Razorbacks Look for Redemption at OSU Cowboy J
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – When the fourth-ranked Arkansas cross country team travels to Stillwater, Okla., on Oct. 2, for the 68th annual Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree it will be looking to reclaim the team trophy. Arkansas head coach John McDonnell is taking a group of 11 runners that will aim for redemption after the Razorbacks lost a close team race to Georgia in 2003. It marked the first time since Arkansas entered the Southeastern Conference in 1991 that it finished second behind another league opponent.
Even though the Bulldogs will not be participating in this year’s 8K contest Arkansas will still encounter tough competition from other programs, such as Abilene Christian, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas Tech and Tulsa. The race will be run on the OSU Cross Country Course and is scheduled to start at 9:40 a.m.
Abilene Christian has a strong squad and will provide a challenge for the UA athletes, including senior Eric Gross, junior Said Ahmed, Luis Bordes, junior transfers Josephat Boit, Jose Campos and Marc Rodrigues, sophomore Adam Perkins and redshirt freshmen Chase and Travis Feltner, Tyler Hill and Jonathan Norris.
“We’re not full strength, but we’ll have to run well to win,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We have to have some guys step up and Josephat (Boit) and Marc (Rodrigues) will have to run well. We’re pretty diminished right now, because we won’t have Jason Sandfort or Matt Gunn there. We just don’t have a lot of depth and Abilene Christian has a very good team. We’ve got to be able to win this if we want to do well on a national level.”
Boit has stepped up as a leader in Sandfort’s absence and is fresh off a first place performance at the Missouri Southern Invitational on Sept. 18. He turned in a good time of 23:54.82 and will strive for another good showing this weekend. Rodrigues was close behind as the third place finisher with a clocking of 24:14.72.
The Jamboree will mark Bordes’ third meet of the season and he been running well as he was UA’s fourth man two weeks ago and the team’s top finisher at the Arkansas Invitational. Norris has proved himself as a redshirt freshman after he grabbed the final scoring position at the Missouri Southern Invitational and will be need to contribute again.
Ahmed turned in a career-best 8K time in Joplin, Mo., and is on track to run an improved time on Saturday. Chase Feltner, Gross, Campos and Hill all finished in the top 20 last weekend and will help give Arkansas a strong contingent. Travis Feltner and Perkins will have an opportunity to record stronger performances as they run in their second 8K race of the year.
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