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South Central Region: Kemboi Athlete of the Year, Bucknam Coach of the Year

Shawn Price

NEW ORLEANS – Razorback Amon Kemboi and Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam received South Central Region awards as the Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year on Tuesday, as announced by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Kemboi claimed his second South Central Region Athlete of the Year accolade. In earning an All-America honor for placing 12th in the NCAA Championships this past weekend, Kemboi became the first man to earn five All-America honors in NCAA cross country.

The top finisher among South Central entrants at the NCAA Championships in leading the Razorbacks to another podium finish, Kemboi earned a second All-America in cross country with Arkansas – 11th (2020) – after claiming three with Campbell – 29th (2017), 7th (2018), and 8th (2019). 

Kemboi was one of nine entrants in the men’s field to race in a fifth NCAA Cross Country Championship due to covid, but he was the only one to earn All-America accolades in all five races. The next best tally among the group of nine was three All-America honors for Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb.

This season Kemboi was the silver medalist during the SEC Championships and finished fifth in the South Central meet while racing in flats.

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Bucknam also received the South Central Region Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive year and for the 10th time overall. The Razorbacks defended their SEC team title this fall, collecting their 27th cross country championship in the SEC.

Arkansas capped off another stellar season in repeating a podium finish during the recent NCAA Championships, placing fourth to produce the 22nd top four finish by the Razorbacks. It marked the first set of consecutive podium finishes for Arkansas since 2004 and 2005.

This was also the 11th time for the Razorbacks to post an identical team finish in consecutive years.

First (1986, 87), First (1990, 91, 92, 93), First (1998, 99, 2000), Second (1996, 97), Third (1981, 82), Fourth (2020, 2021), Fifth (2016, 17), and 10th (1978, 79).

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