Freshman Trio Continue To Excel
Arkansas freshmen Jessica Jackson, Dominique Scott and Kaitlin Flattmann helped the Razorbacks to win second place at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. last Friday.
Jackson’s second-place performance earned her a third SEC Freshman of the Week selection this season.
“It seems like Jessica Jackson has a stranglehold on the Freshman of the Week honors,” Arkansas coach Lance Harter said. “She leads three very, very good freshmen that have become absolute mainstays in our program.”
Scott and Flattmann finished the race at No. 31 and No. 33, respectively.
“[Jackson] fends off the other two race-by-race, but it’s by no means easy,” Harter said. “Flattmann and Scott are having spectacular freshman seasons as well.”
The three freshmen round off Arkansas’ top five runners.
Senior captain Kristen Gillespie and sophomore Stephanie Brown finished the race fifth and 21st overall, respectively. The duo provide veteran leadership for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas’ top seven runners placed within the top 35 of the race.
“We have great depth,” Harter said. “We’re running, from our first to our seventh runner, 30 seconds apart. That’s miraculously close, and hopefully they won’t change their skill level when they move onto Chile Pepper.”
“Usually that’s a sign of maturity, but with three freshmen, we have three unique individuals. They’ve done a great job following the leadership of their upperclassmen.”
The team has a lot of positive momentum going into the Chile Pepper Festival, which the Razorbacks will host on Saturday, Oct. 15.
“It’s a very formidable group,” Harter said about the teams. “If somebody has an off-day, there’s somebody else to fill that hole. That’s what every coach dreams of having, so I’ve been really sleeping well the past couple of weeks.”
Men’s CC Has Work To Do
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam wasn’t satisfied with the fifth-place finish his men’s cross country team at the Cowboy Jamboree last Saturday, he said.
The Razorbacks placed behind No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Indiana, No. 13 Northern Arizona and unranked Adams State in the meet.
“We don’t have everybody on the same page yet. We hope by the SEC meet that we do,” Bucknam said. “I think it takes some time to get there. But overall, the team seems highly motivated and willing to go to that spot we’re looking for.”
The finish helped Arkansas move one place higher in national rankings to No. 15. Junior Eric Fernandez was Arkansas’ top finisher at eighth overall.
“We had some pretty good performances, so it’s a starting point,” Bucknam said. “It’s not where we want to end up, but I think we might’ve jumped one place in the polls this week, so I think we’re moving in the right direction, and it was a good race to get under our belt.
“I think we responded pretty good [to the competition]. The team has good chemistry; they’re highly motivated.”
The meet was the team’s first race in a month, after the Missouri Southern Stampede was cancelled Sept. 17 because of bad weather conditions.
“It was our first 8K of the season,” Bucknam said. “I really would’ve liked to have that meet at Joplin under our belt before we went there, but overall I thought our kids handled it pretty well.”
The Hogs will take off a week of competition before they host the Chile Pepper Festival.