Defending champion Razorbacks among three nationally ranked teams in SEC meet
Arkansas No.6 enters SEC Cross Country Championships as defending champions, after winning a conference record 26e title last year. The SEC Championships, featuring the men’s 8,000m race hosted by Missouri and staged on the Gans Creek course, will be broadcast live on the SEC network at 10 am this Friday, October 29.
“We have a seasoned squad, but other schools will reap the same benefits from the covid year,” said Razorbacks men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “We can’t wait to go to Columbia, to run to see what we’re made of and see if we’re good enough to be conference champions.”
Recently, Arkansas placed third at the Florida State Invitational Pre-National tournament behind reigning National Champion Northern Arizona and tying Colorado’s runner-up, then moved up to 6th. of the national ranking.
Arkansas is one of three nationally ranked schools in the conference, along with No. 22 Alabama and No. 28 Ole Miss.
“We have a tough line to pull in the SEC championships because there are a lot of great athletes in our league,” Bucknam said. “Certainly Ole Miss and Alabama are formidable adversaries. We have to be good that day if we are to beat them.
Since 2012, when the league got bigger with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, Arkansas has won seven of the last nine titles, with a second and third place the other two years.
Ole Miss won two titles in 2018 and 2019 during this span, while finishing second three times and third twice. Alabama has finished third twice, in 2017 and 2019.
Razorback Amon Kemboi led the team to Tallahassee, placing 10e. Earlier in the season, Gilbert Boit and Kemboi finished with the same time, placing 1-2, in the battle from Boston College to Beantown, Arkansas winning the tag team title.
“We got our feet wet in the pre-nationals and that was the goal of this competition, to participate in a really tough competition and to harden our shell a bit, mentally and physically, to compete in the future for these two. championships, the SEC meet and then the NCAA championships, ”Bucknam noted.
Boit, the 2018 SEC champion, and Kemboi, who led the team in 2020 by placing fifth in the SEC meet, are two of five Razorbacks returning from the Arkansas top seven in the conference meet. last year. They are joined by Jacob McLeod, Emmanuel Cheboson and Andrew Kibet.
Cheboson and Kibet alternated as third and fourth Razorback finishers in the Boston College meet, placing fifth and sixth, and the Pre-National Invitational, finishing 27e and 31st. McLeod, the third Razorback finisher in the SEC 2020 meeting, was the fifth Razorback in Boston and the sixth in the pre-national meet.
Myles Richter and Ryan Murphy were in the Razorback’s top seven in 2019, placing second and fourth on the team with Richter 18e overall and Murphy 27e. They were the eighth and ninth UA finisher in 2020, with Murphy placing 22sd and Richter 23rd.
Richter has led Arkansas this season with second places at the Missouri Opener on the Gans Creek course and the Chile Pepper Festival. Then he was the fifth Razorback, placing 44e overall, in the pre-national invitation.
Josh Shearer and Elias Schreml also run for the Razorbacks in the conference meet. Shearer has played a pair of SEC fixtures as it will be Schreml’s debut.
South central | 1. Arkansas, 4. LSU, 5. Texas A&M
South | 2. Alabama, 3. Mississippi, 7. Tennessee, 9. Florida, 12. Georgia, 14. Auburn, 15. Vanderbilt
South East | 7. Kentucky