FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 2017 John McDonnell Program of the Year, Arkansas men’s cross country team look to kick off another strong Razorback campaign, opening up on Sept. 1 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“Our fifth place finish [at NCAAs] in 2016 set the stage for the John McDonnell Program of the Year award and we look to do the same with this year’s cross country team,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “We return six of seven runners that ran at the NCAA Championships last year and have good depth again this year.”
Arkansas’ regular season schedule will see the Hogs return to a challenging Van Cortlandt Park course for the Iona College Meet of Champions in the Bronx, N.Y. on Sept. 15. The Razorbacks only other regular season road trip will be the Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville, Kentucky. on Oct. 14.
Postseason competition will kick off with the SEC Championships in Athens, Georgia on Oct. 27. The Razorbacks will then travel to College Station, Texas on Nov. 10 for the NCAA South Central Region Championships before closing out the season on Nov. 18 in Louisville at the NCAA Championships.
“Our goal this is year is to take each race and each workout one day a time and improve week by week throughout the year,” Bucknam said. “We want to be at our best at the end of the season, at the SEC and NCAA Championships, and extend our streak of seven straight SEC titles.”
Arkansas returns the majority of his NCAA top-five finishing team from 2016, including two-time All American Jack Bruce and All American Alex George. Prior to earning All-America honors, George led Arkansas to its 24th SEC cross country title as the individual champion. The Razorbacks will also welcome the return of Andrew Ronoh, an NJCAA All American transfer, who managed to earn All Region honors last season with Arkansas even whilst hampered by injury through most of the year.
Bucknam also expects solid contributions out of returning All-SEC performers Austen Dalquist and Cameron Griffith. Griffith aided in Arkansas’ top-five finish at last year’s national meet, moving up 50 spots over the final 2,000 meters of the 10K race to place third for his team and 48th overall. Young talent Carter Persyn also has the potential to be in the top-seven mix, expected to build off an exceptional freshman season, which saw the Keller, Texas native finish as the 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year.
Lone Home Stand
Fans will get a chance to see the Hogs race at home this year, as Bucknam’s squad will look to defend their title at the 29th Annual Chile Pepper Festival on Sept. 30 at Agri Park.
“We are excited, as always, to race at home at the Chile Pepper Invitational on the last weekend of September. Our plan is to race our full team at that meet in front of our great Razorback fans,” Bucknam said.
2017 Cross Country Schedule
Fri, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.)
Fri, Sept. 16 – Iona College Meet of Champions (New York, N.Y.)
Sat, Sept. 30 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park)
Sat, Oct. 15 – Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.)
Fri, Oct. 27 – SEC Championship (Athens, Ga.)
Fri, Nov. 10 – NCAA South Central Regional (College Station, Texas)
Sat, Nov. 18 – NCAA Championship (Louisville, Ky.)
Bold denotes a home event.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.