FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 5 Arkansas men’s cross country team will welcome 48 teams to Agri Park Saturday, Sept. 30, as it hosts the 29th Annual Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville.
“This is the launching pad for our real competitive season,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “This is a big race for us to get a chance to find out the fitness level of our athletes at a 10K distance, which is different than what we’ve done in the past. We’re bringing the old school Chile Pepper distance back.”
Let’s Look at the Standings
The Razorbacks continue to hold on to their position among the top-five best programs in the latest USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll, announced Tuesday. Arkansas also remains the top-ranked team in the South Central Region for the fourth-consecutive week.
Lining Up for the Hogs
Bucknam’s full squad will be racing their home course this weekend excepting 2016 NCAA South Central Region runner-up Andrew Ronoh.
“We’ll have everybody running except for Andrew,” Bucknam said. “It’ll be our ‘A-minus‘ team and hopefully we can have our ‘A’ team by the SEC meet, but this is a big race for us and we’re looking forward to getting on our home course this weekend.”
The meet will mark the 2017 cross country debut of two-time All-American Jack Bruce. The 10K collegiate competition will be his first race since his national runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter run at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships last June. In addition to Bruce, All-SEC and All-Region returner Austen Dalquist will also open his senior season in front of his home crowd, looking to contribute to another Arkansas Chile Pepper team title claim.
In addition to Bruce and Dalquist, the Razorbacks also expect another exceptional outing from senior All-American Alex George who looks to defend his 2016 Chile Pepper Festival division I crown.
Agri Park/Chile Pepper Festival Fast Facts
- Chile Pepper Festival established in 1988
- Agri Park became Arkansas cross country’s home course in 1996
- Chile Pepper Festival 10K course/meet record: 28:22.90 | Nicodemus Naimadu (Abilene Christian), 10/14/06
- Last time Chile Pepper featured men’s collegiate 10K: 2012
- Last time Arkansas competed in Chile Pepper men’s collegiate 10K: 2011
- Top Arkansas finisher: Eric Fernandez (6th), 29:29.60
The Chile Pepper Festival 10K race will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT Saturday.
2017 Cross Country Schedule
Fri, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Preview (Stillwater, Okla.) 1st of 4
Fri, Sept. 15 – Iona College Meet of Champions (New York, N.Y.) 2nd of 7
Sat, Sept. 30 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park)
Sat, Oct. 14 – Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.)
Fri, Oct. 27 – SEC Championship (Athens, Ga.)
Fri, Nov. 10 – NCAA South Central Regional (College Station, Texas)
Sat, Nov. 18 – NCAA Championship (Louisville, Ky.)
*italicized meet denotes completion.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.