Cross Country Looks To Reclaim Crown

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas women's cross country coach Lance Harter hopes for a good crowd at Agri Park at 9 a.m. Saturday as the Lady Razorbacks try to reclaim the Southeastern Conference championship from Tennessee.

"We had two or three thousand fans at the Chile Pepper Festival, cheering 3,800 athletes, and it really helped everyone," Harter said. "I don't know how much of an advantage the home course is, but it's tough to give up when everyone is screaming for you."

Harter said everything must go right for the Lady'Backs if they're to defeat Tennessee and Georgia, their main competition.

It helps that Erica Sigmont has apparently recovered from an asthma setback and Penny Splichal has returned from a stress reaction. Sophomore Kristina Smith of Anchorage, Alaska, has had strong workouts this week after a bout with bronchitis.

"We have five or six women capable of running with our leader, Alison Zeinner-Rush, on a given day," Harter said.

It wasn't enough that Arkansas' young soccer team dropped tough matches to South Carolina and Florida last weekend.

The Lady Razorbacks (6-10-2, 2-6-2 in the SEC) then had to spend an extra night in Gainesville, Fla., after their Sunday flight to Atlanta was canceled. They returned via Cincinnati on Monday, arriving in the evening.

Despite its lost weekend, Arkansas still has an outside chance to qualify for the eight-team SEC Tournament in Auburn, Ala., Nov. 4-7.

The Lady'Backs could get to 11 points by winning at LSU on Friday night (a tie won't be enough). Then Kentucky must lose at home to Vanderbilt, SEC East cellar-dweller South Carolina must lost at home to Florida and Georgia must lose or tie at SEC East-leading Tennessee.

UA volleyball coach Chris Poole retains hope that his team can qualify for the NCAA Tournament with a hot finish.

The young Lady Razorbacks, who started the week with a 9-10 record and 6-3 SEC mark, return home for matches against Alabama and Auburn on Friday and Sunday after a Tuesday trip to LSU.

Arkansas needed five games to dispatch both Kentucky and Valparaiso in Barnhill Arena last weekend.

"Our offense has struggled somewhat this year, but it was much improved last week," Poole said. "We need to continue that production and also maintain the strong block we've had all year."

Led by senior Jennifer Haaser, Arkansas has had double-figure blocks in 12 matches this season.

Alabama, picked by some to win the SEC West, brings a 16-5 record and 6-4 SEC mark to town Friday. Auburn is 8-10 and 2-7.

Senior Iliano Pacheco paced the UA women's tennis team in the ITA Central Regional Championships in Tulsa last week.

Pacheco, from Dallas, defeated Outi Jarvinen of Arkansas-Little Rock 6-0, 6-3 on Friday before losing 6-0, 6-1 to Lynzee Kever of Colorado.

Pacheco also teamed with junior Melissa Cornett to defeat Kaitlin Loprizi and Jill Palen of Iowa State 8-3 in doubles before the Arkansas duo lost 8-3 to Gitte Osterman and Inke Reimers of Nebraska.

Overall, the Lady'Backs went 2-6 in Tulsa and are now 61-43 this fall. They will next play in the SEC Fall Coaches' Championship at Atlanta on Nov. 5-7.

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