FAYETTEVILLE – Behind four top-10 individual finishes, the University of Arkansas women’s cross country team captured the team title at the 30th annual UC Riverside Invitational Saturday morning in Riverside, Calif. With 30 team points, the Razorbacks finished well clear of their nearest competition, Southern Utah (105) and Loyola Marymount (113). All seven of Arkansas’ runners finished within the top 25.
"This is a very positive performance for us," head coach Lance Harter said. "We put on a dominant performance with 30 points in a race with 179 finishers. We put it together as a team and ran with some swagger in a tremendous effort. We are better than I thought we were and our young runners really proved they aren’t afraid to mix it up."
Senior Miranda Walker, Arkansas’ top finisher, navigated the 5K UCR Ag/Ops Course in 16:51.1 for a second-place effort and junior Kristen Gillespie followed closely with a third-place time of 16:51.8. Both times out of the Razorback leaders are top-seven all-time course performances. Loyola’s Tara Erdmann won the individual crown in 16:45.4, the third-fastest time ever run on the course.
Arkansas picked up its third top-five finish with Stephanie Brown when the redshirt freshman crossed the line in 17:13.7, good for a fifth-place spot. Junior Cali George finished ninth for the Razorbacks in a time of 17:28.6. The team’s fifth finisher was freshman Ashley Isham. She clocked in at a time of 17:34.7 to finish 13th overall.
Making her first appearance in over a year due to injury, junior Jillian Rosen posted a 19th-place finish in a time of 17:38.8. The Razorbacks’ final runner, junior Samantha Learch turned in a time of 17:42.9 to earn a 25th-place finish.
The Razorbacks also found success in the 5K Open race with four freshmen. With a time of 17:59.3, Natanya Luther led a 2-3-4 finish for Arkansas runners. She was followed closely by teammates Paige Johnston (17:59.3) and Grace Heymsfield (18:03.1). Rachel Carpino rounded to the Razorbacks’ performance in the Open race with 13th-place showing in a time of 18:37.
"Now, we take a bit of a break and then we’re going to see the very best in two weeks at Notre Dame," Harter said. "The top three teams in the nation will be there and we will truly be tested in South Bend."
After a weekend off, the Razorbacks return to the course Oct. 1 at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. Arkansas’ third race of the 2010 season is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start. For continued updates and more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: 09.18_UC Riverside Invite.pdf