OXFORD, Miss. – No. 28 Arkansas Razorback men’s cross country earned a runner-up finish in the team race behind No. 6 Alabama at the 2009 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ole Miss.
The Razorbacks scored 61 points behind the Crimson Tide’s 56 points. No. 24 Auburn rounded out the top three with 86 points.
Led by Ulrey’s runner-up finish in the individual race, the Razorbacks finished three runners in the top nine, five scorers in the top 23 and all nine finishers in the top 66.
"We came very close to winning an SEC title today and that’s a hard pill to swallow right now," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "That takes nothing away from a great effort by our team. No. 6 Alabama was heavily favored but our kids ignored the polls and fought hard. We nearly accomplished our goal. We will continue our push towards nationals, building off the experience of this meet, trying to improve."
Ulrey, in his SEC cross country debut, earned a runner-up finish with his 8,000-meter time of 24:33.30. Running his first 8K in an Arkansas uniform, he earned first-team All-SEC honors and was the top newcomer in the race.
"The team had a great collective effort," Ulrey said. "The race plan was nearly perfectly executed and, perhaps on another day, we might have won. We ran like Razorbacks today. We’re only now just beginning to realize how good this young team can be when all the pieces come together."
Junior Lane Boyer earned his second All-SEC honor with his eighth-place finish. Boyer clocked an 8K time of 24:59.83 to earn second-team All-SEC honors. Freshman Solomon Haile, making his SEC cross country debut, was Arkansas’ third runner. He picked up a ninth-place finish with a time of 25:01.12. Haile was the top freshman finisher, earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors and was named second-team All-SEC.
Sophomore Rick Elliott was the Razorbacks’ fourth scorer in 19th-place. He clocked a time of 25:28.67. Freshman Aaron Hamilton, making his SEC cross country debut, was the final Arkansas scorer in 23rd place. His 8K time of 25:48.01 earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team as the third freshman finisher overall.
Also competing for Arkansas were junior Michael Chinchar (26th, 25:56.19), senior Rio Reina (30th, 26:01.42), junior Patrick Russell (37th, 26:17.59) and freshman Cameron Efurd (66th, 27:47.17).
The Razorbacks will compete next at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships, Sat., Nov. 14, at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. For more information and complete results, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com, OleMissSports.com or SECSports.com.