Cragg Named SEC Indoor Runner of the Year
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After an outstanding senior indoor track campaign Alistair Cragg was named the Southeastern Conference’s Indoor Runner of the Year, as announced by the league office on Friday. This marked the second-straight year Cragg has earned the honor.
“He had an amazing season and it’s a very deserving honor,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “He’s such a great team man and we’ll look for him to carry that over during the outdoor season.”
Cragg’s first highlight of the season came at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 14, when he reclaimed the collegiate 3,000-meter record with a time of 7:38.59 and garnered runner-up honors in a world-class field. His time also broke former Razorback great Frank O’Mara’s Irish national record and at the time it was the fourth-fastest time run in the world that year.
At the SEC Championships he successfully defended his 3,000-meter title with a Nutter Field House record time of 7:59.25. On the second day of competition he also captured the 5K crown with a new automatic time of 13:42.95 and in the process shattered a 14-year SEC Championship meet record. With his performances he tallied 20 points for Arkansas and was given the Commissioner’s Trophy. Cragg became the first track athlete in league history to win the award three consecutive times.
At the NCAA Indoor Championships he earned 20 points when he successfully defended his 3,000 and 5,000-meter titles. He was one of two athletes at the meet to rack up 20 points for the weekend. It marked the second-consecutive year Cragg had earned the most individual points at the meet. His point total also helped Arkansas garner runner-up honors with 38 points.
On Friday night he took the 5,000-meter crown (13:39.63) for the third-straight year, making him the first athlete in NCAA meet history to accomplish that feat. He also became the first UA track athlete to three-peat in an event. On Saturday night his 3,000-meter performance marked his fifth-career NCAA indoor individual championship, the most of any runner in Arkansas’ legendary track history. Cragg clocked a time of 7:55.29 for the victory.
Besides the SEC award Cragg has garnered several individual accolades for his final collegiate indoor season, including the United States Track Coaches Association’s (USTCA) South Central Regional Athlete of the Year and Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
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