No. 5 Arkansas dominates loaded field
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Placing four runners in the top 10, the No. 5 Razorback women’s cross country team emerged from the stacked field at the John Mcnichols Invite as champions, racing to a first-place finish with a score of 49 points Saturday morning at the Lavern Gibson cross country course.
“When I scheduled this race I had the idea of just previewing the course (for the NCAA Championships),” said Head Coach Lance Harter. “I didn’t realize this race was going to be this stacked. But Michigan had the same idea, as did Washington and Stanford and before you know it you have four of the top-10 teams in the United States opening up at the same meet. I think our kids were well-prepared and kept the perspective that we were here to see the course and familiarize ourselves with it in preparation for the NCAA Championships later this year.”
Taylor Werner made her 2019 debut for Arkansas by leading the Razorbacks from start to finish, needing just 16 minutes, 24 seconds
to complete the 5K course first overall amongst a field of teams that included No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Michigan, No. 8 Stanford and Northern Arizona. Werner, who broke the course record, was followed closely by Cal-poly transfer Katie Izzo who finished third overall in a time of 16:39.
“Taylor [Werner] ended up breaking the course record by just following her race plan,” said Harter. “She cruised along with competitors and then made her statement at 4K with a bold move. Katie Izzo had a breakthrough performance with a phenomenal finish. She’s rubbing shoulders with some of the best competitors in the US. Devin [Clark] ran fantastic, she’s had a year of battling injuries but she’s back to form so this was a nice welcome back to cross country. [Carina] Viljoen is still working her way back into it after a long track season that extended into the summer with the University Games.”
Crossing the finish line after Werner and Izzo were Devin Clark (16:47) in seventh place, Carina Viljoen (16:55) in 10th place and Maddy Reed (17:33) in 28th place to complete the scoring for the Razorbacks.
Abby Gray (17:37), Meghan Underwood (18:00), Isabel Van Camp (18:27), Quinn Owen (18:33), and Adoette Vaughan (18:50) wrapped up competition for Arkansas finishing 31st, 49th, 71st, 77th, and 90th place, respectively.
“It was great to see Maddy Reed and Abby Gray step forward and finish in the team scoring.
All in all, it was more than we can ever ask for and we’re in the conversation as being a trophy team at the NCAA Championships this November,” Harter finished.
Next up for the Razorbacks will be a trip home as Arkansas hosts the 31st annual Chile Pepper Festival at Agri Park in Fayetteville Oct. 5.