TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The No. 14 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team ran to a 14th-place finish Monday at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. The Razorbacks totaled 375 team points and were paced by senior Kristen Gillespie who also collected All-America honors. The team’s finish marks the 20th top-15 national finish in program history.
"We did things the hard way," head coach Lance Harter. "Kristen didn’t even make the meet last year. Then we have three freshmen that score for us and sophomore Stephanie Brown who is an 800-meter runner. So maybe they performed a bit over their heads but we’re elated with our finish today and know that we can build for the future."
Gillespie crossed the finish in a 6,000-meter time of 20:22.3, good for 31st-place overall and the first cross country All-America accolades of her career. She is Arkansas’ first All-American since Brooke Upshaw in 2006. Gillespie is the 16th All-American in program history.
"I actually like running in these kind of conditions because it’s cross country season so it feels like if there’s not bad weather, it’s not right," Gillespie said. "The race went out fast so it was tough from the start but I felt good. It feels good (to be an All-American). I’ve come from the bottom of the pack in collegiate cross country so it feels good to see my progression to this moment."
The Razorbacks’ second finisher was Brown who finished in a time of 21:01.3 and placed 99th overall. She was immediately followed by teammate Jessica Jackson. The Razorback freshman posted a 100th-place individual finish in a time of 21:01.7.
Arkansas’ scoring lineup was rounded out by Kaitlin Flattmann and Dominique Scott. Flattmann placed 125th overall and clocked in at 21:13.6. Scott was the Razorbacks’ fifth runner, finished in 140th place overall and posted a time of 21:18.6. The team’s remaining runners were senior Jillian Rosen in 161st place at 21:26.6 and senior Cali George in 180th place at 21:40.1.
Aside from Rosen, each runner for Arkansas was making her debut at the NCAA Championships. Rosen was a member of the Razorbacks’ last team to compete at the national meet in 2008. Arkansas’ scoring lineup featured one senior, a sophomore and three freshmen.
In the team race, Georgetown outpaced runner-up Washington by eight points to capture the 2011 national title. The top four in the team standings were separated by just 27 points. Sheila Reid of Villanova finished .6 seconds ahead of Oregon’s Jordan Hasay for the individual title.
For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.