FAYETTEVILLE – For the first time this season, the No. 25 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team will be split for two competitions Saturday. One group of Razorbacks will head to Terre Haute, Ind., to run at the Pre-National Invitational while the other group will run on its home course at the 22nd Annual Chile Pepper Festival. The 6K race in Indiana is scheduled for a 10 a.m. (CT) start while the women’s collegiate 5K race in Fayetteville will get under way at 10:30 am.
"The very best usually assemble at the NCAA preview meet so for the first time, we’re going to take a large crew there," head coach Lance Harter said. "Our freshman group is going to stay here and represent us at Chile Pepper and I think they’re going to fare very well."
Arkansas’ lineup at the Pre-National Invitational will feature senior Miranda Walker, juniors Cali George, Kristen Gillespie, Samantha Learch and Jillian Rosen and freshman Stephanie Brown. The Razorbacks will run an all-freshman team at Chile Pepper with Rachel Carpino, Grace Heymsfield, Ashley Isham, Paige Johnston and Natanya Luther toeing the line.
In its last outing, Arkansas notched a ninth-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational. Gillespie paced the team with a 22nd-place overall finish in the 5K race. Including the Razorbacks, the field at Notre Dame featured 16 teams either ranked or receiving votes in the Sept. 28 national poll. Arkansas’ top five was Gillespie, Walker, Brown, George and Luther. For the third time this season, Brown was award the SEC Freshman Runner of the Week for her performance.
The Pre-National meet will be split into two women’s races with the Razorbacks scheduled to compete in the blue group. The field is scheduled to feature eight top-25 teams including Arkansas, No. 3 Florida State, No. 6 Arizona, No. 11 Iowa State, No. 13 Washington, No. 15 Princeton, No. 16 Providence and No. 18 Michigan State. The race will also have Southeastern Conference teams Alabama and Vanderbilt.
In addition to Arkansas, teams scheduled to compete in the Chile Pepper collegiate women’s race are No. 21 Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and SMU. Nine teams ranked in the top 15 of the South Central Region will also run Saturday. Southeastern Conference foes Auburn and LSU are also scheduled to run at Agri Park.
A live video stream of the Pre-National meet in Terre Haute will be provided by FloTrack.org and can be viewed here. Visit gosycamores.com for more information about the 2010 Pre-National Invitational at the LaVern Gibson Course. For more information and results from the 22nd Annual Chile Pepper Festival, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com or chilepepperfestival.org.