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Haile wins season opener on home course

08/30/2012
Athletic Communications
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FAYETTEVILLE – Junior All-American Solomon Haile pulled away teammate Eric Fernandez down the home stretch to take the individual title, and the No. 23 University of Arkansas men’s cross country team ran away from the competition at the season-opening Razorback Invitational at Agri Park on Thursday evening. The early season meet is the Razorbacks’ annual dual competition with Missouri Southern.

“It’s been a while since I have felt like this,” said Haile about his win. “I’m really happy to be back out on the course. It feels amazing.”

Arkansas’ top two runners ran as a pack throughout a majority of the 6,600-meter course before Haile took control of the race. In his first cross country race since the 2010 season, he crossed the finish line in a time of 19:51.4. Fernandez followed in a time of 20:09.1. The Razorbacks occupied six of the top seven spots and had seven inside the top 10 in Thursday’s race.

“Haile ran really well today,” Arkansas head coach Chris Bucknam said. “You can definitely tell he did his homework over the summer time. We are off to a good start and we will go from there.”

Overall, Arkansas runners combined to give the Razorbacks to a 25-point victory over Missouri Southern, 18-43. Senior David Flynn finished fourth for the Razorbacks in 20:40.7, followed by freshman Cale Wallace in fifth (20:46.7), senior Layne Nixon in sixth (20:58.0) and senior Cameron Efurd in seventh. (21:06.5).

Eric Schott was the top finisher for Missouri Southern in third place, crossing the line in a tie of 20:29.8. The Razorbacks are back in action Sept. 15 when they travel to Joplin, Mo., for the First to Finish Southern Stampede. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

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