– The No. 10 University of Arkansas men’s cross country team races for a spot at the national meet Friday morning with the 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships at Agri Park in Fayetteville. The men’s 10K race is scheduled for a 12:15 p.m. (CT) start. The Razorbacks previously hosted the regional meet during the 2007 season.
“The win at the SEC meet kicked off our championship season,” head coach Chris Bucknam
said. “I said before that the SEC meet was the most important meet of the year, but now this regional becomes the most important meet of the year. This serves as a preliminary round to get into the final which is the NCAA Championships. The goal is to qualify.”
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.
The Razorbacks have won 32 regional team titles and 19 regional individual titles. Last season, Arkansas finished third at the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas, and five Razorbacks earned all-region accolades. For his runner-up performance, Eric Fernandez
earned an at-large invitation to the national meet last season. The program’s last individual champion at the regional meet was Dorian Ulrey
Along with Arkansas, the men’s top-15 rankings in the South Central region feature 10 teams that finished in the top three of their respective conference meets and four conference champions with Arkansas, McNeese State, UT-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock. Friday’s meet will also feature defending regional champion Texas and fellow conference mate Texas A&M.
In their last competition, the Razorbacks raced to the team title at the SEC Championships in Nashville, Tenn. The win represented the third-straight conference cross country title for Arkansas and the program’s 20th overall since joining the league in 1991-92. Fernandez, Solomon Haile
and Kemoy Campbell
earned All-SEC First-Team honors while Layne Nixon
and Cale Wallace, the SEC Freshman of the Year, were named to the All-SEC Second 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.