No. 5 Arkansas dom­i­nates loaded field

The Saline Courier Weekend - - SPORTS -

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.

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