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Razorbacks Ready to Qualify for Nationals at R

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks Ready to Qualify for Nationals at R

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The third-ranked Razorbacks will look to remain undefeated for the season when they travel to Waco, Texas for the NCAA South Central Regional Championships on Nov. 13. Arkansas will need to finish as one of the top two teams in order to gain an automatic berth to the national championships. Even though the Hogs will go up against 23 other teams, they are confident entering the event as they have come away with the regional title 14-straight years.
D”We look at regionals as a prelim for the national championships,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “You have to finish in the top two and Texas has pretty good team, but we want to win. The guys are healthy and beginning to gel and come together as a good team.”
Seven Razorback athletes including senior Jason Sandfort, junior transfer Josphat Boit, juniors Luis Bordes and Matt Gunn, sophomore Adam Perkins and freshmen Shawn Forrest and Jonathan Norris will run the 10K race that is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.
Boit has been UA’s top finisher all year, winning each of the four meets he has competed in. Two weeks ago at the SEC Championships he became the first Razorback athlete since Michael Power in 1999 to capture the individual title. Forrest was right behind him and earned runner-up honors in what was his first meet as a Razorback. The regional championships will be Forrest’s first 10K race of the year.
Sandfort has been a solid runner his entire career at Arkansas and at last year’s regional meet he finished in fifth place. The West Plains, Mo., native is carrying a top 10K time of 29:49. Gunn has proven to be a strong contributor to UA’s lineup and at the SEC Championships he was the fifth scorer when he crossed the line in ninth place. His personal best 10K time of 30:07 was also set earlier in the season.
The last time Bordes ran in the regional meet was when he was a freshman and this year he will look to help Arkansas score a victory. His best 10K time is 30:18. In 2003 Perkins finished 38th at regionals and with two races under his belt he is determined to improve his showing on Saturday. Norris has represented the Hogs in all five cross country competitions this year and registered his best 10K time of 30:19 at the Chile Pepper Invitational.
When the Razorbacks return from Texas they will begin focusing on their quest to win their 40th national title at the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The national championships will be held on Monday, Nov. 22, in Terre Haute, Ind., at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.



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