COLLEGE STATION, Texas. – The sixth-ranked Arkansas women’s cross country team dominated the NCAA Division I South Central Regionals Friday morning in College Station, Texas, having all seven runners place in the top 15 leading to a 58 point victory for the Razorbacks.
The title is Arkansas’ second in two weeks following the Southeastern Conference Championship in Athens, Georgia. The Razorbacks have dominated the South Central region, winning seven-consecutive titles dating back to 2011. The victory earned the Razorbacks an automatic qualification into next weekend’s 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
“To win in dominant fashion is a luxury we have this year,” head coach Lance Harter said. “It was a situation where we were able to go out and control the race from the front, establish a position and relax.”
Senior Nikki Hiltz paced the Razorbacks, finishing first overall and claiming the individual title with a time of 19:35.50. Hiltz’s first place finish marked the fourth-straight year a Razorback has finished in the top spot at the regional. She follows in the footsteps of junior Devin Clark, who was the South Central Region champion in 2016.
“It feels great,” said Hiltz. “This win gives me a lot of confidence going into the NCAA Championships next weekend, and it’s especially sweet when you get to cross the line with a teammate and go 1-2. Our team is definitely peaking at the perfect time and I am very excited to see what we can accomplish together next weekend.”
Sophomore Carina Viljoen finished less than a second behind Hiltz in second-place with a time of 19:36.00. Therese Haiss rounded out Arkansas’ top-ten performers, finishing in eighth-place at 19:57.90.
“It was good,” said Viljoen. “I just knew how many years in the past we’ve won this and we wouldn’t want anyone else to take this title away from us.”
Lauren Gregory’s stellar freshman campaign continued as she finished in the top-15 for the third time this season. In five races as a Razorback, Gregory has finished as the top overall freshman three times. Freshman Ashton Endsley also finished in the top-15 for the second-straight week, and fourth time this season.
All Region Razorbacks
All seven of Arkansas’ runners earned All-Region honors as Sydney Brown, Carina Viljoen and Taylor Werner earned All-Region recognition for the second-consecutive year. It was the second-straight season Arkansas had all seven of its runners earn All-Region honors, as the Razorbacks are the only team in the country to accomplish that feat.
Team Results (Top Five)
1. No. 6 Arkansas – 35 (1-2-8-11-13)
2. Texas – 93 (10-16-17-24-26)
3. Baylor – 116 (3-4-20-30-59)
4. SMU – 148 (7-21-35-42-43)
5. Abilene Christian – 163 (5-6-25-36-91)
Arkansas Results (Overall)
1. Nikki Hiltz – 19:35.50
2. Carina Viljoen – 19:36.00
8. Therese Haiss – 19:57.90
11. Taylor Werner – 20:14.20
13. Lauren Gregory – 20:19.00
14. Sydney Brown – 20:19.80
15. Ashton Endsley – 20:21.00
2017 Cross Country Schedule
Fri, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.) | 2nd of 4
Sat, Sept. 16 – Riverside Invitational (Riverside, Calif.) | 1st of 29
Sat, Sept. 16 – Southern Stampede (Joplin, Mo.) | 5th of 32
Fri, Sept. 29 – Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) | 4th of 20
Sat, Sept. 30 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park) | 1st of 45
Sat, Oct. 14 – Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.) | 3rd of 43
Fri, Oct. 27 – SEC Championship (Athens, Ga.) | 1st of 14
Fri, Nov. 10 – NCAA South Central Regional (College Station, Texas) | 1st of 24
Sat, Nov. 18 – NCAA Championship (Louisville, Ky.)
The Razorbacks make a return trip to Louisville, Kentucky next Saturday for the NCAA Championships. The races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT as Arkansas will make its final push for a championship.
For more information on Arkansas track and field, including in-meet updates, follow @Razorbacktf on Twitter.