Razorbacks sweep South Central cross country titles
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Arkansas women’s cross country team captures its eighth straight regional title on Friday in the NCAA Division I South Central Regionals in College Station, Texas, while seven all-region honorees paced the men’s team to their own title.
The No. 5 women’s team had all seven runners place in the top 15 for a 78-point victory. It is Arkansas’ second title in two weeks after winning the Southeastern Conference championship in Auburn, Ala.
The Razorbacks have won eight straight South Central regionals dating back to 2011. The Arkansas women have qualified for the NCAAs 31 times, including each of the past eight years.
The victory earned the Razorbacks an automatic qualification into next weekend’s 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Madison, Wis.
True freshman Katrina Robinson paced the Razorbacks, finishing first overall and claiming the individual title with a time of 20:20.30. Robinson’s first-place finish marked the fifth straight year a Razorback has finished in the top spot at the regional meet. She follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner Nikki Hiltz, the South Central Region champion in 2017.
Juniors Taylor Werner and Lauren Gregory finished second and third, respectively, with identical times of 20:29.00. Carina Viljoen finished fourth at 20:33.90, while Sydney Brown rounded out Arkansas’ scoring, finishing in 11th place at 21:07.20.
Robinson captured her first South Central Regional title following a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships. In five races as a Razorback, Robinson has finished in the top two on four occasions with the lone outlier being her eighth-place finish at the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison.
All seven of Arkansas’ runners earned all-region honors as Brown, Viljoen and Werner earned all-region recognition for the third consecutive year, while Gregory earned the honors for a second straight season. Micah Huckabee and Maddy Reed also made all-region.
It was the third straight season Arkansas had all seven of its runners earn all-region honors. The Razorbacks are the only team in the country to accomplish the feat.
Races are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. next week.
The Razorbacks make a return trip to Madison, Wis. – their third of the season – next Saturday for the NCAA Championships. The races are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CT as Arkansas makes its final push for a national championship.
The No. 19 men’s team captured its sixth consecutive South Central title in College Station. The victory was the 38th in program history. The Razorbacks won by 17 points ahead of former Southwest Conference foe Texas.
The men’s team has qualified for the NCAA Championships 47 times, including each of the past seven seasons.
Arkansas was the only team to have all five scoring runners finish inside the top 20. The team was led by junior Gilbert Boit, who was the highest Razorback finisher in fifth place.
The other four scorers, Cameron Griffith, Ryan Murphy, Matt Young and Ethan Moehn, ran with the front pack that was just behind the leading trio consistently throughout the duration of the 10K race before placing 11th,
12th, 16th, and 17th, respectively. The top three runners consisted of Boit, UT-Rio Grande’s Abraham Chirchir and Tulane’s Emmanuel Rotich.
Arkansas’ top-seven all earned South Central all-region honors for the first time in program history by finishing among the top 25 best runners in a field 168 competitors. Previous teams to have its top seven earn all-region honors include Syracuse in 2017 and
2015, Colorado in 2015, Wisconsin in
2014, Texas in 2013 , Florida State in
2012 and Oklahoma in 2011. Colin O’Mara and Graham Brown also made all-region.