Hog Calls:

Razorbacks keep running toward records

By: Nate Allen
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Arkansas coach Lance Harter holds an SEC championship trophy during an on-field recognition at the Razorbacks' football game against Tulsa on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas coach Lance Harter holds an SEC championship trophy during an on-field recognition at the Razorbacks' football game against Tulsa on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- At the offices that Arkansas' men's and women's track and field and cross country programs share above John McDonnell Field the Razorbacks' men's program long posts a wall board acknowledging its all-time top performers for each event.

The women's program works on one but apparently not soon enough for some, Arkansas Women's Coach Lance Harter said.

"Dominique Scott came by and said, 'Coach, we need to put the record boards up like the men have. We need to have those right away!'" Harter said. "I said, 'We're going to do it, but we're not ready to do it right away.' She said 'No! you need to do it right away before Katrina breaks all my records.'"

Harter laughed.

Scott, the former NCAA champion and 2016 Olympian for South Africa still competing among the world's best, and Amy Yoder, a former NCAA champion and U.S. Olympian, dominate UA women's distance records.

But some day, they indeed might move down a peg on the all-time list if Katrina Robinson keeps improving at her astonishing rate.

The Austin, Texas, born but Brisbane, Australia, raised freshman has outstanding caliber track range from the 800 to the 10,000, Harter said.

She's already a cross country sensation.

On Harter's nationally No. 4 cross country team so deep in proven underclassmen it can afford to redshirt injured All-SEC cross country senior Devin Clark, Robinson leads the overwhelmingly favored Razorbacks women defending their SEC Cross Country championship Friday morning at Auburn, Ala.

Literally leads them. Even in workouts, Harter said, which usually has runners taking turns taking the pace.

"At first they wondered, 'Why does she have to lead?" Harter said. "Then that first meet (winning the Chile Pepper start to finish) it was 'Now we know why. She's really, really good!'"

And a really good teammate, too, Harter said, fitting in with an all-star cast that includes 2016 All-American Taylor Werner and Carina Viljoen, the team's NCAA Cross Country meet leader last year.

History from 1974 and 2010 shows after two mulligans, an Arkansas men's coach seizes the conference cross country crown and never lets go.

John McDonnell in 1974 coached his first Razorbacks Southwest Conference Cross Country title in his third season.

McDonnell's Razorbacks won every SWC Cross Country championship through 1990. They switched in 1991 to the Southeastern Conference and won every SEC Cross Country title through 2007.

Under Chris Bucknam, the Razorbacks didn't win SEC Cross Country his first two transitional years after McDonnell retired. They won in 2010 starting a string running eight straight.

Graduating four of top of his six from last year caused Bucknam's men to start this season picked third behind Alabama, injury plagued so far but extremely talented, and Ole Miss.

His Hogs haven't always been favored during their eight straight and certainly don't back down now, Bucknam asserts.

"I'm hoping we can do what we've done which is rise to the occasion at these championship meets," Bucknam said. "It's in our DNA even though we've got some new guys."

Sports on 10/24/2018

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