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Arkansas Cross Country Notes – Chile Pepper Invitational

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Cross Country Notes – Chile Pepper Invitational

***FOR A COMPLETE SET OF NOTES INCLUDING ROSTER, STATISTICS AND RANKINGSCLICK ON THE PDF ICON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE***

For more information about the 2005 Chile Pepper Invitational please visit the official website: http://www.chilepepperfestival.org/

THE FIELD: A total of 34 teams are scheduled to compete in the Chile Pepper Invitational on the Razorback Cross Country Course at Agri-Park on Oct. 15.

Top-ranked Arkansas will play host to one of the most talented fields to grace the 17th annual meet. In addition to UA, two other nationally ranked programs will be making the trip to Fayetteville, including Arizona (No. 6), Texas-El Paso (No. 11). SEC foe, Alabama is also receiving votes and would be ranked No. 31.

Additional schools include Abilene Christian, Alabama, Arkansas-Little Rock, Baker, Baylor, Birmingham-Southern College, Boise State, California, Cameron, East Central, Eastern New Mexico, Evangel, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Miami, Nebraska, New Mexico State, North Texas, Richmond, South Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas-Arlington, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Wichita State and Wyoming.

RETURNING RAZORBACKS: Arkansas is loaded with leadership and has a total of eight returning lettermen this year, including six seniors that hope to lead the Hogs to a successful cross country season.

Senior Josphat boit had a breakout season in his first year as a Razorback. He went undefeated through five meets, before going on to earn an All-America honor with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. He is one of the nation’s top returnees and will look to claim the top spot in 2005.

Senior Marc Rodrigues is another All-American who is ready to contribute again. Rodrigues was UA’s third scorer at nationals (25th) and will be counted on to be a solid member of the top-five lineup.

Boit and Rodrigues will be challenged by one of their own teammates, junior Peter Kosgei, who finished fourth at the 2004 NCAA Division II Championships. Kosgei came to UA in January and missed last year’s cross country season. He performed very well on the track, racking up four SEC titles and four All-America accolades.

Sophomore Shawn Forrest exploded onto the scene as a freshman and gained valuable experience running at the SEC (2nd) and NCAA Championships (92nd). He will be aiming for a solid campaign.

Senior SAID AHMED has one final season of eligibility remaining and with his talent on the track he has the potential to be an excellent cross country runner.

Senior LUIS BORDES is ready to contribute again after he picked up his first All-SEC accolade on the trails last year.

Senior Jose Campos and junior Adam Perkins really stepped up during the track seasons and are ready to carry that momentum over as they prepare for cross country.

Sophomores Tyler Hill and Jonathan Norris were solid contributors as redshirt freshmen and have done nothing but improve since last year. Junior Seth Summerside did not compete in cross country in 2004, but had an outstanding track season and he is looking forward to showing his abilities on the trails.

NEWCOMERS IMPACT PROGRAM: The quality of depth for this year’s eight newcomers is certainly something to marvel at and they are ready to put their mark on the program.

Freshman Kenny Cormier has a loaded resume with the Foot Locker West and National Cross Country Championships to his credit. Freshman Chris Barnicle is just as impressive with a sixth-place finish at nationals as the Mideast Champion and his high school cross country team in Newton, Mass., never lost a league meet while he was on the squad. Barnicle and Cornier have both already contributed as top five scorers at the Meet of Champions and Cowboy Jamboree, respectively.

Freshmen Daniel LaCava and Scott MacPherson also had strong showings at the Foot Locker national meet, posting top-40 showings. Both were solid prep milers and are eager to showcase their talent in cross country.

Additional freshmen that will add depth include Spencer Grimes, Josh Jeter and Rio Reina. All three hail from Texas and are excited to be Razorbacks. Sophomore John Coconis is UA’s lone transfer, coming from the University of Utah.

LAST YEAR AT THE CHILE PEPPER INVITATIONAL: The third-ranked Razorbacks continued their winning ways at the 16th annual Chile Pepper Invitational as they captured the team trophy with 33 points. The team’s dominance was apparent as it was 47 points ahead of the second place Arkansas Alumni team, while Rice came in third with 183 points.

Junior transfer Josphat Boit remained undefeated when he finished first (29:22). In addition to Boit’s excellent showing seven other UA runners finished in the top 20.

Senior Jason Sandfort garnered a fourth-place finish and a new personal best time of 29:49. Junior Marc Rodrigues came in sixth place with a career best time of 29:52.

Junior Matt Gunn finished ninth in a career best time of 30:07. Junior Said Ahmed turned in a PR of 30:17 for 14th place. Junior Luis Bordes earned the 15th position with a personal best time of 30:18. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Norris was in 16th place (30:19) for the final scoring position. Redshirt freshman Tyler Hill grabbed the 20th spot with a time of (30:32).

Peter Kosgei was running for Harding University in 2004 and posted a seventh-place finish (29:55). He finished just behind Rodrigues and in front of five Hog runners.

ARkansas No. 1: For the first time in five years the Razorback cross country team reached a national No. 1 ranking when the United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) released its poll on Oct. 4. Arkansas received nine first-place votes and 473 points. The Hogs, winners of 11 NCAA Cross Country titles, are now eight points ahead of their nearest competitor and have established themselves as the team to beat at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21, in Terre Haute, Ind.

BOit picks up league accolade: Senior All-American Josphat Boit was named the SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week after he turned in a fantastic performance at Oklahoma State’s Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 1.

The Eldoret, Kenya native endured very muddy conditions in the 8K race, but went on to capture and defend the individual title in a time of 24:33. Boit finished ahead of 238 other runners and it marked his seventh-career first-place finish. By winning the contest Boit helped Arkansas claim its fourth-straight team victory for the year with 42 points.

The league accolade is the fourth of his career as a Razorback and the second for a UA athlete this season. Teammate junior Seth Summerside was given the honor on Sept. 19.

TRACK & FIELD NEWS’ CROSS COUNTRY PREDICTIONS: In Track & Field News’ October edition the monthly publication released its 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship predictions and Arkansas fared very well. The Razorbacks were picked to finish in second place, behind last year’s national runner-up Wisconsin.

Junior Peter Kosgei was the favorite to win the individual national title, even though he has yet to make his cross country debut as a Hog. Kosgei was fourth at last year’s NCAA Division II meet and is coming off solid track campaigns after he garnered four All-America honors. Senior Josphat Boit, who finished third in 2004, was predicted to finish fifth.

SUMMERSIDE RECOGNIZED BY SEC: Junior Seth Summerside earned Southeastern Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after he was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., on Sept. 17.

The competition was the Joplin, Mo., native’s first 8K race as a Razorback and he gained runner-up honors in a field of over 300 athletes. After he crossed the finish line he had recorded a personal-best time of 24:09 and his fantastic performance also helped lead five other Hogs to finish in the top 10 as UA easily took the team title with 23 points.

This league accolade is the first of Summerside’s career as a UA athlete. He did not compete during the 2004 cross country campaign as a transfer from Missouri-Kansas City, but came on strong during indoor and outdoor track.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS MOVED TO SOUTH CAROLINA: On Sept. 20, the SEC announced the 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships have been moved to Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., where the event will be hosted by the University of South Carolina on Oct. 29.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in Baton Rouge, La., on that same date, where it was to be hosted by LSU. Due to the on-going recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of the championship to move to an alternate site.

All 23 SEC men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in the annual championship event. A complete championship schedule with specific event and race times will be available at a later date by contacting the SEC or South Carolina media relations office.

ARKANSAS PICKED TO WIN SEC AGAIN: The Razorbacks led the preseason poll by the Southeastern Conference cross country coaches and were selected to win the men’s title in 2005. Arkansas received all but two first place votes for a total of seven and tallied 78 points. Florida received two first place votes and 75 points.

Georgia was next in third with 67, while Tennessee was fourth with 61 and Alabama took the fifth spot with 42 points.

The 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of South Carolina, will be held October 29.

RAZORBACKS TO SEEK 32nd CONSECUTIVE CROWN: Arkansas will be looking to extend one of the longest tenured championship streaks in collegiate athletic history when the Razorbacks take to the course for the 2005 SEC Cross Country Championships.

The Hogs are favored to capture their 32nd consecutive conference cross country title including their 15th straight since entering the SEC in 1991. Arkansas won 17 consecutive Southwest Conference cross country crowns from 1974-90.

CONFERENCE DOMINATION: With Arkansas’ victory at the 2004 SEC Championships, the Razorbacks extended one of the most impressive streaks in collegiate athletics.

The last time Arkansas didn’t win the conference crown was in 1973 when the Hogs finished second to Texas in a race at Austin, Texas. Coach John McDonnell led his Razorbacks to a win in 1974 and the program hasn’t looked back since.

Overall, the Hogs have won a combined 76 conference titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field since McDonnell arrived in Fayetteville.

SEC RECORD STREAK: Arkansas’ 14-consecutive SEC cross country titles isn’t only the longest such league run in that sport, it is also the second longest streak by any team in any sport in league history.

Prior to Arkansas’ entrance into the SEC, Tennessee won 15-consecutive league outdoor track and field titles from 1964-78. Arkansas’ current string trails only that streak in SEC history. The Razorbacks have won every cross country title since entering the league 14 years ago.

The Hogs’ current streak of 14-straight league crowns is the longest current league streak in any sport. Auburn is second with nine-consecutive swimming and diving championships.

THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: For the first time in five years the Razorback cross country team is ranked No. 1 in the country. The United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) released its poll on Oct. 4 and Arkansas received nine first-place votes and 473 points. The Hogs, winners of 11 NCAA Cross Country titles, are now eight points ahead of their nearest competitor and have established themselves as the team to beat at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21, in Terre Haute, Ind.

Former top-ranked and last year’s NCAA runner-up Wisconsin slipped to No. 2 with seven first-place nods and 465 points. Colorado, the defending national champion, stayed at third with 461 points. After not being ranked, SEC opponent Florida joined the Razorbacks in the top 30, by jumping into the 13th spot. Arkansas and Texas (No. 9) remained the only two teams from the South Central Region to be nationally ranked.

The 2005 season has seen Arkansas steadily climb the rankings. In the Sept. 13 preseason poll the Hogs debuted at No. 3 and stayed there for an additional week. After a dominating performance against talented northeastern teams at Iona College’s Meet of Champions UA was moved up to No. 2. In Stillwater, Okla., Arkansas sent only six competitors to run in the Cowboy Jamboree, but still easily won the team title and showed it deserved to be at the top.

FOLLOWING ARKANSAS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

Date Rank First Place Votes Points

September 12 3rd Three 460 points

September 20 3rd Three 455 points

September 27 2nd Four 465 points

October 4 1st Nine 473 points

October 11

October 18

November 1

November 15

THE REGIONAL RANKINGS: For the fourth-consecutive week Arkansas has been ranked No. 1 in the South Central Region. Texas is at No. 2, followed by Rice in third place. Texas A&M is fourth and Baylor is fifth.

The NCAA Regional Championships will once again be hosted by Baylor in Waco, Texas on Nov. 12. Runners will compete on the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course and only the top two teams will be given an automatic berth to the national championships.

ALL-TIME NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER: The University of Arkansas has won more NCAA Division I-A national titles than any other school in collegiate sports history.

The Hogs have earned 11 national championships including three-straight team titles from 1998-2000. Michigan State ranks second with eight while UTEP has won seven. Oregon (4), Stanford (4) and Villanova (4) round out the top five.

Combined with the 18 national championships in indoor track and field and the 12 outdoor track and field national titles, the Razorbacks have captured 41 national crowns. All 41 championships have come under coach John McDonnell.

TOTAL PROGRAM: In an era when many major schools allot a majority of their scholarships to either cross country, indoor or outdoor track, exclusively, Arkansas continues to compete at the highest level in all three sports.

The Razorbacks have won a total of 41 national championships including 11 in cross country, 18 in indoor track and field and 12 in outdoor track and field. In that same time span, Arkansas has captured 76 conference championships including 31 in cross country, 24 in indoor track and field and 21 outdoor track titles.

In 11 of the last 15 years, Arkansas has earned at least two national championships in the same season. The Razorbacks have won the national triple crown five times (1984-85, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1998-99).

Download: 2005 Chile Pepper Notes.pdf



Sports Category : Cross Country (M)