University of Central Arkansas senior Taylor Dunn was named the women's Southland Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

The Southland Athletes of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank.

Dunn, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, paced the Bears to the team championship at last Saturday's UCA Cross Country Challenge at Beaverfork Lake Park.

UCA won the 11-team race with 24 points, easily outdistancing second-place Little Rock (61).

Dunn finished as runner-up, running a 19:05.32 over the 5K course.

UCA also had three other runners finish in the Top 10, including senior Alejandra Ruiz in fifth, freshman Gracie Hyde in seventh and junior Erin Woodward in eighth place (19:46.82).   

The Bears are idle this weekend before traveling to Fayetteville for the University of Arkansas' Chile Pepper Festival race Sept. 22.

Hair named SLC Defensive Player of the Week

After helping the Central Arkansas Bears improve to 5-2-1, their best start to open a season since 2012, with a pair of wins, freshman Gracie Hair has been named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

Hair, a defender from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was instrumental in the Bears' success on the week, when Central Arkansas beat Oral Roberts and Arkansas State sides that had combined for eight wins entering the week, including three against Southland Conference schools.

The Central Arkansas defense was unfazed by the previous success of the Golden Eagles and Red Wolves, limiting them to a combined one goal and four shots on goal. Hair played a key role, tracking back to shut down attacking runs and pushing forward to jumpstart a Central Arkansas attack that scored seven goals.

Against an ORU squad that entered Wednesday's match averaging 1.3 goals and 6.0 shots on goal per game, Hair and the Central Arkansas back line pitched a shutout while surrendering just a pair of shots on target.

On Sunday against an Arkansas State team that entered the week averaging 1.4 goals on 4.6 shots on goal per game, the UCA defense again delivered, holding the Red Wolves to a single goal on two shots on frame.

As impressive as her defensive contributions were on the week, Hair also contributed offensively in both matches, picking up a goal and an assist for three points.

She scored her first collegiate goal in the 58th minute on Wednesday, burying a penalty kick to extend the UCA led to 3-0 nothing, before adding an assist on Camille Bassett's game-winner in the 63rd minute on Sunday, playing a cross into the box, where Connie Awuku-Darkoh headed it to the feet of Bassett for the finish.

"As with any Player of the Week awards our players receive, it's because of team success, and in particular with this recognition of our team defending," UCA coach Jeremy Bishop said. "Our defending has been really solid lately and Gracie has been a big part of that group. As with our entire back line, she has been getting immediate pressure to cause turnovers around midfield. Gracie, Kristen Ricks, and Lily Sultan also do a great job of getting into the attack with their forward runs."

Hair and the Bears return to action on Friday evening, opening Southland Conference play by hosting the Sam Houston State Bearkats at the Stephens Complex.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.