FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Led by senior Miranda Walker’s top-20 finish, the Arkansas Razorback women’s cross country team finished seventh in the team standings at the 5,000-meter at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday.
Duke won the team race with 78 points. No 21. Syracuse was second with 80 points and No. 10 Illinois rounded out the top three with 95 points. The Razorbacks scored 174 points and Arkansas was the highest finisher among SEC teams.
"We knocked off ranked Wisconsin and Nebraska teams," head coach Lance Harter said. "It’s early season form, some teams are in great shape. We had some illnesses to deal with this weekend at and today’s race. We have to get healthy and do some damage at Chile Pepper in two weeks. Texas Tech, BYU and SMU will be there with loaded teams. Upsets happened all over the country this week and we got beat by good teams. We kept our confidence level at bay. We were at about 60% today of our real abilities because of being sick."
For the third time this season, junior Miranda Walker was Arkansas’ top finisher. With a time of 17:39.5, she finished 21st overall and second among SEC runners. For the second time this season, freshman Alyssa Allison was the second Razorback to cross the finish line. With her 5,000-meter time of 17:52.0, she finished 35th overall, fourth overall among SEC runners and eighth overall among freshmen runners. She was also the top SEC freshman finisher.
"Miranda is a warrior," Harter said. "We talked this morning and told her she didn’t have to run but she felt better after her warm-up. She goes out and takes care of business. That’s been her personality since she arrived. Kristen Gillespie, really known as an 800-meter runner, also ran really well today. To have a 21-second spread between our first and fifth runner is remarkable. There were 12 teams here at Wisconsin and they were all good. Seventh-place is not an indicator of how good we are. We asked our kids to compete under some bad health issues and to run as a pack and they did what we asked."
Third among the Razorbacks and 38th overall was senior Megan Jackson. She clocked a 5K time of 17:53.0. In her third race as a Razorback, sophomore Kristen Gillespie was the fourth Hog to cross the finish line. She did so in a time of 17:53.4, good for a 41st-place finish. Sophomore Samantha Learch rounded out the Razorback scorers. She finished 45th with a time of 18:00.8.
Also competing for the Razorbacks were sophomore Cali George (49th, 18:06.4), senior Ashley Williams (94th, 18:57.0), freshman Taylor Johnson (95th, 18:58.7) and freshman Keri Wood (105th, 19:25.5).
The Razorbacks will compete next when they host the Chile Pepper Festival, Sat., Oct. 17. For more information, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or chilepepperfestival.org.