FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Stanley Kebenei turned in a remarkable performance on Saturday morning, as the All-American collected his first individual title of the 2014 season to help the No. 17-ranked Arkansas men’s cross country team win the 26th Annual Chile Pepper Festival.
Kebenei collected a season-best 8K time of 23:53.50 to pick up the first place finish on Saturday and pace anArkansas Razorback men’s cross country team that ran away from the competition, as its scoring rotation collected 51 points to win the Chile Pepper Festival for the second straight season.
It was a thrilling finish, as the Kenyan native defeated fellow countryman and 2013 NCAA 3,000m Steeplechase National Champion, Anthony Rotich of UTEP by exactly one second to claim the fourth individual title of his Arkansas career.
Redshirt junior Gabe Gonzalez earned his third top five finish of the year, as he crossed the finish line in 24:14.10 to place fifth. Freshman Alex George followed up his strong showing at the Iona Meet of Champions with an 8K personal-best time of 24:26.40 to place 11th.
Junior Cale Wallace gave the Razorbacks their fourth top 15 finish on Saturday with a 14th-place finish in 24:41.50. Freshman Austen Dalquist rounded out the scoring rotation for Arkansas, as his new personal-best time of 24:54.0 in the 8K was good enough for a 20th-place finish.
The No. 17-ranked team in the nation had a dominating performance on Saturday, as they finished 45 points ahead of second-place Lamar University (96). North Texas came in third at the Chile Pepper with 106 points and fellow Longhorn State team, UTEP, placed fourth with 110 points. Wichita State rounded out the top five on Saturday with their score of 110.
Sophomore Aidan Swain captured 39th with a time of 25:27.30 and freshman Ethan Moehn’s time of 25:41.70 put him in 54th to round out Arkansas’ top seven runners.
The Razorbacks will be back in action on Oct. 17, as they travel north to Madison, Wis., to participate in the 2014 Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Race time is slated for an 11 a.m. start.
For more information on the Arkansas men’s cross country team, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.
COACH BUCKNAM POST RACE SOUND
On the Win: “We’re not only proud of getting the win, but also the way our guys competed. We asked them to step it up and have great individual performances, because we need to see where this team is at as we head into the big meets (Wisconsin Adidas Invite, SEC Championship).
On the Team: “I’m proud of the results we had today. Having two freshmen in our top five is a bit rare, but they are very good freshmen and I’m hoping we can step up in a few weeks. Stanley (Kenebei) won it and the kid he beat from UTEP is the NCAA champ in the steeple, so you get an idea of how good he is. Gabe (Gonzalez) has a phenomenal race and a breakthrough run for us.”
|11th||Alex George||11||24:26.40 (Personal-Best)|
|20th||Austen Dalquist||20||24:54.00 (Personal-Best)|
|54th||Ethan Moehn||54||25:41.70 (Personal-Best)|
|185th||Andrew Pisechko||N/A||26:42.20 (Personal-Best)|