COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of Arkansas women’s cross country team raced to a second-place finish Monday morning at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships in Columbia, S.C. Running stride for stride with Florida, the Razorbacks totaled 61 team points, just one behind the champion Gators. Miranda Walker and Stephanie Brown earned All-SEC First Team honors with their respective performances.
Kristen Gillespie earned a spot on the all-conference second team while Brown and Grace Heymsfield are members of the SEC All-Freshman team. All five of the Razorbacks point scorers finished in the top 20 and were separated by less than 29 seconds.
"Today, we had the best pack running we’ve had all year," head coach Lance Harter said. "Our top six did a great job and there’s nothing more I could have asked out of them today. From about the 3K mark to the finish, there was a great head-to-head race between us and Florida."
Walker paced the team with a fourth-place finish, her best career result at the SEC meet. She navigated the 6K course in a time of 21:12.25. She was immediately followed by Brown who clocked in at 21:12.84, good for a fifth-place finish, her third top-five result of the season. The Downs, Ill., native was also the top freshman finisher in the race.
Arkansas’ third finisher was Gillespie. She turned in a time of 21:26.79, good for a 14th-place overall performance. The combination of Brown, Gillespie and Walker has now been the team’s top three in four races this season.
The top-five lineup was rounded out by Cali George and Samantha Learch. In 18th place, George finished the race in a time of 21:38.33. The final point scorer for the Razorbacks was Learch who matched her 2009 SEC meet result with a 20th-place finish in a time of 21:47.73.
Jillian Rosen and Heymsfield were the sixth and seventh finishers, respectively, for Arkansas. Rosen was 23rd overall with a time of 21:47.73 while Heymsfield crossed the line in 35th place with a clocking of 22:04.79. She was the sixth overall freshman to finish Monday, securing her all-freshman accolades.
Along with Brown and Heymsfield, Natanya Luther (44th overall, 22:19.77) and Ashley Isham (61st, 22:53.18) made their SEC Championships debut for the Razorbacks. The race was their first 6K collegiate race of the season.
The top seven finishers in Monday’s race placed to the All-SEC First Team while the No. 8-14 runners grabbed second-team honors. The conference’s all-freshman team consists of the top seven freshman finishers.
"Now we turn our attention to and get re-focused on the regional meet," Harter said. "If we run like we did today, we’ll be in great shape."
With the conference meet behind them, the Razorbacks return to the course next weekend for the 2010 NCAA South Central Regional Championships. The women’s 6K race is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas, with a 10 a.m. (CT) start time. For more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: 2010 SEC Championships results_women.pdf