– The 10th-ranked University of Arkansas men’s cross country team secured a place at the national meet Friday afternoon with its runner-up effort at the 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships at Agri Park in Fayetteville. With the team’s results, the Razorbacks will be making their 42nd appearance at the NCAA Championships.
“It was another nervy meet with a lot on the line today, but our kids did a great job,” head coach Chris Bucknam
said. “Our goal going into every meet is to win but with this one, we just wanted to finish in the top two to get the automatic qualifying position. I am happy with our performance and look forward to moving on to the national championship next week.”
Arkansas was paced by three top-eight performances from Kemoy Campbell
, Solomon Haile
and Eric Fernandez
. In his first regional competition for the Razorbacks, Campbell was the team’s top runner with a third-place finish. He crossed the finish line in a 10K time of 29:43.0. He was followed by Haile in fifth place at 30:07.5 and Fernandez in eighth at 30:19.8.
The team’s four and five spots were occupied by Layne Nixon
and David Flynn
, respectively. Nixon posted a time of 30:47.5 to finish in 14th place overall, while Flynn finished in 23rd place with a time of 31:24.3. Friday’s race was the first appearance in the scoring lineup for Flynn since the season-opening meet. The Razorbacks’ final, and sixth, runner in the race were Cameron Efurd
in 41st place overall with a time of 32:13.8.
“Our goal today was to come in and qualify for nationals,” Campbell said. “I think the guys did a great job of executing the plan. This was my first 10K and I feel like I ran well. I’m looking forward to the NCAA meet but I know it’s going to be a tough race, so the team and I are going to come away from today ready to prepare for next week.”
The Razorbacks collected five-all-region honors Friday with the performances from Campbell, Haile, Fernandez, Nixon and Flynn. In the overall team standings, Texas won the regional title to join Arkansas as automatic qualifiers. The top-five teams were rounded out by Texas A&M, McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin, respectively. Henry Lelei of Texas A&M was the individual champion.
The collegiate season comes to a close Nov. 17 with the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships. The national meet will be contested at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships
Agri Park (10,000m)
Team Results (top 10)
1. Texas, 38 (4-6-7-9-12)*
2. ARKANSAS, 53 (3-5-8-14-23)*
3. Texas A&M, 93 (1-13-18-25-36)
4. McNeese State, 157 (2-24-28-45-58)
5. Stephen F. Austin, 174 (11-22-43-47-51)
6. Rice, 190 (19-31-34-42-64)
7. Lamar, 211 (10-32-41-49-79)
8. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 228 (15-30-38-70-75)
9. Central Arkansas, 253 (16-20-65-67-85)
10. Arkansas-Little Rock, 260 (33-39-52-53-83)
3. Kemoy Campbell - 29:43.0
5. Solomon Haile - 30:07.5
8. Eric Fernandez - 30:19.8
14. Layne Nixon - 30:47.5
23. David Flynn - 31:24.3
41. Cameron Efurd - 32:13.8
* - qualified for NCAA Championships