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Arkansas wins 2015 SEC Cross Country Championship

381 days ago
SEC staff
Photo: Robert Black
2015 SEC Cross Country Championship Results
SEC Cross Country Championship Central

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Dominique Scott won an historic third consecutive Southeastern Conference women's cross country individual crown, Antibahs Kosgei captured Alabama's first men's SEC individual title since 2007 and the Arkansas men's and women's squads took home the SEC team championships on Friday at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Scott became the fourth person in SEC women's cross country history to win three league individual titles, and just the third to win three consecutive. She took the race in a 6K time of 19:23.6. Scott is the only woman in SEC history to win three SEC cross country individual titles while also leading her team to three consecutive crowns. Tennessee's Chelsea Blaase was second in a time of 19:40.9, while Vanderbilt's Caroline Pietrzyk was third in 19:54.1.

"I felt so good during the race, I just knew today was going to be a good day," Scott said. "Having crossed the line and won a third title actually kind of feels surreal. "It's a really cool feeling, but even more important the Razorbacks won again today. That's three times in a row. We're such a young team I think it was such a special day and I think it just shows how good this young team is. Even when I leave this year the Razorbacks are going to continue the winning streak."

The No. 4 Arkansas women won their 16th all-time SEC Cross Country Championship and third consecutive, scoring 38 total team points. No. 13 Mississippi State was second with 95 points, marking the Bulldogs' highest finish in program history. No. 26 Vanderbilt was third with 112 points.

Kosgei took home Alabama's first SEC men's cross country individual title since Alabama's Emmanuel Bor won in 2007. Kosgei clocked an 8K time of 23:24.2. Arkansas' Christian Heymsfield was second in 23:25.2, while teammate Frankline Tonui was third in 23:32.5.

"I'm so happy, because I've been training for this race," Kosgei said. "Each week when there was a competition I would check the times of the runners in the conference. I knew I had some of the faster times. Coming into the SEC meet I knew I was faster than the other guys. I knew I was going to win this race."

The Arkansas men won their sixth consecutive SEC Championship and 23rd in the last 25 years. The No. 8 Razorbacks totaled 25 team points, while host Texas A&M was second with 98 and Ole Miss was third with 122.

NCAA Cross Country Regionals take place Friday, November 13 at various sites across the country.

2015 SEC Cross Country Championships (College Station, Texas - October 30, 2015)

Men's Team Results:
1. Arkansas (25)
2. Texas A&M (98)
3. Ole Miss (122)
4. Kentucky (129)
5. Georgia (142)
6. Missouri (146)
7. Florida (170)
8. Auburn (198)
9. Alabama (203)
10. Mississippi State (280)
11. Tennessee (301)
12. LSU (322)
13. Vanderbilt (391)

Women's Team Results:
1. Arkansas (38);
2. Mississippi State (95)
3. Vanderbilt (112)
4. Alabama (143)
5. Ole Miss (147)
6. Auburn (164)
7. Florida (183)
8. Missouri (228)
9. Texas A&M (249)
10. Georgia (267)
11. Tennessee (296)
12. Kentucky (297)
13. South Carolina (352)
14. LSU (436)

Men's Top-10 Finishers: 
1. Antibahs Kosgei, Alabama (23:24.2)
2. Christian Heymsfield, Arkansas (23:25.2)
3. Frankline Tonui, Arkansas (23:32.5)
4. Jacob Thomson, Kentucky (23:34.5)
5. Alex George, Arkansas (23:36.2)
6. Austen Dalquist, Arkansas (23:36.2)
7. Jimmy Clark, Florida (23:42.6)
8. Cameron Villarreal, Texas A&M (23:43.6)
9. Gabe Gonzales, Arkansas (23:47.6)
10. Jack Bruce, Arkansas (23:49.0)

Women's Top-10 Finishers
1. Dominique Scott, Arkansas (19:23.6)
2. Chelsea Blaase, Tennessee (19:40.9)
3. Caroline Pietrzyk, Vanderbilt (19:54.1)
4. Brenda Kigen, Auburn (19:58.2)
5. Karis Jochen, Texas A&M (19:59.2)
6. Kaitlin Flattmann, Arkansas (20:00.7)
7. Katelyn Greenleaf, Alabama (20:06.9)
8. Devin Clark, Arkansas (20:12.8)
9. Marta Freitas, Mississippi State (20:14.3)
10. Mary Alex England, Ole Miss (20:19.5)

Men's First-Team All-SEC
Antibahs Kosgei, Alabama
Christian Heymsfield, Arkansas
Frankline Tonui, Arkansas
Jacob Thomson, Kentucky
Alex George, Arkansas
Austen Dalquist, Arkansas
Jimmy Clark, Florida

Men's Second-Team All-SEC
Cameron Villarreal, Texas A&M
Gabe Gonzales, Arkansas
Jack Bruce, Arkansas
Eddie Garcia, Florida
Zack Sims, Georgia
Alex Riba, Texas A&M
Austin Wells, Texas A&M

Men's SEC All-Freshman Team
Dajour Braxton, LSU
Reilly Shaw, Auburn
Ben Young, Kentucky
Brandon Harvey, Ole Miss
Jack Guyton, Florida
Zach Long, Tennessee
Cameron Griffith, Florida

Women's First-Team All-SEC
Dominique Scott, Arkansas
Chelsea Blaase, Tennessee
Caroline Pietrzyk, Vanderbilt
Brenda Kigen, Auburn
Karis Jochen, Texas A&M
Kaitlin Flattmann, Arkansas
Katelyn Greenleaf, Alabama

Women's Second-Team All-SEC
Devin Clark, Arkansas
Marta Freitas, Mississippi State
Mary Alex England, Ole Miss
Valerie Reina, Arkansas
Regan Ward, Arkansas
Kelsey Schrader, Arkansas
Karissa Schweizer, Missouri

Women's SEC All-Freshman Team
Caroline Pietrzyk, Vanderbilt
Brenda Kigen, Auburn
Devin Clark, Arkansas
Maria Larsen, Florida
Rachael Reddy, Alabama
Sydney Brown, Arkansas
Elisabeth Bergh, Florida

Post-Meet Quotes

Antibahs Kosgei, Alabama - SEC Men's Individual Champion

I'm so happy, because I've been training for this race. I knew I could win because in my first race in Memphis I was the first one and in Oklahoma I came in ninth, but I told myself then I'm winning the SEC. I finished second in the Crimson Classic and I told coach I need to train harder to prepare for the SEC.

"Coach [Dan Waters] told me I have to win. So each week when there was a competition I would check the times of the runners in the conference. I knew I had some of the faster times. Coming into the SEC meet I knew I was faster than the other guys. I knew I was going to win this race."

On whether Friday's rainy weather affected his race ... "It affected me a little bit because at times I was sliding and I almost fell down.

"I moved fast at the start of the race, but by the third mile I tried to relax myself since I knew the finish was going to be tough. With 3,000 meters to go and with a pair of runners following me I told myself I have to see what can I do with these two guys to stay ahead of them to the finish."

Dominique Scott, Arkansas - SEC Women's Individual Champion

"I felt so good during the race, I just knew today was going to be a good day. Having crossed the line and won a third title actually kind of feels surreal."

On whether Friday's rainy weather affected her race ... "Rain, sunshine, wind, whatever the conditions, it's the same for everyone. I knew it was maybe going to be a little tougher mentally. Your feet were going to get wet and your legs were going to get a bit muddy, but strategy was still the same - run controlled and pull my Hogs as far along as I could. When I was getting a little bit too antsy I would start to pull away. I kind of had to hold myself back a little bit today since I was feeling really good, but I knew I should probably wait until a mile to go."

On winning her third consecutive SEC Individual Championship ... "It's a really cool feeling, but even more important the Razorbacks won again today. That's three times in a row. We're such a young team I think it was such a special day and I think it just shows how good this young team is. Even when I leave this year the Razorbacks are going to continue the winning streak."

SEC Cross Country Championships - Arkansas head coaches' quotes

Chris Bucknam:

On the overall performance of the team:
Just really proud of my athletes. We kind of came in here feeling like we were the underdogs, kind of had that feeling all year. For the first time in a while the target wasn't on our back it was on Ole Miss'. Our guys came to work this year and got it done. We put in a great summer of running, had some good races along the way in the Chile Pepper and Pre-Nationals leading up to this and the guys just had a lot of confidence and felt strong. They put the hammer down and I was really proud of them.

On the weather conditions and course:
We talked about racing the people that are out there, we're not racing the course, we're not concerned about splits. We wanted to go out there and be aggressive and we did that and I think we prevailed because of it.

On the team dynamic:
Well this is a special a special group and I've been blessed to be coaching at Arkansas an we've had some great teams along the way and I look back at some of the great runners that I've coached, Eric Fernandez, Stanley Kebenei, Kemoy Campbell, just some great athletes I've had the privilege to be around and coach. This group is a little bit different. You don't know who is going to be our top guy, that's how hardworking and talented they are and we're getting better every meet. Christian Heymsfield, I can't say enough how proud I am of him finishing runner-up. He's probably run five races for us in three years but he's done a phenomenal job of keeping the faith, doing the things our trainers and medical staff have instructed and now he's healthy. I know he wanted to win and he gave [Alabama runner] a run. Ultimately I'm just extremely proud of Christian and the rest of our team.

On looking forward to the NCAAs:
We just talked about this as one more step to the NCAA Championship. That NCAA Championship will be much like this meet. We're going to rely on running as a tight knit group. The good thing is that we got a chance to see the course, we were in that chaos at Pre-Nats. This race was a good precursor because it went out fast through the first mile and that's usually how the NCAA meet goes out. We talked about this as just another step towards the NCAA meet, we want to get back into the national conversation with our cross country program...we kind of hit a little bit of a low spot last year, survived the SEC meet but we didn't finish as well as we'd liked so our job is to keep running better every week and we just took another positive step towards that.

Lance Harter:

On the overall performance of the team:
We were absolutely delighted. It was a gritty performance on a beautiful course; I think it would be really nice to see it dry. After the men got done with it and that additional rain made it a little bit slick and you had to be real careful on your footing but the kids ran fast and took care of the challenge probably midway through the race. Dominique kind of leads everything then it's kind of a chain reaction after that and our young people really rose up - but Kaitlin Flattmann is a fifth-year senior and she probably ran the best race of her career and she was kind of our number two runner and then it was kind of a mad dash after that where everyone was so close together

On Dominique Scott winning three SEC individual titles:
The other young lady that was part of that was Amy Yoder Begley and Amy became an Olympian and was one of the foundation pieces of our program. When we're in that type of company and conversation, she [Scott] is truly really special and I think she has an incredibly bright future post-collegiately but we have her for outdoor yet to go so we're really looking forward to some even better things.

On preparation for Scott as the favorite to win:
She's one of those that surprisingly in spite of being in a favorites role, she gets really nervous and antsy, but we talked about it and right before the race a few words of confidence, that keep it in perspective and do what you want to do and when she was in the lead with about 800 meters to go and very much in control, I said 'coming down this home stretch enjoy the moment, just take it all in because it's your last SEC cross country race.'

On team heading to NCAAs:
I think a lot of people just thought we would be dead on the vine with all of those graduates that we had last year, with kids that were All-Americans and proven competitors. I think now that we have this new young group that Dom has really become a great leader for...I think that's kind of issued a lot of confidence to them. Some people have said we are overachieving, I'll buy that as long as they keep it going but they're are kind of interchangeable parts and as long as Dom takes care of her business and the rest of them stay close I think we've got a bright future.

On the team working together:
They are that wait socially, their living habits and in everything they do they are very, very united and they are a truly special group and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I think that bond that they have among each other and that trust really comes out at competition.