DENTON – North Texas men's and women's cross country travels to the 30th
annual Chile Pepper Festival hosted by Arkansas Saturday with the men's 8K race beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the women's 5K taking place at 10:20 a.m. at Argi Park in Fayetteville.
The collegiate field consists of 52 teams as the Mean Green men will compete alongside the No. 14 Razorbacks. Junior Florian Lussy
will look to build off of his first place showing at last week's Ken Garland Invitational hosted by UNT. Sophomore Jack Beaumont
and freshman Alec Esposito
will also strive to improve upon their top-10 finishes from the invite.
"This meet will give Florian and Jack a good look at where they are at running against national class talent," explained Head Coach Kevin Williams
. "The men did well here in 2013 and 2014, and this meet gives us data to go back on and compare to where we are at right now."
Freshmen Tatum Shelton
and Aubrey Schmidt
bring solid performances from last week's competition into Saturday's race hosted by the ninth-ranked Arkansas women.
"Our women are a young team. Many have run here in high school or college, so they have experience with this course," Williams added.
The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival was created to bring together three Northwest Arkansas cross-country races under a single event. The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival is now one of the premier running events in America. Each year over 80 college teams and 120 high school teams battle for prestige and unique Chile Pepper themed awards. Additionally, 750 individuals participate in the Open 10k and 5K Fun Run plus the Tom Lewis 1 Mile Pepper Dash on Friday Night.
"It's supposed to rain, so we'll see how the course looks," stated Williams. "It should be a fun meet with lots of teams from the region. We will be at full strength. We had a good week of practice and are fresher."