EARLYSVILLE, Va. – No. 7 Arkansas returns to the Panorama Farms course in Virginia for a 10,000m race in the NCAA Championships on Saturday, November 18, at 10:10 a.m. (CT). The event will be shown live on ESPNU starting at 8:30 a.m. (CT).
Live results and team scoring: https://live.pttiming.com/xc-ptt.html?mid=5806
This marks the 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championship field for the Razorbacks, who collected a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 2020 and 2021 NCAA meets. It’s also the 49th time for Arkansas to advance in the past 50 seasons, with 2011 the lone year breaking the consecutive streak over that span.
Overall, this marks the 53rd appearance by Arkansas in the NCAA Cross Country Championships since its first appearance in 1957. The Razorbacks are tied with Colorado for the third most appearances behind Wisconsin (61) and Notre Dame (55).
“We planned through our training back in the summer time knowing we have an eight day turn around between regionals and the national meet,” said Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “I think we’re well prepared for that and our guys look good.
“We were fortunate that we were able to rest four guys during the regional and still qualify. Hopefully that helps with their performance on Saturday.”
On a previous trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, the Razorbacks won the Pre-Nationals team title in mid-October with Ben Shearer leading the Arkansas squad with an individual victory in an 8k course record of 22:55.0.
Shearer bettered the previous mark of 22:55.9 set in 2022 by Notre Dame’s Carter Soloman during the ACC Championships. Teammates Kirami Yego (23:04.2) and Patrick Kiprop (23:11.5) produced the sixth and equal 10th fastest times on the course.
“I’m really excited to get back on this course,” said Shearer. “We’ve already been out there and done a really good job. That familiarity kind of helps going into the national meet.
“The course in Virginia is a little bit different course than Stillwater was last year. It’s a little bit rougher, not like running on a soft, manicured golf course. That’s cross country for you, it’s a little bit muddy, a little bit rough, and that speaks to something our team is a little bit better at.”
The 10k course record at Panorama Farms is 29:20.7 set in the 2019 NCAA Southeast Region meet by Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer. Arkansas alum Amon Kemboi posted a time of 29:37.7 in that region meet, fourth best overall, while at Campbell University. A new course was created at Panorama Farms prior to the 2019 season.
“I think it’s really important to get on the course the year we’re competing on it for nationals,” noted Bucknam. “We got that accomplished in mid-October. We had a really good meet at Pre-Nationals and the kids handled it really well. There will be a lot more bodies out there from what we saw at Pre-Nationals so it will be a little more crowded.
“I think we have a good plan on what we’re going to do and we’re just going to get our heads right and get after it.”
Northern Arizona enters the meet as the No. 1 team in the nation. They have won 6 of the past 7 national team titles, claiming titles in three consecutive years twice (2016-18, 2020-22). Oklahoma State, who last won the NCAA championship in 2012, ranks second with BYU, the 2019 NCAA champion, ranked third.
In last year’s meet Northern Arizona and Oklahoma State tied with 83 points apiece. Northern Arizona won the tie-breaker to claim the team title.
Those three programs have maintained their respective national ranking throughout the 2023 season. Meanwhile, four different teams have been in the No. 4 ranking position this season. The top four teams each receive a trophy at the NCAA Championships.
North Carolina holds the No. 4 position heading into the national meet this weekend followed by Texas and Wisconsin tied for No. 5. Following Arkansas in the No. 7 position are Butler, Stanford and Princeton.
The Razorbacks have seven athletes who were in last season’s NCAA meet, where Arkansas placed 23rd. Kiprop finished 24th on the Oklahoma State course in 2022 while Yego placed 37th with South Alabama as both earned All-America honors for a top 40 finish.
Razorbacks with NCAA Championship experience also include Myles Richter, Ben Shearer, Jacob McLeod, Elias Schreml, and Josh Shearer. Lexington Hilton qualified for the 2021 NCAA meet as an individual while at Arkansas State.
Richter was the fifth Razorback and McLeod the sixth runner on the 2021 fourth-place team. In 2020, McLeod finished fourth among the Arkansas squad on that fourth-place team.
“We’ve always had great athletes on the team, but this year with the mentality of everyone here together we’re all on the same plan and have the same goals,” stated Shearer. “Everybody is just putting every ounce of effort into practice and all the little things. We’re all in this together.”