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Arkansas Places 4 Runners in Top 20 to Claim 1

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Places 4 Runners in Top 20 to Claim 1
AMES, Iowa. – Braving temperatures in the teens and a wind-chill factor below zero, four members of the University of Arkansas men’s cross country team placed among the first 25 finishers Monday as the Razorbacks claimed their 11th cross country national championship and third in a row at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at the Iowa State Cross Country Course in Ames, Iowa.

Monday’s cross country championship was third in a row for the Razorbacks and marked UA’s 36th national championship in men’s cross country and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field – all of which have come during the tenure of head coach John McDonnell.

Ranked third in the MONDO Cross Country Poll released Nov. 13, the Razorbacks scored 83 points to edge top-ranked Colorado’s 94 points. One year after winning the 1999 title by an NCAA-record 127-point margin, this year’s 11-point advantage marked the Hogs’ narrowest margin of victory in an NCAA cross country championship since a 10-point win over Arizona for their first title in 1984.

“I told our guys before the race that we had the best five in America, but that’s all we had,” McDonnell said. “I told them, ‘If all five of you do it, then we will win it.’ And that’s what we did. We did exactly what we planned to do. We got out in the beginning, stayed up in the pack. In the end we faded a little bit, but then we came back. They did what they had to do.”

McDonnell knew the Razorbacks were in for a hard-fought race, but said his squad remained focused on taking care of business rather than worrying about what other teams would do “We don’t look for anybody. I thought we had to have five runners finish in the top 30 and that is exactly what we did. I have to hand it to those guys. When you have a complete program like we do, it’s hard to have a good cross country team. But we had only the five, and that’s all it took.”

Competing in his last race at UA, senior James Karanu was the first Razorback to finish line, completing the 10,000-meter course in 30:42.7 to score 10 points for the Hogs. Karanu was followed seconds later by UA senior Sharif Karie, who finished 13th overall and scored 12 points with a time of 30:45.4, and senior Murray Link, who finished 16th overall and scored 14 points with a time of 30:47.9.

Arkansas’ Daniel Lincoln turned in the race’s second-fastest time by a freshman, placing 24th overall with a 30:56.8 that was good for 20 points in the team standings. Junior Ryan Travis rounded out the scoring for the Razorbacks as the fifth UA runner to finish, posting a 31:02.8 to finish 34th overall and score 27 points.

“The wind was really bad and it really did affect the race,” Link said. “Once we turned into the wind, guys would fall back and then somebody else would step up. That was how the race was won.”

“We had a good, conditioned team and that made the difference,” McDonnell said. “That was our strongest part. The farther the race went, the better we got.”

Other UA finishers included junior Mark Thompson (31:49.7 – 110th overall) and senior Frans Schimper (32:20.5 – 172nd overall).

The Hogs won their 11th NCAA cross country title at the same course on which they earned their eighth title. In 1995, Godfrey Siamusiye won the first of his two-consecutive individual NCAA titles to help the Razorbacks edge Northern Arizona 100-142.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” McDonnell said. “The last time we won here with Godfrey and a lot of freshmen. That was great but this one might be better because we didn’t have a great guy up front, but we had a bunch of guys who wanted to win.”

“It was cold and miserable,” Karie said. “I cannot compare it to the weather in Arkansas. Last week and this week it was kind of cold (in Fayetteville), but compared to this, it’s a piece of cake. We were prepared and knew we could do it. We stick together and help each other through the race and that is how we win.”

The cross country title is the first leg of Arkansas’ quest for its sixth national triple crown. The Razorbacks will try to take the next step when UA hosts the 2001 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships March 9-10 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.

NCAA MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY CROSS COUNTRY COURSE * AMES, IOWA
NOV. 20, 2000
TEAM RESULTS
PLACE–TEAM–POINTS
1.–ARKANSAS–83
2.–Colorado–94
3.–Providence–121
4.–Stanford–149
5.–Wisconsin–167
6.–Villanova–181
T7.–Georgetown–269
T7.–Northern Arizona–269
9.–Notre Dame–276
10.–William & Mary–363
11.–North Carolina State–390
12.–Arizona–419
13.–Oklahoma State–434
14.–Ohio State–445
15.–Iona–461
16.–Air Force–467
17.–Indiana–479
18.–Wake Forest–488
19.–Weber State–493
20.–Eastern Michigan–502
21.–Colorado State–520
22.–Texas–533
23.–Brigham Young–541
24.–Minnesota–542
25.–Dartmouth–551
26.–Nebraska–623
27.–Missouri–649
28.–Alabama–681
29.–Illinois State–700
30.–South Florida–734
31.–Duke–742

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (TOP 20 ONLY)
PLACE–INDIVIDUAL (SCHOOL)–TIME–SCORE
1.–Keith Kelly (Providence)–30:14.5–1
2.–Stephen Ondieki (Farleigh Dickenson)–30:16.3—-
3.–Jorge Torres (Colorado)–30:21.4–2
4.–David Kimani (Alabama)–30:31.6–3
5.–Franklyn Sanchez (Georgetown)–30:26.9–4
6.–Ian Connor (Ohio State)–30:29.0–5
7.–Luke Watson (Notre Dame)–30:29.4–6
8.–Jason Vanderhoof (Wisconsin)–30:30.2–7
9.–Adrian Blincoe (Villanova)–30:32.0–8
10.–Jonathon Riley (Stanford)–30:40.6–9
11.–JAMES KARANU (ARKANSAS)–30:42.7–10
12.–Hamish Thorpe (Providence)–30:43.8–11
13.–SHARIF KARIE (ARKANSAS)–30:45.4–12
14.–Fraser Thompson (Butler)–30:46.0—-
15.–Bryan Berryhill (Colorado State)–30:46.8–13
16.–MURRAY LINK (ARKANSAS)–30:47.9–14
17.–Mark Pilja (Michigan)–30:48.5—-
18.–Steve Bohan (West Virginia)–30:51.6—-
19.–Steve Slattery (Colorado)–30:52.1–15
20.–Dermot Galvin (Providence)–30:52.3–16

OTHER ARKANSAS FINISHERS
PLACE–INDIVIDUAL (SCHOOL)–TIME–SCORE
24.–DANIEL LINCOLN (ARKANSAS)–30:56.8–20
34.–RYAN TRAVIS (ARKANSAS)–31:02.8–27
110.–MARK THOMPSON (ARKANSAS)–31:49.7–*88
172.–FRANS SCHIMPER (ARKANSAS)–32:20.5–*140
* – score did not count toward final team score



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