Arkansas Takes Young Squad to OSU Cowboy Jambo
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The fourth-ranked Arkansas cross country team will take part in its third meet of the season when it travels to Stillwater, Okla., on October 4, for the OSU Cowboy Jamboree. The Razorbacks plan to use the 8K race as an opportunity to boast a full squad and see how they measure up against quality conference and national opponents.
“We’re taking a lot of bodies, but hopefully five or six will step and do well,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I’ve been really encouraged by the younger guys. They’re everything I thought they would be and more. Next year is going to be even better for them.”
A total of 12 athletes will represent UA, including senior Chris Mulvaney, juniors Eric Gross and Jason Sandfort, sophomores Luis Bordes, Matt Gunn, James Hatch and Michael Taylor, and freshmen Josh Harper, Jonathan Norris, Adam Perkins, Mike Poe and Sam Vazquez.
Sandfort has had an excellent start this year. He has already set two new career-best times, while finishing first (19:53.77) and second (24:20.10) at the Arkansas and Missouri Southern Invitationals, respectively.
Several young runners have also impressed early in the season. Bordes also ran a career-best time of 24:44.50, at the Missouri Southern Invitational as he posted a seventh place finish. Poe was Arkansas’ second man in Joplin, Mo., as he crossed the line in fifth (24:40.90) and Harper was eighth (24:49.80).
For Norris and Vazquez the Jamboree will be the first time the freshmen have run as Razorbacks and will mark only the second meet for Gross and Mulvaney.
Last year the Hogs brought home the team trophy against close competition from Abilene Christian and they hope to do the same this year. On Saturday morning a total of 25 teams and nearly 300 runners will be competing on the OSU Cross Country Course at 9:45 a.m. Arkansas will get the chance to go up against top programs such as, Abilene Christian, Fort Hayes State, Georgia, Kansas, Kansas State, Illinois, Missouri Southern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech and Tulsa.
“Georgia will give us a good idea of how we measure up in the conference,” McDonnell said. “They’ll be running their top guys there. There will also be tough competition again from Abilene Christian and Oklahoma State.”
When the Hogs return from Stillwater, Okla., they will enjoy a week off before they host the Chile Pepper Invitational on October 18, at the Razorback Cross Country Course.
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