FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Before the second-ranked Arkansas cross country team can compete for a national title it must first come away with a top-two team finish at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships. Seven Razorbacks will run a 10K on the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas on Nov. 12, in hopes of bringing home UA’s 16th-straight regional title, but will encounter tough competition from 10th-ranked Texas.
“We have seven good guys going, but Texas is a better team than they have been in the past,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “This won’t be a walk in the park, but if we stay healthy through regionals we’ll be ready for the national championships.”
Senior Josphat Boit is leading the charge as the defending champion and will be going for his fourth-straight first-place finish in 2005. A victory would also give the Eldoret, Kenya native his 10th-career win. Boit’s best 10K time was a course-record 28:27 from the Chile Pepper Invitational.
Junior Adam Perkins and sophomore Jonathan Norris are the other two Hogs that have experience running on this course from last year. Perkins recorded a then career-best time of 30:30 to be UA’s fourth man in 10th place overall, while Norris came in 22nd as Arkansas’ final runner.
The regional meet will only be junior Peter Kosgei’s third race this year. He is carrying a top 10K time of 29:47 from the Chile Pepper Invitational and was the Hogs’ fifth scorer at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Junior Seth Summerside has been a part of the scoring five in three of the four meets he has run in this year. At the SEC Championships he came in 15th place, but has improved in practice after fighting off a leg infection.
Senior Josh Robles has represented the Razorbacks in five meets this year and is eager to excel on Saturday with his 10K performance of 30:11. Freshman Chris Barnicle has not completed a 10K race this season after he had to drop out of the Chile Pepper with severe blisters. The Newton, Mass., native is looking forward to returning to top form in Waco.
Senior Marc Rodrigues, sophomore Shawn Forrest, last year’s regional runner-up, and freshman Kenny Cormier will stay in Fayetteville and rest up for the national championship trip to Terre Haute, Ind.