The 2010 Arkansas Razorback men’s cross country team returns 16 student-athletes from the 2009 season, including 10 letterwinners, with talent, dedication and ability. Head coach Chris Bucknam has the benefit of four standout seniors leading his quad in 2010.
Seniors Lane Boyer, Michael Chinchar, Patrick Russell and Dorian Ulrey have the experience, leadership qualities and skills to lead the squad and mentor Arkansas’ younger runners.
"We are very fortunate to have four excellent seniors on this team," Bucknam said. "This is a squad we have been working towards for the past few seasons and we are really excited about the possibilities for this team."
Boyer was named the SEC Runner of the Week after his runner-up finish at the Missouri Southern Stampede, earned his first All-SEC honor with an eighth-place finish at the SEC Championships and received the second all-region honor of his career with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships.
Ulrey was the top Arkansas finisher in all four races he competed in during the season and didn’t finish lower than sixth in a race. He earned SEC Runner of the Week honors after a fourth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival, All-SEC honors at the SEC Championships, won the individual title at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships and finished sixth at the NCAA National Championships. He received his first career All-America certificate and was named the 2009 NCAA South Central Region Runner of the Year.
Juniors Rick Elliott and Duncan Phillips and sophomores Eric Fernandez and Solomon Haile will also add a big boost to Arkansas’ scoring five.
"In addition to our strong senior class, we also have some excellent underclassmen with tons of racing experience," Bucknam said. "Duncan Phillips is back from redshirting in 2009 and he’ll add an immediate boost to our squad. We have lots of guys that have been racing since their time as true freshmen. There’s no replacement for race experience at the SEC and NCAA levels."
Elliott was Arkansas’ fourth finisher and 19th overall at the SEC Championships. He went on to compete at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships where his performance earned him the first all-region honor of his career.
Haile made his Razorback debut with a race win at the Arkansas Invitational. He earned multiple SEC Freshman Runner of the Week honors and at the SEC Championships, he finished ninth overall and third among the Hogs. Haile was the top freshman finisher which earned him SEC Freshman Runner of the Year honors and a spot on the All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman teams. He was the runner-up at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships, qualifying him for the NCAA Championships. He ended the season with a 48th-place finish and 10K time of 30:27.8 at the NCAA Championships.
Sophomores Cameron Efurd and Aaron Hamilton and redshirt freshmen Omar Abdi and Drew Butler add depth to the Razorbacks’ line up.
Newcomers Tom Cattin-Masson, Bryan Cantero and Dey Tuach are some of the top incoming distance student-athletes in the NCAA. Tuach is a transfer from Rend Lake College, Cattin-Masson from Texas Tech and Cantero an incoming freshman from Aoste, France.
Cantero holds prep bests of 1:50.08 in the 800 meters and 3:41 in the 1,500 meters. He finished eighth at the 2009 European Cross Country Championships and 51st at the 2010 World Junior Cross Country Championships. At the 2010 World Junior Championships, he finished 10th in the finals of the 1,500 meters.
Tuach competed in two seasons of cross country and one season of indoor and outdoor track and field. He helped Rend Lake College to the 2009 NJCAA Cross Country team title by placing 11th for a spot on the NJCAA All-America team. He earned a bronze finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2009 NJCAA Outdoor Championships and a runner-up finish in the 800 meters at the 2009 NJCAA Indoor Championships. He holds bests of 1:47 in the 800 meters, 3:48 in the 1,500 meters, 24:14 over 8K and 30:24 in the 10K.
Also joining the squad are true freshmen Toby Bothwell (Oklahoma City, Okla./Westmoore HS) and Tyler Bradley (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and redshirt-freshman transfer Caleb Hanson (Fort Smith, Ark./Southside HS/UALR).
"Our incoming class is really strong," Bucknam said. "We have guys coming in with tons of international race experience that will really be the difference maker come time for our championships season."
The Razorbacks will open the season with a home meet at Agri Park on Friday, Sept. 3. Saturday, Sept. 18 holds a meet at Missouri Southern and, on Saturday, Sept. 25, a meet at Stanford. Arkansas will host its second home meet of the season with the Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The championships portion of the season will start Monday, Nov. 1 with the SEC Championships, in Columbia, S.C., on the campus of the University of South Carolina. The NCAA South Central Regional Championships will be held Saturday, Nov. 13, in Waco Texas, at Baylor University. The season will wrap with the NCAA Championships, Monday, Nov. 22, in Terre Haute, Ind., on the campus of Indiana State University.