NEW ORLEANS — On Tuesday, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced its Week Six Top 30 Poll and despite winning the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championship for the fifth straight year, the Arkansas men’s cross country team slipped one spot to move into a tie for No. 24 in this week’s poll.
The Razorbacks picked up 83 points to tie with Big Ten squad Penn State for No. 24 in the USTFCCCA Top 30 Poll. The No. 24-ranking marks the 25th straight poll that Arkansas has been featured in the Top 30, which dates back to the 2012 USTFCCCA Preseason Poll.
There was no movement inside the top five of this week’s USTFCCCA Poll, as defending NCAA Champion Colorado kept its No. 1 ranking for the eighth straight week. Fellow Pac-12 team, Oregon, checked in at No. 2, while Syracuse remained at No. 3. Oklahoma State and Iona rounded out the top five, maintaining their No. 4 and No. 5 rankings respectively.
The Razorbacks claimed the tie for No. 24 after winning its fifth straight SEC Championship. It was an extremely tight race, as Arkansas’ 54 points were just enough to squeak by Ole Miss’ 60 points, to claim its 22nd conference title in the last 24 years.
Senior All-American Stanley Kebenei led the way for Hogs as he captured the SEC individual title for the first time in his career. Kebenei, who finished second at last year’s SEC Championship, ran away from the field in the final 2,000 meters as his time of 23:49.27 was nearly 11 seconds faster than second place finisher Ty McCormack of Auburn.
Kebenei’s first-place finish marked one of four top 10 finishes for the Razorbacks, as redshirt junior Gabe Gonzalez placed fourth (24:26.47), junior Cale Wallace came in eighth (24:40.51) and freshman Alex George placed 10th (24:46.10) in his SEC Championship debut.
The four top 10 finishes would prove to be vital for Arkansas, as five Ole Miss runners completed the course before the Razorbacks’ fifth runner. Junior Aidan Swain was the 31st runner to cross the finish line, and that would prove to be enough to hold off the Rebels. Swain was able to pass nearly 15 runners in the final 2,000 meters after a teammate dropped out of the race to get Arkansas enough points to overcome the Oxford, Miss., squad.
Arkansas returns to action on Nov. 14, when they host the NCAA South Central Regional. The Razorbacks will be attempting to win their third straight NCAA Regional crown, as they look to earn an automatic team bid to the NCAA National Championships. Race time from Agri Park is slated for 12 p.m.
For more information on the Arkansas men’s cross country team, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.