FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback junior Dorian Ulrey made his cross country debut a memorable one with a fourth-place finish at the 21st annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, in Fayetteville, on Saturday.
No. 25 Arkansas finished third in the team race with 89 points. The Hogs finished three runners in the top 20 and all five scorers in the top 26. No. 4 Oklahoma State won the team race with 21 points. The Cowboys finished their top three runners 1-2-3 and all five scorers in the top 10. No. 23 Oklahoma was second with 52 points. The Sooners finished three runners in the top 10 and all five scorers in the top 17.
In the men’s 10,000-meter race, 29 teams competed and 243 runners crossed the finish line.
"I knew Oklahoma State was going to do their thing but I thought we’d be a little closer to Oklahoma," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "They are two great teams and we hung with them. We have two important guys who didn’t run today, Eric Fernandez and Solomon Haile, and we needed other guys to step up. Patrick Russell, Rick Elliott and Rio Reina did that for us."
"I think the course was in much better condition than anyone expected after all the rain we’ve had," Bucknam said. "I don’t think it presented any kind of problems. There were a few soft spots but everyone had to deal with that."
In his first collegiate cross country race since the 2007 season and his first in an Arkansas uniform, Ulrey crossed the finish line with a 10,000-meter time of 29:37.50. He was the top Arkansas, SEC and South Central region finisher. His time is currently the fastest clocked in the SEC this season.
"What a great way to start the season," Ulrey said. "I feel really good and this was a great crowd to run in front of. I’m still shaking the dust off a little bit and getting used to racing again but I’m pretty happy with how today went."
Junior Lane Boyer was the second Razorback to cross the finish line. He did so in a 10K personal-best time of 30:37.11. He also picked up his best individual finish at the Chile Pepper. Boyer was the second SEC runner to cross the finish line and the fourth runner from the South Central Region. His time currently ranks No. 2 in the SEC.
Sophomore Rick Elliott was third on the team and 24th overall. He clocked a 10K best of 30:42.36 and also picked up his best finish at the Chile Pepper. In his first Chile Pepper race and only his fourth race with Arkansas, junior Patrick Russell was the Razorbacks’ fourth scorer. He clocked a time of 30:44.77.
Senior Rio Reina rounded out the Arkansas scorers in 31st place. He also clocked a 10K personal-best time of 30:57.65.
Also competing for Arkansas were freshman Aaron Hamilton (46th, 31:21.84), junior Michael Chinchar (70th, 31:49.75) and freshman Cameron Efurd (104th, 32:27.88). Hamilton and Efurd, both Rogers (Ark.) High School alums, ran their first Chile Pepper 10Ks on Saturday.
The Razorbacks will compete next at the SEC Championships, Sat., Oct. 31, in Oxford, Miss. For more information, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or secsports.com.