Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
UA women's cross country claims 12th consecutive NCAA regional
Arkansas' Sydney Thorvaldson, Mia Cochran and Mary Ellen Eudaly are shown competing Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in the NCAA South Central Regional at Agri Park in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Sophomores Sydney Thorvaldson and Mia Cochran finished 1-2 to lead the No. 11 Arkansas women’s cross country team to a 12th consecutive NCAA South Central Regional title.
“It’s nice to keep on with the winning streak,” said Thorvaldson, who won the 6,000-meter race Friday at Arkansas’ Agri-Park in 19:52.0. “Being part of that is incredible.”
By finishing among the top two teams, the Razorbacks automatically advanced to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 18 in Charlottesville, Va. Texas A&M took second with 90 points.
“We knew we had to go out and get the job done,” said Arkansas assistant Megan Elliott, who coaches the distance runners. “We tried to run as a pack the first half of the race, and then it was kind of like, ‘Hey, let’s see how we’re feeling in the second half.’ And we closed pretty strong.”
Thorvaldson was in control of the race from start to finish.
“Syd looked great today,” Elliott said. “She’s been climbing all season, so she’s going to be ready at the right time. Winning is a lot of confidence for her moving into the big dance next week.”
Freshman Paityn Noe, the Razorbacks’ top runner this season, was held out Friday.
“We were just resting her to make sure she’s ready to run her best in eight days,” Elliott said. “It’s a long year for a freshman. So we want to put her in the best position to do well at nationals.”
Cochran finished second in 20:14.2 after taking 16th at the SEC Championships two weeks ago.
“Mia had a bit of a rough one at SECs and she’s turned it around the last couple weeks and is coming on now,” Elliott said. “We’re excited to see what she’s going to be able to do the next week with the momentum she got today.”
Arkansas State junior Rahel Broemmel finished fifth in 20:20.7 to lead the Red Wolves to a seventh-place finish with 166 points.
Also scoring for Arkansas on Friday were sophomore Mary Ellen Eudaly (sixth in 20:22.5), senior Laura Taborda (10th in 20:43.3) and junior Nyah Hernandez (17th in 21:03.6).
“It was nice to be able to pack up and run with a bunch of my teammates surrounding me as we carried out our race strategy,” Thorvaldson said. “Then when it got to a point where I felt really good making a move, I did.”
Thorvaldson said the Razorbacks ran well, but didn’t have to overextend themselves going into the NCAA Championships.
“You have to treat it as a race and still respect the competition, because there are lots of talented runners out there,” Thorvaldson said. “But I think we also had the luxury to dictate the pace and do what we wanted to do and not wear ourselves out.”
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