PHILADELPHIA,Pa.– In addition to its traditional quest for relay titles and the famous wagon wheel trophies that await the champions, Arkansas traveled to the Penn Relays this weekend in search of some much needed NCAA Mideast Regional qualifiers.
Arkansas owned only eight regional qualifiers entering the final scheduled outdoor meet before the SEC Championships in two weeks.
Freshman Kenny Cormier started the Razorbacks on the right track on Thursday night earning the Hogs’ first qualifying performance of the weekend in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at historic Franklin Field. Competing in his first collegiate steeplechase event, Cormier earned a regional bid after posting a time of 9:02.04. The Douglas, Ariz., native finished 11th in his heat, but crossed the finish line nearly five seconds under the regional standard.
“It was a good run for Kenny and a good way to start,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “He did a good job in his first competitive steeplechase as a Razorback. Considering we don’t really have a place to practice the steeplechase with the construction of our new track, it is even more impressive.”
Sophomore Tyler Hill also competed for the Razorbacks in the collegiate steeplechase. Hill finished 14th in the second heat of the event with a time of 9:19.38.
In the only other event involving Arkansas on Thursday, four Razorbacks competed in the collegiate 5,000-meter run championship. Senior Joshua Robles led the way for Arkansas finishing seventh in a time of 14:12.91. In the process, Robles set a new personal best and improved upon his time of 14:43.13 in the same event last year at the Penn Relays.
Senior Luis Bordes also posted a season-best time of 14:17.41 on the way to an 11th-place finish. Freshman Scott MacPherson clocked in at 14:22.88 in his first 5K of the outdoor season. MacPherson finished off the pace in 17th place. Sophomore Jonathan Norris (14:45.91) rounded out the Razorback contingent with a 21st-place finish.
Arkansas begins competition in earnest on Friday with its feature event, the distance medley relay, set to commence around 3:50 p.m. ET. The Razorbacks have won the DMR at the Penn Relays 15 times in their 22-year tenure at the event including in two (2002 and 2004) in the last four appearances.