NEW ORLEANS – Arkansas men’s cross country head coach Chris Bucknam was selected as the 2015 South Central Region Coach of the Year following the Razorbacks’ third-consecutive victory at the regional championships. This is his fifth regional honor within cross country since joining the program in 2008.
Arkansas entered the year ranked No. 1 within their region in the USTFCCCA preseason polls. The Razorbacks held the top spot throughout the regular season.
Featuring a steady rotation of lead runners the entire year, two-time NJCAA All-American Frankline Tonui started the carousel opening his DI career with a win in his first race at the Iona Meet of Champions. Continuing with the trend of season-opening victories, Alex George picked up where Tonui left off starting his sophomore year at the Chile Pepper Festival as the top finisher for the Razorbacks. Two weeks later, Austen Dalquist emerged as more than just a member of Arkansas’ scoring five leading the Razorbacks to a third place team finish at Pre-Nationals as their No. 1 runner. The rotation continued through to the championship events as both Christian Heymsfield (SEC Championships) and Gabe Gonzalez (NCAA Regionals) took their turns out in front.
At the 2015 NCAA South Central Regional Championships Arkansas Gonzalez finished third overall. Three additional Razorbacks finished inside the top-15 to assist the program in earning its 35th regional title. Bucknam coached Gonzalez as well as Tonui, Cale Wallace and Jack Bruce through their first 10K of the season to All-Region honors.
Talented at recruiting and developing premier runners, Bucknam has guided Arkansas from a top-20 team at the start of the season to a national contender.
Arkansas will cap the year at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, Nov. 21.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.