FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A new tradition has started on the University of Arkansas campus and the Razorback women’s cross country team was the first squad to be honored with an invitation to the Wallace W. and Jama M. Fowler House for winning the 2008 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships.
Chancellor Dave Gearhart and his wife, Jane, in conjunction with Director of Athletics Jeff Long, have formed a new initiative to honor Razorback teams that win an SEC Championship with a ceremony at the Fowler House, the home of Chancellor and Mrs. Gearhart.
"We are proud to launch a new tradition that celebrates outstanding team achievement in our 19 sport programs at the University of Arkansas," Long said. "Winning an SEC Championship is often as difficult as winning a national championship, so any time our student-athletes achieve that feat it is worthy of recognition. We appreciate Chancellor Gearhart and Jane for opening up their home to help us honor these special student-athletes for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the fields of competition. Congratulations to Coach Harter and this group of extraordinary young women on being the first Razorback team to be invited to the Fowler House."
The Arkansas women’s cross country team, coaches and support staff attended the reception and ceremony at the Fowler House on Tuesday evening. Members of the team were presented with a Chancellor’s Award medal recognizing their outstanding achievements in athletic competition and academic endeavors. In addition, Coach Harter and the women’s cross country team presented Chancellor and Mrs. Gearhart a trophy to commemorate the first league championship in Chancellor Gearhart’s tenure.
"Our team and staff are so honored to take part in such a unique celebration," head coach Lance Harter said. "Our student-athletes work so hard throughout the season, in athletics and in the classroom. They deserve this special opportunity to visit with and get the opportunity to know the Gearharts and Jeff Long. We are excited to be the first Arkansas team to take part in this new tradition and hope to be invited back soon."
Members of the athletic department’s executive staff were also on hand for the reception.
The Razorbacks won the 2008 SEC Cross Country title last November. The title was the third straight for Arkansas and its 13th SEC cross country title overall. The Razorbacks now hold 19 SEC titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
Sophomore Catherine White was the SEC individual champion while Harter was named the SEC and NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year. The Razorbacks had three runners earn All-SEC honors and six student-athletes named to the all-region team.
For more information about Arkansas Athletics, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.