Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Arkansas teams favored at regional meet
Arkansas' Isabel Van Camp (left) races former Razorback Lauren Gregory during the Chile Pepper Festival on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas men’s and women’s cross country teams are running at the South Central Regional in College Station, Texas, today to advance to the NCAA Championships.
The two top teams automatically qualify for the NCAA meet on Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla., and both Razorback squads are heavily favored to advance.
Arkansas’ women’s team is going for its 11th consecutive regional title and 26th overall.
“We’re fortunate that we have a pretty powerful team compared to our region,” Razorbacks women’s Coach Lance Harter said. “We’ll go in as a prohibitive favorite.
“That doesn’t mean we can just go into cruise control. But with the legacy we’ve established and the performances we’ve had thus far this season, it puts us in an enviable position.”
Arkansas will be led by junior Isabel Van Camp, who took fourth at the SEC Championships, and freshmen Sydney Thorvaldson and Mia Cochran, who were 11th and 12th.
“We’re fortunate enough that we can almost train through this competition ultimately to get ready for the national championships in eight days,” Harter said.
Arkansas’ men’s team has won 38 regional titles and finished second behind Texas the previous two times the meet was held — it was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic — to advance to the NCAA Championships.
The Razorbacks are led by sophomore Patrick Kiprop, who was fifth at the SEC meet, and sophomore Elias Schreml and junior Myles Richter, who were 10th and 12th.
“I just know nothing’s easy,” Arkansas men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “I don’t take anything for granted.
“We do have to finish in the top two. I’d imagine that’s a very doable task for us, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
When the Razorbacks ran at the South Central Regional in 2018 in College Station, Bucknam became ill.
“I woke up sick as a dog,” Bucknam said. “I didn’t even go to the race.”
Cale Wallace, a former Razorback runner, was Bucknam’s volunteer coach at the time.
“I called Cale and I said, ‘Dude, you’re on today. Don’t mess it up,’ ” Bucknam said. “He did a good job and we won.”
Wallace, now an Iowa State assistant coach, followed Bucknam’s game plan and the Razorbacks won the regional title.
“For the most part you have to treat this race as the final until you have it in hand,” Bucknam said. “With a mile or two to go you can do some quick math in your head and pull the reigns back, kind of what we did last year. Because winning it makes no difference, you need to be in the top two.”
NCAA South Central Regional cross country meet
WHEN Women’s 6,000 meters race at 8:30 a.m. today. Men’s 10,000 meters race at 9:30 a.m.
WHERE Texas A&M Watts cross country course, College Station, Texas
FORMAT Top two teams automatically advance to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla.
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