TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — From August to November, Arkansas has been gearing up for this weekend’s season finale as they face off against top programs from across the country at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championship.
Lining up in box 29, the Razorbacks look to race past their current No. 9 rank on Saturday morning in Terre Haute, Indiana, jostling through the packed fray for a potential spot on the podium.
“Everybody’s healthy and we’re ready to go,” head coach Lance Harter said. “We obviously have a sophomore and two freshmen leading our team with three seniors tucked in behind in Valerie Reina, Therese Haiss and Regan Ward so I think we have a good mixture of youth and veterans.”
The NCAA meet will feature 31 total teams, 18 of which earned automatic bids as the top two best of their regions and 13 who raced to at-large spots. Each team is allowed to field seven runners in the competition, whom will be joined in the mix by 38 individual qualifiers.
Let’s Check The Polls
Holding strong in the USTFCCCA Coaches’ top 10, Arkansas is separated from No. 4 Stanford by only a 37-point differential. The Razorbacks placed ahead of the Cardinals by a four-point margin earlier this season on the NCAA course at the Pre-National Invitational.
“At Pre-Nats I thought we got out in good position but then we had a tendency to kind of fall asleep a little bit and charge late,” Harter said. “I think, collectively they’ve all agreed that [this time] we need to get out, establish ourselves, start the fight earlier and finish hard.”
The current national top-10 teams are: No. 1 Colorado, No. 2 NC State, No. 3 Providence, No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 New Mexico (defending champions), No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 Arkansas and No. 10 San Francisco.
Arkansas Cross Country By The Numbers (NCAAs Edition)
• Five Podium Finishes (Last in 1999, second).
• 31 All-America Honors – four in last five years (Kristen Gillespie, 2011 / Dominique Scott, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
• Best Individual National Finish: Second, Deena Drossin (1992) & Amy Yoder (1999)
• Top 2015 NCAA Returner: Devin Clark, 48th (20:31.70)
The championship will begin at 10 a.m. CT with the women’s 6K race. The men’s 10K race will follow at 11 a.m. after which an awards ceremony will be held for the top individual performers and team champions.
On Wednesday afternoon the NCAA and FloSports announced a multi-year partnership to provide live and archived coverage of the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships exclusively on FloTrack.com.
A free 7-Day trial is available to access the 2016 Division I NCAA Cross Country Championships. Watch live Saturday here: http://bit.ly/2emLXEU.
Live results will also be available for fans to follow the progress of the meet.
#NCAAXC Quick Links
2015 NCAA Championship Results – Top Four (Points)
1. New Mexico (49), 2. Colorado (129), 3. Oregon (214), 4. Providence (231) | 9. Arkansas (276)
2016 Cross Country Schedule
Thurs, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.) | 1st of 6
Sat, Sept. 17 – Southern Stampede (Joplin, Mo.) | 1st of 2
Sat, Sept. 17 – Riverside Invitational (Riverside, Calif.) | 1st of 20
Sat, Oct. 1 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park) | 1st of 18
Sat, Oct. 15 – Pre-Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.) | 5th of 42
Fri, Oct. 28 – SEC Championship (Agri Park) | 1st of 14
Fri, Nov. 11 – NCAA South Central Regional (Agri Park) | 1st of 20
Sat, Nov. 19 – NCAA Championship (Terre Haute, Ind.) 10:00 a.m.
Bold denotes a home event.