BRONX, N.Y. – The third-ranked Razorbacks took a bite out of the “Big Apple” Saturday morning when they claimed the team title at Iona College’s Meet of Champions with 20 points. Even with the absences of juniors Peter Kosgei and Seth Summerside, Arkansas dominated the challenging and hilly 8K course at Van Cortlandt Park with its five scorers finishing in the top six. Seventh-ranked Iona was second with 77 points and Cornell was third with 101.
“The team ran very well,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “Our top five was fantastic and we could have done even better if Seth Summerside and Peter Kosgei ran. Shawn Forrest looked really good for this time of year. I was really pleased with him.”
For the second time this year sophomore Shawn Forrest was UA’s top runner. The Melbourne, Australia native garnered runner-up honors with a clocking of 24:01.7. Forrest’s performance was the second-fastest ever run at the meet.
“I feel like this course was made for me and I’m happy with where I finished, because we just started workouts,” Forrest said. “It felt easy running up and down the hills. I feel more relaxed this year. I feel at home; I guess I just needed a year to settle in. Listening to Coach McDonnell has helped a lot. I didn’t listen to him as much as I should have last year.”
Iona’s Richard Kiplagat, captured first place in a meet record time of 23:54.4. The former top time of 24:17 had been held by Life University’s Sammy Myamongo since 1997.
Forrest and Kiplagat broke away from the field early in the race and maintained a substantial distance all the way to the end. Forrest tried to surge with 800 meters remaining in the race, but Kiplagat had more kick and flew down the final hill to take the tape.
Senior All-American Josphat Boit was the next Hog to cross the finish line when he came in third place. He ran a time of 24:43.3, leading a string of Razorbacks to fourth, fifth and sixth place showings.
Freshman Chris Barnicle won the 2004 Foot Locker Northeast Championship at Van Cortlandt Park and ran strongly again as he registered a time of 24:45.1 for fourth place. It marked the second-straight week he has been UA’s third man.
Junior Adam Perkins was close behind in fifth with a time of 24:46.8 and senior All-American Marc Rodrigues was Arkansas’ final scorer in sixth place with a 24:49.6 showing. With those stellar performances Boit, Barnicle, Perkins and Rodrigues each jumped up into the meet’s all-time top 20 list.
In his debut as a Razorback freshman Kenny Cormier turned in a time of 25:11.8 for 14th place after not feeling well earlier in the week. Sophomore Tyler Hill came in 18th (25:20.3), while senior Josh Robles (25:23.7) and freshman Scott MacPherson (25:25.3) were 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Senior Luis Bordes posted a 25:35.5 for 27th place and fellow The Woodlands, Texas native, sophomore Jonathan Norris, was 34th (25:47.7). Senior Jose Campos rounded out the Arkansas contingent in 50th with a time of 26:01.7.
The Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree is next on the schedule in Stillwater, Okla., on Oct. 1.