COLUMBIA, SC – No. 11 Arkansas challenged No. 7 Florida for the women’s SEC Cross Country Championship, finishing 10 points behind the Gators as both teams placed their top five runners among the top 20.
Florida scored 49 points for the team title with Arkansas runner-up with 59 points. Tennessee finished third with 80 points while defending champion Alabama placed fourth with 84 points.
This marks the closest finish in the women’s team chase since 2012 when Florida defeated the Razorbacks by nine points, 61 to 70.
Arkansas freshman Paityn Noe and sophomore Sydney Thorvaldson led the team in placing fifth and sixth.
Noe covered the 6,000m course in 19:43.7 in just her second race ever at the distance. Thorvaldson crossed the line in 19:49.8. Both closed well, covering the final 1k in 3:34.2 and 3:37.0, respectively.
Florida’s Parker Valby defended her individual title in 18:37.5 while transfer teammate Flomena Askel finished fourth in 19:31.9. Alabama occupied second and third place with Doris Lemngole (19:11.2) and Hilda Olemomoi (19:23.5).
Teams competing the top 10 included Ole Miss (107), Texas A&M (181), Vanderbilt (258), South Carolina (262), Missouri (265), and LSU (278).
The next three Razorbacks finishing the course were Laura Taborda in 12th, Mia Cochran in 16th, and Mary Ellen Eudaly in 20th. Taborda covered the course in 20:94.8, Cochran clocked 20:12.3, and Eudaly posted 20:29.5.
The spread across Arkansas’ top five was 45.8 seconds, an improvement from the 61.4-second gap they had at Pre-Nationals.
Rounding out the Arkansas runners among a field of 145 were Nyah Hernandez with a 20:58.9 in placing 33rd along with Heidi Nielson, 38th in 21:07.9, and Tiana LoStracco, 47th in 21:22.2.
Next for Arkansas is the NCAA South Central Region meet the Razorbacks will host at Agri Park on Friday, November 10. The top two teams will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championship field.