The Arkansas cross country teams hosted the 34th annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival at Agri Park on Friday, providing several impressive performances from both groups.
The most notable moment of the festival came during the women’s 5K run when Arkansas junior Isabel Van Camp captured first place in 15:58:00, finishing alongside her former Razorback teammate Lauren Gregory, who ran 15:58:20.
“It feels really special,” Van Camp said. “It’s a nice full circle moment. It definitely makes me feel very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in high school and beyond. I know that I made the right choice coming here. I think that my life would have taken a very different trajectory if I hadn’t had the opportunity to come here and I’m very very grateful. This is a special place to be.”
In addition to Van Camp, the women’s team had seven of the top-21 finishers, including freshmen Sydney Thorvaldson, Mia Cochran and Mary Ellen Eudaly who received fourth, sixth and 14th, respectively. They won the team title with 27 points, 94 fewer than the second-place team.
“Teamwise, I think it went right according to script,” Arkansas women’s cross country head coach Lance Harter said. “We had some great breakthroughs. Eudaly, the freshman, had a fantastic race today. That was really special to compliment Mia, the other super freshman. Sydney Thorvalson is starting to recover from having mono. So, all in all, teamwise you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Sophomore Patrick Kiprop came in second place in the men’s 8K in 23:24:60. He also led the men’s team to the team title with 61 total points, 88 fewer than the nearest group.
Freshman Ben Shearer was the next Razorback finisher, receiving sixth overall in 23:49:00. Senior Jacob Mcleod, juniors Myles Richter, Josh Shearer and Luke George and freshman Jack Williams were the other scorers for Arkansas, earning 13th, 19th, 29th, 56th and 144th, respectively.
“I was pleased with our effort across the board,” Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam said. “Everybody looked like they put in a championship style effort. We only have so many of these meets, you can count them on one hand for the season, so every one of them are important.”
The No. 13 women’s team will make its next appearance at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 14 while the No. 16 men’s team will compete at the Weis-Crockett Invitational Oct. 15 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Both will be the final races for both teams before they compete in the Southeastern Conference Championships.