FAYETTEVILLE – After a two-week break from competition, the University of Arkansas women’s cross country team returns to action Monday, Nov. 1, at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championship. The women’s 6K race is scheduled for a 9 a.m. (CT) start on Hilton Field at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
"As always, (the SEC Championship) has an opportunity to be the highlight of the year," head coach Lance Harter said. "It’s now a matter of getting everyone lined up and mentally ready to handle the challenge of the SEC. Right now, it’s probably a three-way battle between ourselves, Vanderbilt and Florida."
The Razorbacks will take to the course with a lineup featuring Stephanie Brown, Cali George, Kristen Gillespie, Grace Heymsfield, Ashley Isham, Paige Johnston, Samantha Learch, Natanya Luther, Jillan Rosen and Miranda Walker. In the most recent release of the USTFCCCA poll, both Arkansas and Vanderbilt are receiving votes in the national rankings.
Monday’s race will be the Razorbacks’ second this season over the 6K distance. Gillespie has the No. 3 6K time in the SEC with a clocking of 21:05.50 at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Walker is eighth with a time of 21:22.70 at the same meet.
Behind four top-20 performances, the Razorbacks finished third at the 2009 SEC meet. Walker was the team’s top finisher with a 10th-place result. She was followed by Alyssa Allison, Gillespie and Learch. Arkansas’ top-five lineup was rounded out by Taylor Johnson. Florida is the defending conference champion and claimed the top two individual spots in last year’s race.
Arkansas has 13 SEC titles in cross country since joining the league in 1991. The Razorbacks also have four runner-up finishes to their credit. Following Monday’s race, the remainder of the 2010 schedule features the NCAA Regional Championship (Nov. 13) in Waco, Texas, and the NCAA Championship (Nov. 22) in Terre Haute, Ind.