Full Team of Razorbacks Ready For Chile Pepper
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – This weekend the third-ranked Razorbacks will compete in one of the nation’s largest cross country meets in their own backyard. The Chile Pepper Invitational will take place on Oct. 16, with the 10K college men’s race beginning at 9:30 a.m. A total of 35 schools from around the nation are traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete on the Razorback Cross Country Course at Agri-Park.
“There is a great lineup of teams coming in and the competition will be good,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “Up front the top 25-30 individual runners will be really good.”
Joining Arkansas on the course is Abilene Christian, Alabama-Huntsville, Barton County, Baylor, Birmingham-Southern College, Boise State, Central Arkansas, Central Florida, East Central University, Evangel, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, Loyola, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Missouri-Kansas City, New Mexico State, Rice, Stephen F. Austin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas-Arlington, TCU, Texas-El Paso, Texas State, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Wyoming.
The Chile Pepper Invitational is UA’s first 10K race of the year and will provide an opportunity for McDonnell to field a full team with 14 Razorbacks set to take on the course, including seniors Eric Gross and Jason Sandfort, juniors Said Ahmed, Luis Bordes and Matt Gunn, junior transfers Josphat Boit, Jose Campos, Harun Iman, Josh Robles and Marc Rodrigues, and redshirt freshmen Chase and Travis Feltner, Tyler Hill and Jonathan Norris.
“Josphat Boit and Marc Rodrigues will be exciting to watch,” McDonnell said. “Luis Bordes and Said Ahmed will have to step up to help the five-man lineup. Our old standby, Jason Sandfort, has been hurt, but he is ready to go now. Overall, we have a good mix of guys. We also have a lot of redshirt freshmen that look good in practice.”
Boit and Rodrigues have stepped in and made an immediate impact to the program. Boit is undefeated this season as he has earned first place at two meets. At the 2003 Chile Pepper Rodrigues was competing for Cloud County Community College and he finished ahead of all the Hog harriers when he crossed the line in fifth place. This duo will look for more solid performances at this year’s event.
After recovering from an Achilles injury Sandfort will make his cross country season debut on Saturday. Sandfort is a three-time cross country All-American and is very eager to return to competition and lead the Razorbacks to another team victory.
After the Chile Pepper Invitational the Southeastern Conference Championships are next on the schedule for Arkansas and the Hogs will serve as hosts to the event for the first time since 1994. This year each league school will get to enter 10 runners into the event, instead of eight as in years past, so many young runners will use the Chile Pepper Invitational as a chance to vie for a spot in that lineup.
“Now is the time to start getting better,” McDonnell said. “The SEC Championships are only two weeks away and the Chile Pepper will be a chance for us to prove our No. 3 ranking.”
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