LMU travels to Arkansas for Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
This is the first time the Lions will be competing at one of the largest cross-country events in the country.
Oct. 16, 2008
Los Angeles, Calif - After a two-week break, LMU's best will compete against some of the best in the nation at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival on Saturday. The all day event is one of the largest in the nation welcoming 3,500 runners and over 4,000 spectators annually.
Fayetteville High School Cross Country coach Kelly O'Meara and friends Joe Fennel and Randy Rhine envisioned the Chile Pepper Cross Country festival in 1988. In a casual conversation, Coach O'Meara mentioned that his team budget that year was $100. At the time the only teams getting significant funding were football and basketball. Outraged by the lack of support, Fennel and Rhine decided to create the Chile Pepper Running Club to raise money for cross country teams. During that time they would host only one open 10k race to raise funds.
In 1992 the club expanded to the festival it is to today. It combined three of the largest northwest Arkansas cross country races, the Arkansas Invitational, the LadyBack and Razorback home meet, and the Fayetteville High School's Purple Dog Invitational, into one large premier event.
Those competing on the women's side this year include some of the top ranked teams in the South Central region. Arkansas is the #1 team in the region and ranked #10 nationally. #2 SMU, #5 Texas, #6 Texas A&M, #7 Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and #13 Texas Arlington will also be appearing. Other tough competition at the Chile Pepper include, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Tulane.
The men's race also won't be a walk in the park. Four out of the top five teams in the South Central region will be competing this weekend including #2 Texas A&M, #3 Arkansas, #4 Lamar, and #5 Texas A&M- Corpus Christi. Others ranked in the region and are also racing on Saturday are #7 Louisiana Tech, #9 LSU, #12 Texas at Arlington, and #13 Baylor. Nebraska and Texas Tech are the other highly touted schools in the race.
Competing for the Lions on the men's side this weekend will be senior Trevor Wiseman, junior Brian McDonald, sophomore Scott Donahue, red shirt freshman Connor Pastoor, and freshmen Daman Coffman, Erich Yanoschik, Phillip Benavides, and Thomas Finnigan.
Tara Erdmann will lead the Lions on the women's side. The sophomore has been the top finisher for Lions finishing in the top ten for all of LMU's major meets this season. She will be aided by senior Abby Fall, juniors Annie Holden and Brooke Lademan, and freshmen Brieanna Delaney, Marissa Diehl, Megan Fairley, and Stephanie Felix.
In Fayetteville, the men's 10k race will begin at 9:45a.m. The women will finish off the collegiate race with the 6k at 10:30.