GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After a one-two-three finish, the No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s cross country team took home its fourth-straight Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship on a warm Friday morning in Gainesville. The win for the Razorbacks marked the 21st SEC Championship in 23 years.
Senior Kemoy Campbell
jumped out to the lead at the beginning of the race and separated himself from the field at the one-mile mark with a time of 4:26. Campbell went on to finish in a SEC Championship record time of 22:58.73, beating the previous record by Arkansas’ Josphat Boit in 2004 with a time of 23:09.91. His time was also a course record at the Mark Bostick Golf Course, which he shattered the previous time of 23:34.0.
“It’s a really good feeling to win the SEC Championship,” Campbell said. “Last year I didn’t get it, so this year I came back stronger thinking I’d win it. That was the whole plan, and I actually executed the plan really well. It’s been a good season so far.”
Coming in second place, junior Stanley Kebenei
crossed the line almost 15 seconds ahead of his teammate and Arkansas’ third finisher Solomon Haile
. Kebenei and Haile led the chase pack throughout the whole race before finally pulling ahead at the end to finish with times of 23:40.12 and 23:54.87, respectively. The next finisher in the race was three seconds behind Haile.
The Razorbacks would continue to streak across the finish line, as sophomore Gabe Gonzales finished fourth in the Arkansas lineup and 10th overall with a time of 24:13.43. 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year Cale Wallace crossed the line in 15th place to round out the Razorbacks scoring lineup with a time of 24:25.18.
“We had a good meet. We’ve been preparing for the SEC meet all year,” head coach Chris Bucknam
said. “You know I said it last week and I’ll say it again, this is the most important meet of the year for us. This SEC Championship, we don’t take it lightly. Yeah, we want to do well at nationals, but this is the meet that we point toward and it is really special for us to hoist another SEC trophy.”
For their efforts during the race, Campbell, Kebenei and Haile each earned a spot on the 2013 All-SEC first team, while Gonzales earned a spot on the All-SEC second team.
Sophomore Patrick Rono
and senior David Flynn
would cross in the middle of the chase pack in 18th and 19th place with times of 24:33.90 and 24:35.00, respectively. That would make a total of seven Razorbacks to finish in the top 20 out of a field of 114 competitors.
Senior Raymond Joseph
finished in 48th place with a time of 25:29.40 followed by freshman Noah Findlay
in 61st place with a time of 25:43.35. Aidan Swain
was the last Razorback to cross the line in 84th place with a time of 26:16.19.
For more information on Arkansas men’s cross country, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.