Ra­zor­backs sweep South Cen­tral cross coun­try ti­tles

The Sentinel-Record - - SPORTS - FROM STAFF RE­PORTS

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.

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