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UA cross country teams primed for regional

by Bob Holt | November 12, 2021 at 2:16 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE — After the University of Arkansas men’s and women’s cross country teams swept SEC championships two weeks ago, they’re favored to do the same thing at today’s NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas.

The top two teams at nine regional races automatically advance to the NCAA Championships held on Nov. 20 in Tallahassee, Fla. There also will be at-large teams that advance out of the regionals.

“You’re not going to see our best race at Waco,” said Lance Harter, coach of Arkansas No. 8-ranked women’s Coach Lance Harter said. “It’s going to be in Tallahassee.” The same statement applies to the Razorbacks’ No. 7 men’s team.

“We’re going to try to do the best we can and have an honest race,” Arkansas men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “But also hopefully save something for that race in seven more days.

“The way we’ve run, we can probably get third or fourth and still qualify, but that’s more stress.” The women’s 6,000 meters race begins at 10 a.m. at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course with the men’s 10,000 meters race at 11 a.m.

Arkansas’ women’s team, which has won nine consecutive regional titles and 14 of the last 20, will be led by Lauren Gregory, Meghan Underwood and Isabel Van Camp with Krissy Gear sitting out.

“We’ll go in and try to control the race from near the front and walk away as healthy and comfortable as possible,” Harter said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to go in with a big target on our back. I think a lot of people’s race plans are going to be looking at Arkansas — men and women — to see what we do. That’s a credit to everything that’s been done previously this season.

“We’re not taking it for granted, but if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll be fine.” Bucknam said the Arkansas men, who have won 38 regional championships since 1976 and 16 since 2000, will go with their top seven runners, led by Amon Kemboi and Gilbert Boit.

“We’re running all of our top guys to keep the fires burning,” Bucknam said. “With the national championships in seven days after this race, you don’t want to do anything to change the mojo of your team.” Men’s and women’s teams from the University of Central Arkansas are also scheduled to run in today’s event.

At a glance

NCAA SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY MEET

WHEN Women’s 6,000 meters race at 10 a.m. today. Men’s 10,000 meters race at 11 a.m.

WHERE Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, Waco, Texas FORMAT Top two teams automatically advance to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 20 in Tallahassee, Fla.

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