WACO, Texas – No. 22 Arkansas Razorback men’s cross country picked up its first NCAA South Central Regional title under second-year head coach Chris Bucknam on Saturday at Baylor University. Arkansas was led by a 1-2 finish from junior Dorian Ulrey and freshman Solomon Haile.
"I’m pleased our guys won this regional title," Bucknam said. "Solomon Haile really had a breakthrough race. I’m more pleased with Lane Boyer every week because he is consistently improving. Dorian Ulrey looks as fit as I have ever seen him."
The Razorbacks finished 1-2-7-16-22 for a total of 47 points. All five scorers earned all-region honors. The University of Texas finished second with 74 points and Lamar University was third with 83 points. Arkansas and Texas earn the automatic bids to the NCAA Championships later this month.
Arkansas won its 30th NCAA South Central Regional Championship on Saturday. The Razorbacks won 18-consecutive NCAA South Central titles (1990-2007) and have won 30 of the 32 NCAA South Central Championships awarded since 1978. Arkansas has now won 19 individual NCAA South Central Regional titles. Prior to Ulrey’s win Saturday, the most recent came in 2004 from Josphat Boit.
"We took another small step towards improving today," Bucknam said. "We still have another big step in front of us at the NCAA Championships. I think we really did a good job managing our roster earlier in the season. Holding Dorian out, resting Solomon at the Chile Pepper, holding Michael Chinchar out today; I think those decisions will really pay off for us in the end."
Ulrey, running in his first regional cross country meet since the 2007 season, picked up his first cross country win as a Razorback. He crossed the finish line in a 10,000-meter time of 30:24.6. Ulrey paced two of his teammates to top seven finishes, three Razorbacks to top 16 finishes and all five scorers to top 22 spots. He earned all-region honors and has not finished outside of the top four in a race this season. To date, only four runners have crossed the finish line ahead of him this season.
"Our team had a lot to prove today," Ulrey said. "We took back the regional title and proved that our performance at the SEC Championships wasn’t a fluke. I think today’s success is just the tip of the iceberg for this team. We were focused and we ran with purpose. We had a goal and we ran to achieve it."
Haile, in his first collegiate 10K, picked up a runner-up finish behind Ulrey. He crossed the line in a time of 30:25.9 and earned the first all-region honor of his career. Junior Lane Boyer was seventh with a time of 30:59.5. He earned the second all-region honor of his career.
Junior Patrick Russell clocked a 10K time of 31:30.6 and was the fourth Razorback to cross the finish line. His 16th-place finish earned him all-region honors. Sophomore Rick Elliott rounded out the Arkansas scoring five with a 22nd-place finish and a time of 31:58.4. He earned the first all-region honor of his career.
Also competing for the Razorbacks were senior Rio Reina (26th, 32:13.1) and freshman Aaron Hamilton (34th, 32:38.8).
Arkansas will compete next at the NCAA Championships on Monday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind. For complete results and more information from the NCAA South Central Regional Championships, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or BaylorBears.com.