Cross coun­try

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

At the NCAA South Cen­tral Re­gional on Fri­day at Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, the Arkansas men’s cross coun­try team won its sixth con­sec­u­tive re­gional ti­tle and 38th over­all, and the UA women won an eighth re­gional ti­tle in a row and their 23rd over­all.

Univer­sity of Arkansas men’s cross coun­try coach Chris Buck­nam did a good enough job pre­par­ing his team that the Ra­zor­backs won the NCAA South Cen­tral Re­gional in Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, on Fri­day morn­ing, with him stay­ing in his ho­tel room be­cause of a stom­ach virus.

“It’s the sec­ond meet I’ve missed in 40 years of coach­ing,” Buck­nam said later in the day while wait­ing to fly home. “The first one was when my daugh­ter, Kate, was born in 1993.”

The No. 19-ranked Ra­zor­backs won their sixth con­sec­u­tive re­gional ti­tle and 38th over­all with 59 points to au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for the NCAA Cham­pi­onships on Nov. 17 in Madi­son, Wis.

Arkansas’ No. 5 women’s team won its eighth con­sec­u­tive re­gional ti­tle and 23rd over­all with 21 points to ad­vance to the NCAA Cham­pi­onships.

Texas fin­ished sec­ond in both races with the men scor­ing 76 points and the women 99 to also qual­ify for the na­tional meet.

Ju­nior Gilbert Boit, who won the SEC cham­pi­onship, fin­ished fifth at the re­gional and ran the 10,000-me­ter course in 31:43.8 to lead the Arkansas men.

All seven of the Ra­zor­backs’ en­trants fin­ished in the top 25, in­clud­ing Cameron Grif­fith tak­ing 11th and Ryan Mur­phy 12th.

With Buck­nam fall­ing ill, vol­un­teer coach Cale Wal­lace, a for­mer Ra­zor­backs All-Amer­i­can, took over coach­ing du­ties at Fri­day’s meet.

“Cale did a phe­nom­e­nal job of tak­ing to the guys and get­ting it done,” Buck­nam said. “The kid can coach.”

Buck­nam also praised his run­ners for their prepa­ra­tion and ma­tu­rity.

“We’ve got a great cul­ture with our guys,” he said. “They’ve com­peted in a lot of big meets and they know what it takes.”

Buck­nam said Boit led for much of the race, but didn’t push it the fi­nal 1,000 me­ters be­cause the Ra­zor­backs al­ready were as­sured of fin­ish­ing among the two teams to qual­ify for na­tion­als.

La­mar se­nior Jamie Crowe won in 31:36.3.

“We just tried to run hard enough to make sure we were in one of the top two po­si­tions, and our guys did a great job with that,” Buck­nam said. “We didn’t have to go to the well, which was good, be­cause we have to be re­ally di­aled in a week from now for na­tion­als.

“This was prob­a­bly the best race we’ve put to­gether so far this sea­son even though we didn’t have to go to the limit. Hope­fully that’s a good sign for next Satur­day.”

Arkansas fresh­man Ka­t­rina Robinson won the women’s 6,000-me­ter race in 20:23.3.

“That was real nice for Ka­t­rina to get the ti­tle,” Arkansas women’s Coach Lance Carter said. “She made a move with about 1,000 me­ters to go, and she made it look ef­fort­less.”

The Ra­zor­backs took the top four places with Tay­lor Werner sec­ond, Lau­ren Gre­gory third and Ca­rina Viljoen fourth. All seven of their en­trants fin­ished in the top 14.

The Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas’ men’s team fin­ished 10th with 260 points and the Univer­sity of Arkansas-Pine Bluff was 24th with 709.

Arkansas State Univer­sity’s women’s team was 11th with 319 points and the Univer­sity of Arkansas-Lit­tle Rock was 18th with 470.

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