GAINESVILLE Fla. – The No. 2 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team overwhelmingly defeated the field to claim the program’s 14th Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship on Friday. Arkansas scored a total of 32 points with seven finishers in the top 25 spots. Texas A&M came in second place with a score of 123 points.
Sophomore Dominique Scott
was at the front of the lead pack at the two-mile mark with a time of 10:53.97 before taking the lead for good after three miles and crossing the finish line at 20:02.81 for the third-fastest time ever at the SEC Championships meet.
“I’m very excited, but today was all about the team,” Scott said. “We’ve had a lot of unfortunate SECs, especially in cross country recently, and we were determined to not let that happen again today. Myself, as well as the rest of my teammates, we all just put 110 percent effort on the start line and throughout the race, and it really paid off. I’m so excited for the team.”
In second place, junior Shannon Klenke
crossed at 20:10.62 followed closely by teammate Grace Heymsfield
with a time of 20:11.77 to ensure the Razorbacks a sweep of the medals with a one-two-three finish.
The Razorbacks would continue to cross the line as senior Stephanie Brown
was Arkansas’ fourth finisher with a time of 20:50.01, good for 12th place. Freshman Sandie Raines
finished in 14th place and made the scoring lineup for the fifth time this season at a time of 20:56.43.
Juniors Paige Johnston
and Diane Robison
were next to cross the line with times of 21:12.52 and 21:15.47, respectively, to make seven Razorbacks in the top 25 of a field of 119 runners.
“It’s always nice to win. The SEC is a little bit of a chameleon of a meet,” head coach Lance Harter
said. “You can go in as a favorite, you can go in with all of the laurels that have accumulated in the course of the season, but once the gun goes off at the SEC meet anything can happen, and it’s happened repetitively. We’ve been in a situation where we go in as a favorite, we get knocked off by Vanderbilt; we go in as a favorite, Florida wins it. It’s one of those times where you just don’t take anything for granted. I think the kids this year really had a mission in mind from the very get-go. Way back at our training camp, they sat down and said goal number one is to win SECs and so we’ve been able to get that on the board. Now it’s onto regionals and obviously I think we’re in pretty good shape for the national meet.”
For their efforts during the race, Scott, Klenke and Heymsfield earned All-SEC first team honors while Brown earned a spot on the second team. Raines doubled-up with a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team and a All-SEC second team honor.
finished in 34th place with a time of 21:34.37 followed by Regan Ward
in 59th place with a time of 22:08.77 and Keri Wood
in 62nd place and a time of 22:12.31 to finish out the race for the Razorbacks.
For more information on Arkansas women’s cross country, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.