FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On Thursday the Southeastern Conference announced its annual cross country awards and Arkansas received recognition for its outstanding season when head coach John McDonnell was named the Coach of the Year and senior Josphat Boit was selected as Athlete of the Year. It marked the second-straight year the two awards had gone to UA and for McDonnell it was his 11th-consecutive Coach of the Year accolade and 14th overall since Arkansas entered the SEC in 1991.
“I’m really happy for Josphat (Boit),” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “He worked hard in that race (at SEC) and led most of the way. He’s had a great season. As for myself, it’s always nice to be recognized and have your peers vote for you.”
2005 was another fantastic season for McDonnell as he led his Razorbacks to go undefeated through seven meets and in the process they defeated seven nationally ranked opponents. In Columbia, S.C., they captured their 15th-straight SEC and 32nd-consecutive cross country title. The Hogs, who won with 23 points, posted a 50-point margin of victory over second-place Alabama. It was UA’s largest margin of victory since 1993.
After the conference contest McDonnell’s team continued to be successful as the Razorbacks claimed their 16th-consecutive NCAA South Central Regional Championship. Their first-place finish gave them an automatic bid to the national meet.
Boit captured four meet titles in 2005, bumping up his career-victory total to nine. During the regular season he picked up top honors at the Arkansas Invitational, OSU Cowboy Jamboree and Chile Pepper Invitational. His winning time at the Chile Pepper set a new course record as he finished ahead of two individual NCAA track champions.
At the SEC Championships the Eldoret, Kenya native took home his second-straight individual title, becoming only the third UA athlete to win at the SEC meet two years in a row. Boit’s performance helped Arkansas extend one of the longest tenured championship streaks in collegiate athletic history.
This weekend McDonnell will take his Hogs to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Second-ranked Arkansas will be going for its 12th national cross country title and 42nd NCAA championship overall.