TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On Friday, the No. 5 Arkansas women’s cross country team defends its Southeastern Conference title as they travel to the University of Alabama to participate in the 2014 SEC Cross Country Championships. Race time from Harry Pritchett Running Course is set for 9 a.m.
|SEC CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS MEET CENTRAL|
|Oct. 31, 2014 | 9 a.m. CT | Awards Ceremony (11:15 a.m. CT)|
|Harry Pritchett Running Course | Tuscaloosa, Ala.|
2013 TEAM CHAMP
2013 INDIVIDUAL CHAMP
|Dominique Scott, Arkansas|
SEC MEET RECORD
|Andreina Byrd, Arkansas | 19:07.21 | 2001|
|Air Date is Sunday, November 9 (8 p.m. CT) | SEC Network|
|Thad Anderson and Larry Rawson|
|Championship Central | SEC Preview|
|Twitter | Facebook|
Head coach Lance Harter’s squad comes into Friday’s SEC Cross Country Championship looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time since the 2007-2008 seasons, when they wrapped up a three-peat that started back in 2006. The program will also be going for its 15th conference crown, which is the most by any SEC team since the championship meet began back in the 1983 season.
The Razorbacks will be heavy favorites to repeat, as they return a trio of runners who placed 1-2-3 at last year’s meet in Gainesville, Fla., including 2013 SEC Runner of the Year in Dominique Scott. Arkansas will be one of two SEC teams ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 30 team to race in Tuscaloosa on Friday, as Vanderbilt who came in at No. 14 in the most recent poll, will be challenge the Razorbacks for conference supremacy.
It’s been a successful season for the No. 5-ranked team in the country, as they have captured four meet titles, and recently finished second at the prestigious Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Only the No. 1-ranked team in the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association Poll, Michigan State, has defeated Arkansas in a race this year.
The 2014 campaign has been equally as dominant for Scott, as she has won the SEC Runner of the Week award four times, captured three individual event titles, set three course records and was named the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association National Runner of the Week on Sept. 22. The Cape Town, South Africa native will attempt a rare feat on Friday, as she looks to become only the sixth female athlete ever to win multiple SEC individual titles and just the fifth to win back-to-back championships.
Seniors Shannon Klenke and Grace Heymsfield, who placed second and third at last year’s meet also return for the Razorbacks, as the pair of All-SEC runners looks to put a cap on their outstanding SEC cross country career this weekend.
Coach Harter Pre-Race Sound
Coach Harter on his team going into the 2014 SEC Championship
“We are really blessed to have a great team this year that is led by a good group of seniors. We are fortunate to have great depth and great leadership and talent, which is a lethal combination in this sport. This season, they’ve proven to be very formidable, only one team in the nation has beaten them and they were ranked No. 1. The SEC Championship is a very important meet to us, but ultimately it is a stepping stone for us as we prepare for the championship portion of our schedule.”
Coach Harter on making adjustments after Wisconsin
“I think Wisconsin was a real test for us because we’ve had a very difficult training schedule this year because we have so much talent. We came into that meet with weaker legs than we thought, but since then we have done some fine tuning to our racing strategy and thus far the training and adjustments have been right on schedule.”
Coach Harter on returning the top three runners from last year’s SEC Championship
“To have that kind of fire power return is very rare in a coach’s career. If everyone remains healthy and takes care of their responsibilities, coupled with that experience, will make our team very formidable this weekend.”
Coach Harter on Dominique Scott attempting back-to-back individual titles
“To win any SEC title is a great honor. The level of talent year in and year out in this conference is remarkable, and to win two SEC titles would definitely put her in rarified air. She is fit, she is ready to go, but she has to be ready. There are a number of teammates who will challenge her for the title and several athletes from other schools who have developed over the course of the year that will push her as well.
Coach Harter on dealing with pressure as the favorites
“We knew all season that we would have the target on our back. I think we have mentally prepared for it, and we are physically ready for this race. It’s all a matter of getting it done when the gun goes off on Friday.”
SEC Championship Notes
- Friday’s race marks the fifth time Alabama has hosted the SEC Championship and the first time since the 2000 season. That year the Razorbacks ran away with the title, scoring 43 points, as Lilli Kleinmann brought home the individual championship.
- Arkansas will seek its second straight SEC Cross Country Championship and the program’s 15 overall.
- The Razorbacks have won a league-best 14 SEC Cross Country Championships, all under Coach Lance Harter.
- Last season, Arkansas collected a score of 32 to win its first SEC Cross Country Championship since 2008 as the Razorbacks took the top three spots in the race.
- The Razorbacks have won the individual title in two of the last three years.
- Arkansas has had 10 runners win 13 SEC individual championships.
- Redshirt junior Dominique Scott won her first career SEC individual title last season, posting a 6K time of 20:02.81.
- Scott is seeking to be the first back-to-back individual SEC Champion for Arkansas, since the 1998 and 1999 races, when Amy Yoder won the concluded her three-peat.
- If Scott is able to secure her second consecutive SEC women’s individual cross country championship, she would be the first repeat women’s SEC champion since Auburn’s Angela Homan won three in a row from 2003-2005. Five women in the history of the SEC Cross Country Championship have captured multiple career titles.
For more information on Arkansas women’s cross country, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.