FAYETTEVILLE – Freshman Jillian Rosen and head coach Lance Harter of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback cross country team were named Southeastern Conference Freshman and Coach of the Year on Tuesday afternoon by the league office in Birmingham, Ala.
Rosen is the third Lady Razorback freshman in as many years to claim the conference’s top freshman accolade while Harter picks up his 12th cross country coach of the year award and second in row.
“We’re starting to put a string together of freshman of the year awards,” Harter said. “I hope that it carries over to the most distinguished award, athlete of the year in the next couple of years. Jillian is certainly deserving of the award as she had a fantastic year. As for the coach of the year, it’s always nice to be recognized by your peers. The conference is getting better every year so any time you can win a championship you better seize the moment, because the opportunities are few and far between.”
Arkansas won its second consecutive SEC Cross Country Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. The team title was also its 12th overall in cross country, a league record. Rosen was the races’ top freshman finisher when she crossed the line in fifth place in a time of 21:01.76. The Dallas, Texas, native finished 17 seconds and six places ahead of the next best first-year runner, Hollie Knight of Auburn.
Rosen’s freshman of the year award makes her the fourth Lady Razorback to be honored in the seven years of the honor. Previous Lady Razorbacks to have been named freshman of the year include Penny Splichal (2001), Christine Kalmer (2005) and Dani Parry (2006).
For Harter, winning the SEC Coach of the Year award is nothing new. Since joining the league in the fall of 1991, Harter has been named the cross country coach of the year 12 times in 17 years. Including his track and field awards, Harter has been recognized by the SEC 18 times. During his tenure as head cross country coach, Harter’s teams have never finished worse than third and have four runner-up honors.
Voting for the SEC honors was conducted by the league office with the head coaches voting for their peers. No coach was allowed to vote for themselves in the process.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next Saturday when they participate in the NCAA South Central Regional held at Agri Park in Fayetteville. For more information about Lady Razorback cross country or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.