Tesfaye
UA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- No. 11 Arkansas swept the top six spots on its way to a perfect score and team title Saturday at the UCI Invitational in Irvine, Calif. In her first race as a Razorback, Semehar Tesfaye navigated the 5K course in a time of 17:21.1 to capture the individual title. Overall, Arkansas placed eight in the top 10 and all 10 runners inside the top 35.

“I’d say it was a relatively dominant performance,” head coach Lance Harter said. “I’m really pleased with the race and the way our pack went out to set the pace. Heading into the race, we were a bit fatigued from our workouts but that’s where we need to be right now so I told them to give it their best today.”

Paced by Tesfaye, the Razorbacks’ top-six lineup featured Andrina Schlaepfer (17:23.1), Grace Heymsfield (17:23.3), Diane Robison (17:23.5), Kaitlin Flattmann (17:27.29) and Shannon Klenke (17:31.3). Arkansas rounded out its top-10 efforts with Paige Johnston (17:44.9) in ninth place and Keri Wood (17:52.4) in 10th. Tesfaye’s time is a course record for the newly designed path at the Anteater Recreation Center Fields.

The team’s other top-35 performances came from Rachel Carpino (18:22.3) in 20th place, Jessica Jackson (18:26.6) in 24th, Kelsey Wheelhouse (18:36.6) in 27th and Valerie Reina (18:49.4) in 35th. Tesfaye, Schlaepfer, Wheelhouse and Reina were all making their debuts in a Razorback jersey.

In the team standings, Arkansas’ score of 15 outdistanced runner-up Southern California (92 points) and third-place CS San Marcos (119). Saturday’s race was a step up in distance and field size from its season-opening meet in Fayetteville. It was the Razorbacks’ first 5,000-meter race of the season.

The field at the UCI Invitational included 168 runners.