SEC CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Razorbacks run away from field

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2018
Arkansas freshman Katrina Robinson runs at the Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas freshman Katrina Robinson runs at the Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas women's cross country Coach Lance Harter said the Razorbacks' plan at Friday's SEC Championships was to run in two waves.

"We were going to have wave one -- which is traditionally our top four -- and then a second wave to keep it close," Harter said. "But actually that second wave just tucked in with our front runners.

WOMEN’S SEC CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM SCORES

1. Arkansas 24

  1. Florida 69

  2. Ole Miss 116

  3. Georgia 144

  4. Missouri 149

  5. Vanderbilt 181

  6. Tennessee 197

  7. Alabama 242

  8. Kentucky 242

  9. Texas A&M 260

  10. LSU 275

  11. Mississippi State 277

  12. South Carolina 333

  13. Auburn 349

SEC WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL FINISHERS

6,000 meters

  1. Jessica Pascoe, Florida, 18:55.0

2. Katrina Robinson, Arkansas, 19:00.9

3. Lauren Gregory, Arkansas, 19:07.9

4. Carina Viljoen, Arkansas, 19:10.2

  1. Joyce Kimeli, Auburn, 19:21.7

6. Taylor Werner, Arkansas, 19:22.2

  1. Jessica Drop, Georgia, 19:26.6

  2. Elisabeth Bergh, Florida, 19:37.3

9. Sydney Brown, Arkansas, 19:43.8

10. Maddy Reed, Arkansas, 19:43.8

OTHER ARKANSAS FINSHERS

  1. Micah Huckabee, 19:53.8

  2. Rachel Nichwitz, 20:31.0

  3. Abby Gray, 20:34.3

  4. Megan Underwood, 21:00.6

  5. Alex Ritchey, 21:15.2

"It's always fun to watch when that common jersey in the lead is Arkansas."

The Razorbacks essentially had one big wave to run away with their sixth consecutive SEC title at Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Ala.

Florida junior Jessica Pascoe won the 6,000-meter race in 18:55.0, but the No. 5-ranked Razorbacks had the next three finishers and six in the top 10 to win with 24 points.

Arkansas freshman Katrina Robinson took second (19:00.9), sophomore Lauren Gregory third (19:07.9), junior Carina Viljoen fourth (19:07.9), junior Taylor Werner sixth (19:22.2) and senior Sydney Brown ninth (19:43.8).

"We all ran as a team," Robinson said. "I was really proud of us for getting a team victory.

"We trained through this week, so I don't think any of us felt amazing, but I'm really proud that we got the job done."

So dominant was Arkansas that junior Maddy Reed's 10th-place finish, didn't count in the Razorbacks scoring.

Florida was second with 69 points.

"This crew is very, very special," Harter said. "They're very team-oriented. It's just super exciting to see that type of depth continue to rise up and answer the challenge.

"We knew that we were the prohibitive favorite, so we took advantage of that momentum we created during the course of the season and let it work for us."

Arkansas broke its own record by becoming the first women's team to win six consecutive SEC cross country titles since the meet began being held in 1983.

The Razorbacks previously had won five in a row from 1991-95, 1998-2002 and 2013-17. The only other SEC team to win at least three consecutive titles is Tennessee from 2003-05.

"There are a lot of good teams that rise and fall during the course of one season to another, and somebody had picked us off before when we had a chance to get to six in a row until now," Harter said. "So it's always nice to add to our history."

Arkansas' 24 points were its third-lowest in an SEC meet behind a perfect score of 15 in 1999 and 17 in 2006 when the Razorbacks also won championships.

It was the 19th overall SEC cross title for Arkansas in 28 meets since the Razorbacks joined the conference in 1991. Tennessee is second in SEC titles with six.

"I'm elated with what we did," Harter said. "Now we've just got make sure we stay healthy. Regionals will probably be a little bit more relaxed, and then we go to the big one and try to do the things at the national meet that we did today."

Arkansas will compete at the South Central Regional on Nov. 9 in College Station, Texas. The NCAA meet will be run on Nov. 17 in Madison, Wis.

Sports on 10/27/2018

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