Cross Country to Run in Chile Pepper Festival
The Arkansas women’s cross-country team will be participating in the 24th Annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, which will be run Saturday morning in Fayetteville.
The Chile Pepper Festival was created to bring a variety of cross country races to the Northwest Arkansas area. The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival is a premier event throughout the nation. Over 80 college teams and 120 high school teams participate in the event.
Along with the college and high school participants, more than 700 individuals take part in the open 10K and Fun Mile.
The event takes place at the University of Arkansas’ off-road course, Agri Park. After the run, all participants enjoy a Hot Mexican food feast.
As the Chile Pepper Festival celebrates its 24th year, approximately 48,000 runners and even more spectators will take part in the event. Through the support of the sponsors, runners and athletes, the program has contributed over $236,000 to northwest Arkansas cross-country programs.
Last season, the Arkansas women’s cross-country team took second place overall, earning 89 points right behind Texas with 85 points. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Weber State took third, fourth and fifth place respectively. LSU is the only other Southeastern Conference women’s team who participated in the event.
Arkansas senior runner Kristen Gillespie placed sixth overall and first for the Razorbacks with a time of 20:24.7.
This season, sophomore Jessica Jackson and junior Stephanie Brown are hoping to help fill the missing spot of Gillespie. Last season, as a freshman, Jackson placed 15th overall and second for the Razorbacks with a time of 20:56.0. Brown placed 16th with a time of 20:58.8.
The Razorbacks are currently ranked 11th in the nation. This will be Arkansas’ fifth race of the season.
The Razorbacks’ last race took place Sept. 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic where the Razorbacks ran to a third-place finish. Three Arkansas runners placed in the top 14. Semehar Tesfaye paced the Razorbacks with a 10th-place finish. Andrina Schlaepfer finished 13th and Grace Heymsfield 14th.
The Razorbacks are hoping to place even higher this weekend in Fayetteville and keep their high national ranking.