FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The top-ranked Razorbacks put a show on for the hometown crowd at the Chile Pepper Invitational on Saturday morning when Arkansas’ five scorers finished in the top 16, tallying 57 points and beating tough national competition. Sixth-ranked Arizona was second with 93 points, No. 11 Texas-El Paso was third with 94 and Southeastern Conference opponent Alabama (No. 31) finished fourth with 98 points.
“Arizona and UTEP gave us a great run” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We beat two good teams. The thing I like about this team is that they didn’t quit after the fast first mile.”
The Hogs were led by senior All-American Josphat Boit who blazed to victory on the 10K course in a record time of 28:27. A 4:20 opening mile helped the Eldoret, Kenya native shatter the old course record of 28:42 that was held by the late Alabama standout David Kimani in 2002. It also marked Boit’s seventh-career first-place finish and the phenomenal time allowed him to claim his second-straight Chile Pepper Invitational title. At last year’s meet he ran a then personal best time of 29:22.
“Josphat Boit had an outstanding run,” McDonnell said. “There have been a lot of people run on this course and he made it look easy.”
Abilene Christian’s Nicodemus Naimadu grabbed runner-up honors with a time of 28:31, while Arizona’s Robert Cheseret, the 2004 NCAA 10,000-meter champion, came in third place (28:34). Taking first-place in such a loaded field established Boit as a clear front runner to claim the individual national title in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 21.
“The first two miles were not good, but after that the pace went a little slower and I felt better,” Boit said. “The last mile I decided to put it all in, because the other guys were a good distance behind me. They were a quality field and I feel like I’m ready for nationals.”
Sophomore Shawn Forrest was the next Razorback to cross the finish line. He turned in a career-best time of 29:12 as the 11th collegiate runner. True freshman Kenny Cormier stepped up as UA’s third scorer for the second-straight week. The 2004 Foot Locker Champion finished in 14th place with a time of 29:32.
In his first race since the Missouri Southern Stampede on Sept. 17, junior Seth Summerside posted a solid performance and came in right behind Cormier in 15th with a time of 29:33. Sophomore Tyler Hill was close on their heels in 16th and clocked 29:36. It was the third time this season he has been a member of the scoring five and in the process he bettered his previous personal best by nearly a minute. At the 2004 invitational he posted a 30:32.
Junior Peter Kosgei was making his cross country debut as a Razorback and finished in 19th place with a time of 29:47.
“For Peter Kosgei’s first race the fast pace hurt him,” McDonnell said. “He’s about 60 percent fit, but he’s healthy and he’ll be ready for nationals.”
Senior All-American Marc Rodrigues recorded a personal-best time of 29:47 for the 21st spot. His previous top time of 29:52 was run at the same meet last season. Another career-best time was registered by junior Adam Perkins who came in 31st (30:06). Senior Josh Robles was running his first 10K as a Hog and he came in 34th (30:11). Sophomore Jonathan Norris finished 44th (30:37) and senior Jose Campos was 58th (31:05). Senior Luis Bordes and sophomore Brian Roe rounded as the UA competitors in 68th (31:27) and 79th (31:42), respectively.
Arkansas will take next week off as the Razorbacks prepare for the SEC Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29, in Columbia, S.C. The Hogs will be looking to extend one of the longest tenured championship streaks in collegiate athletics history as they go for 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.
Download: Ind. Chile Pepper Results.pdf