FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 18 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team ran to a second-place finish Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The Razorbacks were led by a fifth-place individual finish by senior Kristen Gillespie and totaled 116 team points in a field that featured five other nationally ranked teams.
With its silver performance, Arkansas finished ahead of No. 2 New Mexico, No. 22 Princeton, No. 28 Penn State and No. 29 BYU. Seventh-ranked Florida State won the team title with 54 points. Along the way, the Razorbacks also finished ahead of Southeastern Conference foes Auburn and Georgia and South Central region teams Baylor, Rice, SMU and Texas A&M.
"We had another day where we ran really close together," head coach Lance Harter said. "We topped the No. 2 team in the country (New Mexico) and had Florida State on the ropes until the final 800-1,000 meters of the race. I’m really proud of the way this group continues to stay united and run for each other. They won’t let each other down and it’s been really run to watch."
Gillespie paced the Razorbacks with her fifth-place effort, crossing the finish in a 5K time of 17:10. She is Arkansas’ top finisher at the Notre Dame Invitational for the second consecutive year. The team’s second finisher was sophomore Stephanie Brown who turned in a time of 17:28, good for 21st place overall. Brown is the reigning SEC Co-Runner of the Week.
Freshmen Jessica Jackson and Dominique Scott were the Razorbacks’ third and fourth finishers, respectively. Jackson finished in 26th place overall with a time of 17:33 while Scott registered a time of 17:38, good for 31st place. The team’s final scorer was Kaitlin Flattmann, another Arkansas freshman. She rounded out the scoring lineup with a 33rd-place finish and a time of 17:40.
Finishing just out of the Razorbacks’ top five but with the same time as Flattmann were seniors Cali George in 34th place and Jillian Rosen in 35th place. Arkansas’ final runner was sophomore Keri Wood who turned in a personal-best 5K time of 18:05, good for 83rd place overall.
The Razorbacks also had four runners entered in the JV Women’s race Friday. Freshmen Courtney Falco (18:57) and Michaela Bauer (18:59) finished in 22nd and 23rd place, respectively. Fellow freshman Shannon Klenke ran to a 26th-place finish with a time of 19:03 while sophomore Rachel Carpino posted a time of 19:08 and finished in 29th place.
Runners battled tough conditions all day with temperatures dipping into the low 50’s and winds blowing at 20-30 miles per hour. Top wind gusts reached 40 mph and above. Due to severe rain in the South Bend area over the last week, the course was extremely wet with soft spots throughout.
The Razorbacks return to action Oct. 15 for the 23rd Annual Chile Pepper Festival at Agri Park in Fayetteville. For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.