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Cross Country 2009

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Cross Country 2009

By Molly O’MaraArkansas Media RelationsArkansas cross country head coaches Lance Harter and Chris Bucknam have compiled squads full of talent and promise with a balanced mix of experienced veterans and eager newcomers. Both squads will compete at the 2009 SEC Cross Country Championships this weekend and Harter and Bucknam are excited about the potential of their teams.

On the women’s side, junior Miranda Walker emerged early as the team leader. She took race wins at the Arkansas Invitational on Sept. 4 and at the Missouri Southern Stampede on Sept. 19. She also picked up a 21st-place finish at the Wisconsin Invitational (Oct. 3) and a ninth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival (Oct. 17). Walker has been Arkansas’ top finisher in all four meets this season and will look to the lead the squad at the 2009 SEC Cross Country Championships, in Oxford, Miss., on Sat., Oct. 31. She was named the SEC Runner of the Week for her win at the Arkansas Invitational. Walker has a solid history at the SEC Championships. She has been part of two team titles and has seen individual success. She finished 10th as a freshman in 2006 and 22nd as a sophomore in 2007.The Southlake, Texas native and Carroll High School alum leads the SEC with her 4,000-meter time of 14:01.50, ranks sixth in the conference with her 5K time of 17:23.64 and is No. 8 on the list with her 6K time of 21:13.10.

Freshman Alyssa Allison has been Harter’s top newcomer. Coming to Fayetteville, she was the 2009 Missouri State Champion at 800 meters (2:13.93), 1,600 meters (5:12.25), 3,200 meters (11:17.53) and as the anchor of the record-setting 4×800-meter relay (9:24.44). She competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as a member of Team USA at the 2009 Pan Am Junior Championships.Allison has twice been named the SEC Freshman Runner of the Week for her efforts at the Missouri Southern Stampede and the Chile Pepper Festival. She has been in Arkansas’ scoring five at all four meets this season and currently holds the top 6K time by an SEC freshman (21:48.78). Her highest finish to date — second — came at the Missouri Southern Stampede on Sept. 19. Senior Megan Jackson, sophomores Kristen Gillespie, Cali George and Samantha Learch and redshirt freshman Taylor Johnson also play into the Arkansas equation.

As a team, the Arkansas women have picked up titles at the Arkansas Invitational and the Missouri Southern Stampede. They finished seventh at the Wisconsin Invitational and third at the Chile Pepper Festival. In the most recent U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association rankings, the Razorbacks are seated No. 29 nationally and second in the NCAA South Central Region. The Razorbacks are just one of two SEC teams ranked in the top 30. Florida sits at No. 5. In the South Central Region, Arkansas is the top ranked SEC team.

Juniors Dorian Ulrey and Lane Boyer and freshman Solomon Haile are taking turns leading the men’s team. Haile was the top Razorback at the Arkansas and Wisconsin Invitationals, Boyer was the leader at the Missouri Southern Stampede and Ulrey was Arkansas’ top finisher at the Chile Pepper Festival. Boyer leads the SEC with his 8,000-meter time of 23:23.05, clocked to earn a runner-up finish at the Missouri Southern Stampede on Sept. 19. Ulrey’s 10,000-meter time of 29:37.50 leads the SEC at that distance and was clocked to earn a fourth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival.

Haile has twice been named the SEC Freshman Runner of the Week for his performances at the Missouri Southern Stampede and the Wisconsin Invitational. Boyer was named the SEC Runner of the Week for his runner-up finish at the Missouri Southern Stampede and Ulrey earned the award for his fourth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival. Haile is Bucknam’s top newcomer. Coming to Fayetteville, he was the 2008 Footlocker Cross Country National Champion, a three-time Nike National Champion and a two-time 2009 National Scholastic Indoor Champion.

Senior Rio Reina, juniors Michael Chinchar and Patrick Russell and sophomores Rick Elliott and Eric Fernandez also look to lead the Hogs at the 2009 SEC Cross Country Championships, in Oxford, Miss., on Sat., Oct. 31. All have the potential to be in Arkansas’ scoring five.As a team, the Arkansas men have picked up titles at the Arkansas Invitational and the Missouri Southern Stampede. They finished fourth at the Wisconsin Invitational and third at the Chile Pepper Festival.

In the most recent U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association rankings, the Razorbacks are seated No. 28 nationally and No. 1 in the NCAA South Central Region. The Razorbacks are just one of three SEC teams ranked in the top 30. Alabama sits at No. 6 and Auburn is ranked 24th. In the South Central Region, Arkansas is the top ranked SEC team.



Sports Category : Cross Country (M)