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2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship Notes

BY ANDRES FOCIL
2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship Notes

ARKANSAS SEEKS 12th NCAA CROWN: When the Razorback harriers travel to Terre Haute, Ind., they will be in search of their 12th NCAA Cross Country Championship and 42nd NCAA title overall. Arkansas is a strong contender as it enters the meet ranked second in the nation, carrying a solid group of runners.

The last time Arkansas won a championship was in 2000 at Ames, Iowa, but the Hogs have still won more NCAA cross country titles than any other school.

THE RAZORBACKS: Even though each school can only enter seven athletes into the NCAA Championships Arkansas has such a deep team that it is bringing nine runners to Terre Haute, Ind. A decision will be made on race day as to which Razorbacks will go to the line.

UA’s traveling squad includes seniors Josphat Boit, Josh Robles and Marc Rodrigues, juniors Peter Kosgei, Adam Perkins and Seth Summerside, sophomore Shawn Forrest, freshman Chris Barnicle and Kenny Cormier.

THE FIELD: Joining Arkansas on the NCAA Championship course will be 30 additional schools. UA is one of four SEC teams being represented in Indiana. Alabama, Florida and Tennessee will also be making the trip.

American, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Butler, Colorado, Dartmouth, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Indiana, Iona, Iowa, Kansas, Loyola (Illinois), Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Portland, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UTEP, Virginia, Washington, William & Mary and Wisconsin comprise the rest of the competitors.

UNDEFEATED: So far in 2005 the Razorbacks are undefeated, having captured the team title at seven meets, including the Arkansas Invitational, Missouri Southern Stampede, Iona College Meet of Champions, Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree, Chile Pepper Invitational, SEC and NCAA South Central Regional Championships. They will look to keep that winning streak alive at nationals.

ALL-TIME NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER: The University of Arkansas has won more NCAA Division I-A national titles than any other school in collegiate sports history.

The Hogs have earned 11 national championships including three-straight team titles from 1998-2000. Michigan State ranks second with eight while UTEP has won seven. Oregon (4), Stanford (4) and Villanova (4) round out the top five.

Combined with the 18 national championships in indoor track and field and the 12 outdoor track and field national titles, the Razorbacks have captured 41 national crowns. All 41 championships have come under coach John McDonnell.

LONG STORIED NCAA HISTORY: Arkansas will be making its 36th appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships when the Hogs take to the course on Monday.

The Razorbacks have appeared in 31-straight championships dating back to 1974. Only Wisconsin (32) boasts a current string of appearances longer than Arkansas.

The Hogs have captured an NCAA record 11 national championships including three-straight in 1998-2000. Arkansas has also earned four second-place finishes, four third-place showings and three fifth-place outings.

INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS: Arkansas’ team success at the NCAA Championships hasn’t only been in the team competition. The Hogs boast three NCAA individual champions, including a back-to-back winner.

Joe Falcon was the Razorbacks’ first individual NCAA champion after finishing in 29:14.97 at a meet hosted by the University of Virginia in 1987.

Godfrey Siamusiye is the only two-time individual winner in UA history. Siamusiye captured the individual crown in 1995 with a 30:09 pace at Ames, Iowa. He then defended his title in 1996 in Tucson, Ariz., with a time of 29:49.

Arkansas’ three individual titles rank in a tie for fifth among NCAA teams. Washington State (7), Kansas (5), Colorado (4) and Oregon (4) rank ahead of the Razorbacks, while Indiana (3) and UTEP (3) are tied with the Hogs in that category.

LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The second-ranked Razorbacks had high hopes of claiming their 12th national title at the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships with three runners finishing in the top 25 of the 10K race, but ended up finishing in third place. Arkansas endured very muddy course conditions at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course to tally 202 points.

Junior transfer Josphat Boit led the Razorback team, but saw his undefeated season come to an end when he posted a third-place performance in a time of 30:41.

Senior Jason Sandfort served as UA’s second man and garnered his fourth-career All-America honor when he crossed the line in 20th (31:26).

Junior transfer Marc Rodrigues was next in 25th (31:33). The Johannesburg, South Africa product brought home an All-America honor with his performance. Freshman Shawn Forrest was UA’s fourth man in 92nd place with a time of 32:29. Junior Matt Gunn rounded out the scoring five and was 136th (32:58).

In his first national championship race sophomore Adam Perkins turned in a time of 33:28 for 187th place. Junior Said Ahmed was unable to finish the race after he dropped out at 2,000 meters.

TRACK & FIELD NEWS’ CROSS COUNTRY PREDICTIONS: In Track & Field News’ October edition the monthly publication released its 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship predictions and Arkansas fared very well. The Razorbacks were picked to finish in second place, behind last year’s national runner-up Wisconsin.

Junior Peter Kosgei was the favorite to win the individual national title. Kosgei was fourth at last year’s NCAA Division II meet and is coming off solid track campaigns after he garnered four All-America honors. Senior Josphat Boit, who finished third in 2004, was predicted to finish fifth.

KNOCKING OFF RANKED TEAMS: So far this season Arkansas has beaten seven nationally ranked teams by significant margins of victory, including Alabama (50 points), Arizona (36 points), Florida (64 points), Iona College (57 points), Oklahoma State (70 points), Texas (13 points) and UTEP (37 points).

ARkansas No. 1: For the first time in five years the Arkansas cross country team gained a No. 1 national ranking. The Hogs first reached this status when the United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) released its poll on Oct. 4. Arkansas stayed on top of the poll until Nov. 1, when Wisconsin retook the No. 1 position.

CONFERENCE DOMINATION: With Arkansas’ victory at the 2005 SEC Championships, the Razorbacks extended one of the most impressive streaks in collegiate athletics.

The last time Arkansas didn’t win the conference crown was in 1973 when the Hogs finished second to Texas in a race at Austin, Texas. Coach John McDonnell led his Razorbacks to a win in 1974 and the program hasn’t looked back since.

Overall, the Hogs have won a combined 77 conference titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field since McDonnell arrived in Fayetteville.

SEC RECORD STREAK: Arkansas’ 15-consecutive SEC cross country titles isn’t only the longest such league run in that sport, it is also one of the longest streaks by any team in any sport in league history.

Prior to Arkansas’ entrance into the SEC, Tennessee won 15-consecutive league outdoor track and field titles from 1964-78. The Razorbacks have won every cross country title since entering the league 15 years ago.

The Hogs’ current streak of 15-straight league crowns is the longest current league streak in any sport. Auburn is second with nine-consecutive swimming and diving championships.

ALL-SEC PERFORMERS: Six Razorbacks harriers garnered All-SEC accolades with their performances at the SEC Championships on Oct. 29 in Columbia, S.C. Senior Josphat Boit led the team when he finished in first place and sophomore Shawn Forrest was next in third.

Freshman Kenny Cormier grabbed fourth place and senior Marc Rodrigues followed in seventh. Junior Peter Kosgei crossed the line in eighth place and junior Adam Perkins was the final Hog to gain the honor in 13th place.

McDONNELL & BOIT EARN SEC AWARDS: On Nov. 17 the SEC announced its annual cross country awards and Arkansas received recognition for its outstanding season when head coach John McDonnell was named the Coach of the Year and senior Josphat Boit was selected as Athlete of the Year. It marked the second-straight year the two awards had gone to UA and for McDonnell it was his 11th-consecutive Coach of the Year accolade and 14th overall since Arkansas entered the SEC in 1991.

THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Arkansas men’s cross country team stayed at No. 2 for the second-straight week when the final United States Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USCCCA) MONDO poll was released on Nov. 15. The Razorbacks received 467 points and three first place votes.

Last year’s runner-up, Wisconsin, held onto the top spot with 13 first-place votes and 477 points. Colorado, the 2004 NCAA champion, tallied 445 points for third place and Arizona jumped up to No. 4 with 421 points. Notre Dame remained steady in fifth with 414 points.

Other SEC schools ranked in the top 30 include Alabama at No. 11, Florida at No. 20 and Tennessee at No. 30.

FOLLOWING ARKANSAS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

Date Rank First Place Votes Points

September 12 3rd 3 460 points

September 20 3rd 3 455 points

September 27 2nd 4 465 points

October 4 1st9 473 points

October 18 1st12 476 points

November 1 2nd 4 468 points

November 15 2nd 3 467 points

BOit picks up league accolade: Senior All-American Josphat Boit was named the SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week after he turned in a fantastic performance at Oklahoma State’s Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 1. The league accolade is the fourth of his career as a Razorback.

The Eldoret, Kenya native endured very muddy conditions in the 8K race, but went on to capture and defend the individual title in a time of 24:33. Boit finished ahead of 238 other runners and it marked his seventh-career first-place finish. By winning the contest Boit helped Arkansas claim its fourth-straight team victory for the year with 42 points.

SUMMERSIDE RECOGNIZED BY SEC: Junior Seth Summerside earned SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after he was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., on Sept. 17. This league accolade is the first of Summerside’s career as a UA athlete.

The competition was the Joplin, Mo., native’s first 8K race as a Razorback and he gained runner-up honors in a field of over 300 athletes. After he crossed the finish line he had recorded a then personal-best time of 24:09 and his fantastic performance also helped lead five other Hogs to finish in the top 10 as UA easily took the team title with 23 points.

RETURNING RAZORBACKS: Arkansas is loaded with leadership and has a total of eight returning lettermen this year, including six seniors that hope to lead the Hogs to a successful cross country season.

Senior Josphat boit had a breakout season in his first year as a Razorback. He went undefeated through five meets, before going on to earn an All-America honor with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. He is one of the nation’s top returnees and will look to claim the top spot in 2005.

Senior Marc Rodrigues is another All-American and was UA’s third scorer at nationals (25th). He will be counted on to be a solid member of the top-five lineup.

Boit and Rodrigues will be challenged by one of their own teammates, junior Peter Kosgei, who finished fourth at the 2004 NCAA Division II Championships. Kosgei came to UA in January and missed last year’s cross country season. He performed very well on the track, racking up four SEC titles and four All-America accolades.

Sophomore Shawn Forrest exploded onto the scene as a freshman and gained valuable experience running at the SEC (2nd) and NCAA Championships (92nd).

Senior SAID AHMED has one final season of eligibility remaining and with his talent on the track he has the potential to be an excellent cross country runner. Senior LUIS BORDES is ready to contribute again after he picked up his first All-SEC accolade on the trails last year.

Senior Jose Campos and junior Adam Perkins really stepped up during the track seasons and are ready to carry that momentum over as they prepare for cross country.

Sophomores Tyler Hill and Jonathan Norris were solid contributors as redshirt freshmen and have done nothing but improve since last year.

Junior Seth Summerside did not compete in cross country in 2004, but had an outstanding track season and he is looking forward to showing his abilities on the trails.

NEWCOMERS IMPACT PROGRAM: True freshmen Chris Barnicle and Kenny Cormier have wasted little time in putting their mark on the program.

Cormier has a loaded resume with the Foot Locker West and National Cross Country Championships to his credit. Barnicle is just as impressive with a sixth-place finish at nationals as the Mideast Champion and his high school cross country team in Newton, Mass., never lost a league meet while he was on the squad. Barnicle and Cornier have both already contributed as top five scorers.

TOTAL PROGRAM: In an era when many major schools allot a majority of their scholarships to either cross country, indoor or outdoor track, exclusively, Arkansas continues to compete at the highest level in all three sports.

The Razorbacks have won a total of 41 national championships including 11 in cross country, 18 in indoor track and field and 12 in outdoor track and field. In that same time span, Arkansas has captured 77 conference championships including 32 in cross country, 24 in indoor track and field and 21 outdoor track titles.

In 11 of the last 15 years, Arkansas has earned at least two national championships in the same season. The Razorbacks have won the national triple crown five times (1984-85, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1998-99).

Download: 2005 NCAA Notes.pdf



Sports Category : Cross Country (M)