Baton Rouge, La. – Led by senior Seth Summerside’s runner-up finish, Arkansas cross country won its 16th SEC and 33rd conference cross country title. The victory also gives Arkansas and head coach John McDonnell their 80th conference title including cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
“We have always had the right type of kids and we also had people to fill in for seniors who graduate,” McDonnell said. “That’s special. I tell people all the time, we have won 42 national championships but they haven’t been in a row. When you win 33 of anything in a row, to me there’s nothing more special then that. In my heart, that’s my greatest achievement as a coach.”
Arkansas finished the 8K race with a team point total of 21. Florida was second with 73 points and the Alabama Crimson Tide rounded out the top three with 75 points.
Summerside crossed the line second behind Ole Miss’ Barnabus Kirui, the race winner, with a time of 23:56.59. Kirui won the race with a time of 23:53.24. It is the first meet this season where Summerside was the top Razorback finisher. He also improved his SEC finish from 2005 (15th) by 13 places.
“We all had a plan,” Summerside said. “My plan was to hang back and let them come to me. It turned out the way we wanted it to. Thankfully, everyone ran well and we kept the tradition alive.”
Team work was a main theme through out today’s race. The Razorbacks finished four harriers in the top five, five in the top 7, seven in the top 21 and eight in the top 26.
“We thought we were ready to run,” McDonnell said. “We knew that Alabama and Florida had very good teams. It was a tremendous race and we took it out hard at the beginning. We did exactly what we wanted to do. Our front runner Peter Kosgei set a really hard pace and busted up the field. He ended up paying for it later but that’s what being a team is all about. That’s what we are all about.”
On the heels on Summerside were senior Peter Kosgei, who led the pack for most of the race, with a third-place finish and a time of 23:57.81 and junior Shawn Forrest was fourth with his clocking of 23:58.33.
Freshman Scott MacPherson made his SEC cross country championship debut a memorable one. Rounding out the top five, he finished fifth with a time of 24:06.7.
Sophomore captain Kenny Cormier rounded out the UA scorers with a seventh-place finish and an 8K time of 24:16.83.
Summerside, Kosgei, Forrest, MacPherson and Cormier earned All-SEC honors.
“We knew we were going to have to pull together as a team,” Summerside said. “That was the most important thing. It was definitely going to be a challenge. We knew it and we accepted it. We just wanted to keep the tradition alive.”
Adam Perkins finished 19th with a clocking of 24:56.13. Jonathan Norris crossed the line in 25:00.06, good for a 21st-place finish. Colin Costello was 26th with a time of 25:15.20.
For complete results of the 2006 SEC Championships, visit www.secsports.com or www.lsusports.net. Next up for the Razorbacks is the NCAA South Central Regional Championships in Waco, Texas, Nov. 11. A top two team finish will advance Arkansas to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 20.
Download: SEC men results 2006.pdf