FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas cross country has been tabbed at No. 5 in the nation and No. 1 in the South Central Region in the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll, it was announced on Tuesday. The 2005 NCAA Champion Wisconsin Badgers are listed in the No. 1 spot. Colorado ranks No. 2 and Iona College rounds out the top three.
The Hogs are led by All-American juniors Scott MacPherson and Kenny Cormier and seniors Tyler Hill, Shawn Forrest and Matt Munoz. MacPherson finished 48th at the 2006 NCAA Championships and Cormier finished 28th at the 2005 NCAA Championships.
The Hogs return eight lettermen from the 2006 season and have added 12 newcomers including four heralded freshmen and four transfers.
Wisconsin started the 2006 season ranked first in the nation but finished second at the NCAA Championships to Colorado.
Colorado returns four runners from the seven-man team that won last year’s national title. Iona, the third-place finisher at last year’s NCAA meet, returns six of its top seven runners. The fourth-ranked Ducks return five of their top seven runners from a year ago after finishing tied for fifth place at the NCAA meet a year ago.
Rounding out the top 10 of the poll are No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 UTEP, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Texas and No. 10 North Carolina State. SEC schools ranked are Alabama at No. 17 and Tennessee at No. 28.
Arkansas took the top spot in the South Central Region ahead of No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Lamar. UA won its 17th-straight South Central Regional title in 2006. The Hogs will host the 2007 NCAA South Central regional Championships at Agri Park in November. Also ranked in the South Central Region in the SEC is No. 7 LSU.
At the first race of the young 2007 season, the Hogs finished first ahead of Missouri Southern. Forrest won the four-mile race with a time of 19:29.1 and led the Hogs to the team title with 18 points. Missouri Southern finished second with 37 points.
Next up on the schedule for the Razorbacks will be the Missouri Southern Invitational, Sat., Sept. 15, in Joplin, Mo. The race will go off at 9:45 a.m.
The weekly USTFCCCA rankings are determined by a committee of NCAA Division I coaches. Updated rankings will be posted each Tuesday at www.ustfccca.org.