Top 15 finish in Louisville concludes Hogs’ season

PHOTO BY RAZORBACK SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arkansas concluded its 2017 campaign in Louisville, Ky. with a 13th place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships.

“I know we wanted to go out and set ourselves up and get in the race with the people we wanted to challenge,” said head coach Lance Harter.” “I think they did that, for the most part. Our front four did a great job. We improved from last year. I think we’ve had a fantastic season.”

Dating back to its 14th-place finish at the 2011 Championships, the Razorbacks have finished in the top-20 seven-consecutive years, including three top-15 finishes in the past four years. Arkansas was the top SEC team at the race.

The Razorbacks were paced by sophomore Carina Viljoen who finished 48th with a time of 20:20.40 in her first national race. It’s the first time this season that Viljoen has led as the fastest Razorback in a race. It finished a successful postseason for the young sophomore that saw her finish in the top-ten twice to lead the Razorbacks to Southeastern Conference and Regional championships.

RELATED:   No. 2 Hogs kick off indoor with Arkansas Invitational

“The team was my strategy,” said Viljoen. “I ran every race for the team and that’s what kept driving me forward, was to just do as good as I can. Every place I can get better was a better place for the team.”

Viljoen’s Postseason Overall Results:
SEC Championships: 6th (20:29.10)
Regional Championships: 2nd (19:36.00)
NCAA Championships: 48th (20:20.40)

Seniors Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss rounded out the Razorbacks top-100 performers. Hiltz finished 87th with a time of 20:37.20 while Haiss finished 94th at 20:39.50. Hiltz senior season saw her finish as the top Razorback in three races, including at the NCAA South Central Region Championship, where she was the overall Individual Champion.

“I think they were all capable of doing that on any given day,” said head coach Lance Harter. “I think Carina had a very good day and worked off of Nikki (Hiltz), Therese (Haiss) and Taylor (Werner). I think she was on a roll and was not going to be denied and just missed being an All-American by a couple of seconds. My hats off to Carina. Her evolvement from last season to this season has been fantastic.”

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Team Results (Top Five):
1. New Mexico – 90 (1-6-9-11-63)
2. San Francisco – 105 (3-5-12-33-52)
3. Colorado – 139 (8-26-27-34-44)
4. Stanford – 165 (10-20-39-47-49)
5. Oregon – 203 (13-16-25-68-81)
13. Arkansas – 377 (32-64-69-78-134)

Arkansas Results (Overall):
48. Carina Viljoen – 20:20.40
87. Nikki Hiltz – 20:37.20
94. Therese Haiss – 20:39.50
104. Taylor Werner – 20:44.70
170. Sydney Brown – 21:15.70
171. Ashton Endsley – 21:15.70
252. Lauren Gregory – 23:05.50

RELATED:   No. 2 Hogs kick off indoor with Arkansas Invitational

Up Next
With the NCAA Championships marking the end of the cross country season, the Razorbacks return for indoor track season January 12, 2018 when it hosts the Arkansas Invitational inside the Tyson Indoor Track Center.

2017 Cross Country Schedule
Fri, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.) 2nd of 4
Sat, Sept. 16 – Riverside Invitational (Riverside, Calif.) 1st of 29
Sat, Sept. 16 – Southern Stampede (Joplin, Mo.) 5th of 32
Fri, Sept. 29 – Joe Piane/Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) 4th of 20
Sat, Sept. 30 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park) 1st of 45
Sat, Oct. 14 – Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.) | 1st of 43
Fri, Oct. 27 – SEC Championship (Athens, Ga.) | 1st of 14
Fri, Nov. 10 – NCAA South Central Regional (College Station, Texas) | 1st of 24
Sat, Nov. 18 – NCAA Championship (Louisville, Ky.) | 13th of 31