FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas men’s cross country team was predicted to repeat as Southeastern Conference Cross Country Champions, as decided by a vote of the league’s head coaches. The SEC on Wednesday released its 2014 SEC Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll.
Points for the men’s poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 basis. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
The Arkansas men were selected to repeat as the SEC Cross Country Champions after capturing their 21st SEC Cross Country Championship in the last 23 years in 2013 and finishing 12th at the NCAA Championships. Florida was predicted to finish second while Ole Miss picked up three first-place votes and was chosen to finish third.
The Razorbacks return top runner, senior Stanley Kebenei, who earned NCAA All-American honors last season by finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships. Kebenei was a significant addition to the Arkansas men’s cross country program last year, as the junior college transfer also earned NCAA All-Region and All-SEC first team honors in his first season with the team.
The Nakura, Kenya native won three races last year for the Razorbacks including a first-place finish at the 2013 NCAA South Central Regional, where he posted a 10k time of 29:41.30. Kebenei is the highest-placed conference returner from the 2013 SEC Championships, as he finished second in the 8k race with a time of 23:40.12 to help Arkansas earn a 1-2-3 finish and the programs 21st conference title.
Senior Gabe Gonzalez also returns for the Razorbacks, as the Springdale, Ark., native will look to take on a bigger role on the team after earning NCAA All-Region and All-SEC second team honors a year ago.
Arkansas will open the season on Aug. 30, as they travel to Tulsa, Okla., to partake in the 2014 Hurricane Cross Country Festival. The race is slated to begin at 8 a.m.
For more information on Arkansas men’s cross country, follow @RazorbackMCC on Twitter.
2014 SEC Men’s Cross Country Coaches Preseason Poll
(Parenthesis indicate first-place votes)
Ole Miss (3)