Razorback men, women prevail at Chile Pepper

By: Rick Fires
Published: Sunday, October 1, 2017
Arkansas senior Alex George "throws the A" Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, as he comes in to win the men's collegiate 10k during the 29th annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival at Ari Park in Fayetteville. Three of the top four finishers were from Arkansas.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas senior Alex George "throws the A" Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, as he comes in to win the men's collegiate 10k during the 29th annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival at Ari Park in Fayetteville. Three of the top four finishers were from Arkansas.

FAYETTEVILLE -- One of the songs blaring over the loud speakers at Agri Park on Saturday contained the lyric "The Hogs are on fire."

The Razorbacks were on fire, especially Alex George.

The Arkansas men's cross country won the team standings and Alex George took the individual championship at the 29th annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival. Arkansas runners took three of the top four positions to outdistance second place Colorado School of the Mines, 37 to 47. Texas State finished well back in third place with 175 points.

George crossed the finish line ahead of the pack in the 10K race in a time of 29 minutes and 45.2 seconds. Teammates Jack Bruce (30.03.6) and Austin Dalquist (30:12.2) finished third and fourth, respectively.

"We've got a lot of improvement to make, but I was really pleased with how they handled the 10K distance," Arkansas men's Coach Chris Bucknam said of the Razorbacks' top finishers. "Alex ran a very controlled race. He was smooth and relaxed."

George was pleased with his showing after he finished second overall and 30 seconds behind the winner in an 8K race at the Chile Pepper last year.

"I thought I executed our plan well and I felt really smooth doing it," George said. "Probably with just past a mile to go, I ran really hard and kept accelerating. We ran as a team and it's a really good confidence-booster to win here at the Chile Pepper."

The Arkansas women also took first place despite splitting its team between the Chile Pepper and a meet at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Friday. The Arkansas women totaled 33 points in Fayetteville on Saturday after finishing 21st using only five runners at Notre Dame on Friday.

Freshman Ashton Endsley (16:48) finished fourth and junior Sydney Brown (16:56.1) fifth for Arkansas at the Chile Pepper, where Aminat Olowara won the 5K overall title in a time of 16:23.1.

"Ashton is going to be a future star for us," Arkansas women's Coach Lance Harter said. "Sydney has been with us two years and this was a breakthrough race for her. She did a fantastic job."

Endsley and Brown said they mostly ran together and helped each other finish strong.

"It was amazing," Endsley said about running in the Chile Pepper for the first time. "It's exactly what I've dreamed about."

Bucknam said before Saturday that Arkansas traditionally uses the Chile Pepper Festival as a "launching pad" for its competitive season. He said he was pleased with the overall performance and that the Hogs are now better prepared for the upcoming Pre-National meet in Louisville, Ky.

"We've got a solid group of guys and it was a good effort today," Bucknam said. "I feel good about the Pre-Nationals and some other meets we have coming up in the next four weeks."

Sports on 10/01/2017

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