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Arkansas is the defending South Central Regional champion.
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Defending champions take on NCAA regional

Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE – The postseason schedule continues Friday morning for the No. 12 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team with the 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships at Agri Park in Fayetteville. The women’s 6K race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. (CT) start. The Razorbacks previously hosted the regional meet during the 2007 season.

“Now, we turn our attention to the regional meet,” head coach Lance Harter said. “The course is in great shape and the weather is supposed to be perfect. We’re looking forward to some great head-to-head competition with 24 teams in the field, where everyone’s aspirations are to qualify for the national meet.”   

The regional meet serves as a gateway event to the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships, which will be contested Saturday, Nov. 17, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. The top two teams and top four individuals not on an advancing team receive an automatic berth into the national meet. Addition teams and individuals are chosen through an at-large selection process.   

Since the regional meets were first held in 1982, Arkansas has been among the top-three teams every season and been one of the two automatic bids to the NCAA Championships on 22 occasions. Last season, the Razorbacks won the program’s 16th regional team title. Arkansas has won nine individual regional titles spread among six runners. The last Razorback runner to claim the regional title was Andreina Byrd in 2001.

Including the Razorbacks, the women’s top-15 rankings in the South Central region feature eight teams that finished in the top three of their respective conference meet and two league champions in SMU and Stephen F. Austin. Arkansas is the top-ranked team in the region with Texas and SMU rounding out the top three, respectively.

The Razorbacks began their championship season with a runner-up finish at the SEC meet in Nashville, Tenn. For her fifth-place individual finish, Grace Heymsfield earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team. Arkansas also totaled two spots on the All-SEC Second Team with Andrina Schlaepfer in 10th place and Diane Robison in 11th. Schlaepfer, the second freshman to cross the finish line, was also a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team.

The South Central region is comprised of teams from a three-state range—Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas—and consists of programs from eight different conferences in the Big 12, Conference USA, Great West, Southeastern Conference, Southland, Southwestern Athletic Conference, Sun Belt and Western Athletic Conference.

Including Fayetteville, there are nine NCAA Division I regional sites. The other host sites this season are Madison, Wis. (Great Lakes); University Park, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic); Springfield, Mo. (Midwest); Fort Collins, Colo. (Mountain); Madison, Conn. (Northeast); Tallahassee, Fla. (South); Charlotte, N.C. (Southeast); and Seattle, Wash. (West). All nine regional meets will be contested Friday.

For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field with the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition to the Razorbacks’ web site, race results will be posted to BranchSportsTech.com.

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