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THE FIELD: A total of 11 Southeastern Conference schools boast cross country programs and they will all be in Columbia, S.C., for the 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships.
Joining Arkansas on the course will be Auburn, No. 20 Alabama, No. 8 Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. Host school, South Carolina, does not field a men’s team.
TV COVERAGE: The 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships will be highlighted on SEC-TV at 5:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 3.
HIGHLIGHT FEED: A satellite highlight feed of the 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships will be available on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3:30 p.m. CT. The feed will be 15 minutes long. The coordinates are C-Band, Intelsat A-5 C13 (UL: 6185 MHz H; DL: 3960 Mhz V). The trouble number is (704) 632-7520.
A PERFECT 10: For the second-straight year the SEC is allowing schools to enter 10 athletes into the cross country championships. Arkansas will take Chris Barnicle, Josphat Boit, Kenny Cormier, Shawn Forrest, Tyler Hill, Peter Kosgei, Adam Perkins, Josh Robles, Marc Rodrigues and Seth Summerside.
RAZORBACKS TO SEEK 32nd CONSECUTIVE CROWN: Arkansas will be looking to extend one of the longest tenured championship streaks in collegiate athletic history when the Razorbacks take to the course for the SEC Cross Country Championships.
The Hogs are favored to capture their 32nd consecutive conference cross country title including their 15th straight since entering the SEC in 1991. Arkansas won 17 consecutive Southwest Conference cross country crowns from 1974-90.
DEFENDING HIS TITLE: Senior Josphat Boit is entering the 2005 SEC Championships as the defending champion and is aiming to become only the third UA athlete to win two-straight SEC titles. Godfrey Siamusiye (1995-96) and Michael Power (1998-99) are the other two Hogs to have a pair of victories.
Three additional Razorbacks have gained two-consecutive championships before Arkansas entered the SEC, including Jim Brown (1950-51), Raymond Dyck (1957-58) and Brian Baker (1990-91), while Mark Anderson captured the crown in 1978 and again in 1980.
CONFERENCE DOMINATION: With Arkansas’ victory at the 2004 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 76 conference titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field since McDonnell arrived in Fayetteville.
SEC RECORD STREAK: Arkansas’ 14-consecutive SEC cross country titles isn’t only the longest such league run in that sport, it is also the second longest streak 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. Arkansas’ current string trails only that streak in SEC history. The Razorbacks have won every cross country title since entering the league 14 years ago.
The Hogs’ current streak of 14-straight league crowns is the longest current league streak in any sport. Auburn is second with nine-consecutive swimming and diving championships.
LAST YEAR AT THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Razorbacks continued to add to the longest tenured championship streaks in collegiate athletics’ history as they took the trophy at the 2004 SEC Championships in front of a hometown crowd in Fayetteville.
Arkansas earned its 14th-straight SEC crown since entering the league in 1991 and its 31st-consecutive conference crown. UA tallied 23 points when its five scoring runners finished in the top nine.
Junior transfer JOSPHAT Boit remained undefeated for the season when he became the first Razorback since Michael Power in 1999 to claim the individual championship with a season-best time of 23:09.
In his first time to race in an Arkansas jersey freshman Shawn Forrest garnered runner-up honors (23:20). Junior transfer Marc Rodrigues finished in fourth place with a season-best time of 23:33. Senior Jason Sandfort recorded a career-best time of 23:44 for seventh place.
Junior Matt Gunn served as UA’s final scorer when he came in ninth place with a career-best time of 23:57. Junior Said Ahmed recorded a career-best time of 24:04 for 12th place. Junior Luis Bordes finished in 14th place with a personal-best performance of 24:08.
Additional Razorbacks competing included freshman Jonathan Norris who came in 20th (24:24), junior Jose Campos in 30th (24:43) and senior Eric Gross in 41st (24:54).
KNOCKING OFF RANKED TEAMS: So far this season Arkansas has beaten five nationally ranked teams by significant margins of victory, including No. 7 Arizona (36 points), No. 10 UTEP (37 points), No. 20 Alabama (41 points), No. 21 Iona College (57 points) and No. 25 Oklahoma State (70 points).
ARkansas No. 1: For the first time in five years the Razorback cross country team is ranked No. 1. The Hogs first reached this status when the United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) released its poll on Oct. 4. Arkansas received nine first-place votes and 473 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 who is ready to contribute again. Rodrigues was UA’s third scorer at nationals (25th) and 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). He will be aiming for a solid campaign.
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: The quality of depth for this year’s eight newcomers is certainly something to marvel at and they are ready to put their mark on the program.
Freshman Kenny Cormier has a loaded resume with the Foot Locker West and National Cross Country Championships to his credit. Freshman Chris 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 at the Meet of Champions and Cowboy Jamboree, respectively.
Freshmen Daniel LaCava and Scott MacPherson also had strong showings at the Foot Locker national meet, posting top-40 showings. Both were solid prep milers and are eager to showcase their talent in cross country.
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 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.
The league accolade is the fourth of his career as a Razorback and the second for a UA athlete this season. Teammate junior Seth Summerside was given the honor on Sept. 19.
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, even though he has yet to make his cross country debut as a Hog. 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.
SUMMERSIDE RECOGNIZED BY SEC: Junior Seth Summerside earned Southeastern Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after he was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., on Sept. 17.
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 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.
This league accolade is the first of Summerside’s career as a UA athlete. He did not compete during the 2004 cross country campaign as a transfer from Missouri-Kansas City, but came on strong during indoor and outdoor track.
THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Arkansas men’s cross country team continued to hold onto the No. 1 spot in the latest United States Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USCCCA) MONDO poll released on Oct. 18. The Razorbacks received 476 points and more first place votes, increasing their total to 12. In the last poll the Hogs were given nine first place nods.
UA has established itself as the clear frontrunner to take the team title, as last year’s runner-up, Wisconsin, has four first-place votes and 459 points. Colorado, the 2004 NCAA champion, tallied 452 points and Stanford moved up to No. 4 with 432 points. Notre Dame also climbed to the No. 5 position with 404 points.
Other SEC schools ranked in the top 30 include Florida at No. 8 and Alabama at No. 20. Arkansas and Texas (No. 12) remain the only two teams from the South Central Region to be nationally ranked.
The 2005 season has seen Arkansas steadily climb the rankings. In the Sept. 13 preseason poll the Hogs debuted at No. 3 and stayed there for an additional week. After a dominating performance against talented northeastern teams at Iona College’s Meet of Champions UA was moved up to No. 2. In Stillwater, Okla., Arkansas sent only six competitors to run in the Cowboy Jamboree, but still easily won the team title and showed it deserved to be at the top. By beating the sixth and 11th-ranked teams at the Chile Pepper Invitational, UA strengthened its case for staying No. 1.
FOLLOWING ARKANSAS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Date Rank First Place Votes Points
September 123rd 3 460 points
September 20 3rd 3 455 points
September 27 2nd 4 465 points
October 4 1st 9 473 points
October 18 1st 12 476 points
THE REGIONAL RANKINGS: For the fifth-consecutive week Arkansas has been ranked No. 1 in the South Central Region. Texas is at No. 2, followed by Texas A&M in third place. Rice is fourth and Stephen F. Austin is fifth.
The NCAA Regional Championships will once again be hosted by Baylor in Waco, Texas on Nov. 12. Runners will compete on the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course and only the top two teams will be given an automatic berth to the national championships.
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.
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 76 conference championships including 31 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 SEC Notes.pdf