams in the nation will be at this meet to face-off head-to-head. That normally does not happen, because there is a kind of avoidance, but it seems that everyone this year really wanted to get together and test each their teams before nationals.”
On the Importance of this Meet for His Team:
“This is dress rehearsal for nationals for us. There are six weeks to go, and this meet will tell us a lot about where we are as a team, how we stack up against the nation’s best and what some of our weaknesses are and what we need to work on after this meet.”
On First 6K Course This Year:
“The way we have been training, we should be able to handle the 6K course with no problem. Sometimes it is more mind over matter. There is a mental hurdle to get over running 1,000 more meters and if a runner focuses on that too much it could overwhelm them. We’ve tried not to focus on the extended distance and we are just going to go out there and race.”
On His Team Facing Elite Runners:
“We are in a unique situation at this meet where there is such an abundance of great talent. They’re 15 NCAA Cross Country All-Americans from last year and several others from two years ago at this meet, plus several other track All-Americans. Our top runners will be challenged by the best of the best and that’s what it is all about. It gives us a chance to see how we do against elite competition prior to Nationals and see what alterations we have to make in our training to prepare for that meet in six weeks.”
Expected Arkansas Runners
|Runner||Race||Personal-Best 6K Time|
|R-Sr. Grace Heymsfield||Championship||20:11.77, Nov. 1, 2013|
|Sr. Jessica Kamilos||Championship||20:43.00, Oct. 19, 2013|
|Sr. Shannon Klenke||Championship||19:59.00, Oct. 19, 2013|
|R-Jr. Diane Robison||Championship||20:40.20, Nov. 11, 2013|
|R-Jr. Dominique Scott||Championship||19:40.70, Nov. 11, 2013|
|Jr. Kaitlin Flattmann||“B”||21:03.10, Nov. 11, 2013|
|R-So. Samantha Mohler||“B”||First 6K Race|
|R-So. Valerie Reina||“B”||23:28.30, Oct. 13, 2013|
|So. Regan Ward||Championship||22:08.77, Nov. 1, 2013|
|R-Fr. Chandler Crumblish||“B”||First 6K Race|
|Fr. Kelsey Schrader||“B”||First 6K Race|