FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Gifted in swimming from an early age, Arkansas signee Safee Belbina stumbled into success in cross country and track and field after picking up both sports during her eighth grade year.
Belbina native swam competitively from 2007 through 2011 and only ran occasionally to differentiate her training methods. She qualified for the Junior Olympics during four out of her five competitive years and claimed the gold in 2010 for her age group in the 1650-meter free and took the runner-up spot at 1,000 and 500 meters.
“As a competitive swimmer for five years, I ran for fun on the side,” said Belbina. “I decided to try cross country in high school and fell in love with the sport, it became a passion and I never looked back.”
Taking on the new sport, the Texas native progressed at a fast rate winning the Texas 5A District 8 Championships in 2011 which she followed up with a ninth-place finish at the state meet later that year. Belbina had a breakout season in 2014 running sub-17 in the 5,000-meter run at the Green Hill All Comers and posting another PR in the 3200-meter run for a career high fourth-place finish at the state meet.
Belbina capped her senior year of cross country running a top 10 national time in the 5K to finish as the runner-up at the Texas 6A Region 1 meet. She will join the Razorbacks for their pursuit of the program’s third consecutive cross country SEC title this fall.
“I had been interested in Arkansas since my freshman year of high school,” Belbina said. “Coach Harter is a great person who has built an amazing running program and the school itself has a very good reputation,” she continued. “I fell in love with the school, campus and people.”
To Belbina, being a Razorback means opportunity to grow academically and athletically and she’s ready to take full advantage of both.
Safee Belbina At-A-Glance
Birth Place: Nottingham, England
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas
High School: Flower Mound High School
|5K Cross Country||Nike Cross National South (11/23/13)||17.48.60|
|3 Miles Cross Country||Region 1 Championships (11/02/13)||17.21.70|
|5000 Track||Greenhill Allcomers (05/13/14)||16.54.90|
|3200 Track||UIL 5A State Championships (05/10/14)||10.31.18|
|1600 Track||UIL 5A State Championships (05/10/14)||4.58.66|
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