FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas men’s cross country team begins its season Thursday as the No. 23 team in the country, as released in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason national poll. The Razorbacks were also ranked third among teams in the South Central Region. “We’re looking forward to getting the season started,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “We haven’t really delved into a lot of workouts yet, but the kids are starting to get into a routine and that’s the most important thing for us right now at this point of the season.” Arkansas’ roster includes two All-America performers in senior Eric Fernandez and redshirt junior Solomon Haile. Fernandez is the defending SEC individual champion and finished 38th at last year’s NCAA Championships to earn his first career All-America selection. Haile was an All-American in 2010 after a 17th-place finish at the national meet. The men’s race at the season-opening Razorback Invitational is set for a 6 p.m. (CT) start at Agri Park. Arkansas will run against Missouri Southern in the annual early season meet. Thursday’s race is scheduled to measure out to four miles. “The No. 1 (priority) is to get through the race healthy,” Bucknam said. “That is one of the reasons we changed the meet from Friday evening to Thursday afternoon. We were a little concerned about the weather coming in and getting on a real wet course. This can be a bit of a wake-up call of getting back into that routine of racing again.” In addition to the opener, the Razorbacks will also play host to the 24th Annual Chile Pepper Festival (Oct. 13) and NCAA South Central Region (Nov. 9) this season. The championship season begins Oct. 26 with the SEC meet in Nashville, Tenn., while the NCAA Championships will cap the year Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.