FAYETTEVILLE – Just 48 hours after running for Arkansas’ nationally seventh team finishing Razorbacks at the NCAA Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Amon Kemboi, Gilbert Boit and Jacob McLeod joined cross country fresh teammates Luke Meade and in running the Razorbacks to a podium standing fourth-place team Monday at the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Okla.
And just 48 hours after running for Arkansas’ women winning the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Krissy Gear, Logan Morris, Abby Gray and University of Central Arkansas transfer Gracie Hyde, joined by cross country freshman Corie Smith, scored a 10th place Arkansas team finish at the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships in Stillwater.
Arkansas Men’s Coach Chris Bucknam and Arkansas Women’s Coach Lance Harter, smiled from Stillwater to Fayetteville contacted post race Monday. Both exuded pride in their Razorbacks that won SEC Cross Country last fall and SEC Indoor last month before this long weekend’s unprecedented double duty off the NCAA’s decision because of covid concerns causing so many not running cross country last fall to holding the NCAA Cross Country championships on the heels of the long scheduled Thursday through Saturday NCAA Indoor in Fayetteville.
NCAA champion through third-place men’s teams Northern Arizona, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State and NCAA champion through third place women’s teams Brigham Young, North Carolina State and Stanford didn’t run any of their cross country athletes on the track in Fayetteville nor did NCAA Women’s individual NCAA Cross Country championships Mercy Chelangat of Alabama or NCAA Men’s Cross Country champion Connor Mantz of Brigham Young.
“I think there were only 20 athletes in that 300 something group running (men’s) cross country today that ran at the indoor championships” Bucknam said. “My hats off to that 20 but we had four of them. And two of them Amon and Gilbert, doubled in then 3K and 5K at track. Amon was 11th today and Gilbert, 40th and both of them All-Americans. Just a great effort by our guys.”
Kemboi, an All-American fourth in indoor track’s, 3,000 meters, placed 10th as a cross country team scorer since qualified individuals running for less than a full team don’t count in team standings. Kemboi completed the men’s 10,000-meter course in 30:14.2. Meade, placed 38th, 33rd for team, in 30:44.9. Boit placed 40th. 34th for team in 30:44.9; Boit, 40th, 34th and 30:46.4; McLeod, 57th, 49th, and 31:04.2; and Cheboson. set back by covid in January, 63rd,. 55th and 31:07.
Coaching the NCAA Women’s Cross Country championship team champion when the meet had last run in autumn 2019, Harter knew his team was out of national contention with schedule and opted to withdraw injury prone All-American Lauren Gregory from the Stillwater race after her All-American distance medley relay and 3,000-meter double in Fayetteville and also withheld coming off an injury freshman Taylor Ewert.
“For us to get 10th considering who we pulled out and who we raced 48 hours ago is absolutely remarkable..”Harter said. “I’m so pleased with the competitiveness of the people that scored for us. That was above and beyond the call of duty.”
At Stillwater Gear placed 21st, 16th for team, and completed the women’s 6,000-meter course in 20:30.03.
Morris placed, 64th, 52nd for team, in 21:13.7; Gray placed 73rd, 59th for team, in 21:19.1; Hyde placed 104th, 84th for team, 21:31.4 and Smith, 133rd, 104th for team in 21:45.4.
“Krissy Gear made All-American and Logan Morris and Abby Gray finished in the 60s and 70s,” Harter said. “That’s the highest either have had had at a national meet. It just went really, really well. And Gracie Hyde, that’s a young lady that’s never been to this meet to watch or race. We’re super pleased that they’re all back to race next year.”
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GEAR 21ST 16TH 20:30.3
MORRIS 64TH 52ND 21:13.7
GRAY 73rd 59th; 21:19.1
HYDE 104th 84th 21:31.4
Corie SMITH 133 104 21:45.4
AMON KEMBOI 11TH 10TH 30:14.2
LUKE MEADE 38TH 33RD 30:44.9
GILBERT BOIT 40T 34TH 30:46.4
JACOB MCLEOD 57T 49TH 31:04.2
EMANUEL CHEBOSON 63RD 55T 31:07.7
CHRIS BUCKNAM: Just a great effort by our guys. It’s been an unbelievable two weeks. I think there were only 20 athletes in that 300 something group that ran at the indoor championships. My hats off to that 20 but we had four of them and two of them Amon and Gilbert, doubled in then 3K and 5K and Amon was 11th and Gilbert, 40th and both of them All-Americans.
AMON WEEKL I sent the poor guy on a suicide mission but we had a good talk after that 5K and he came back in the 3K to finish fourth and then to do what he did here to finish fourth on how difficult this course.
Just a helluva effort. Those guys ahead of u and a bunch of guys behind us they were fresh. I feel great about the accomplishment and it brings us a step closer to challenging Northern Arizona next fall.
MEAM Cheboson had covid in canary and battled back. It was a long road back for him. He’s 100 percent healthy but he’s not 100 percent in shape fit. For him to battle back and finish 63rd that’s a great effort.
OUTDOORS Our plans are to open up in Eugene on April 2-3.
LANCE HARTER: Chelengat did not run track. they pulled her out to concentrarte on cross country
For us to get 10th considering who we pulled out and who we raced 48 hours ago is absolutely remarkable. I’m so pleased with the competitiveness of the people that scored for us.
That was above and beyond the call of duty.
Krissy Gear made All-American and Logan Morris and Abby Gray are in the 60s and 70s. That’s the highest either have had had at a national meet. It just went really, really well. And Gracie Hyde, that’s a young lady that’s never been to this meet to watch or race. We’re super pleased that they’re all back to race next year and some of the recruits we are bringing in to help us should impact our to help us. It’s all speculation but if we had raced Lauren, she runs with Krissy. So you put her in and take our fifth runner out we’re fourth or fifth as a team. But we weren’t going to take that chance to have Lauren get hurt.
Cross country is pretty tough on her and we decided to err on the side of caution. I still don’t understand how they made the decision they did and justified it. Because there are a lot of really good athletes that absolutely suffered. No. 1 the course is unbelievably challenging. In all my years in Division I and Division II I’ve never sen a course this challenging. The hill and dale and the way the way they designed it there were kids who are good athletes literally walking on the course. And that’s just not good for the sport. We’ll get through it and once everyone gets inoculated and moves forward and we can get back to normal and run cross country nationals in the fall.
A lot of BYU’s girls were the runner-ups that chased us around the course last year.
OUTDOORS STARTS SPRINTS AND JUMPS WITH TEXAS RELAYS GIVING DISTANCE RUNNERS 3 WEEKS 0FF