TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Arkansas men's and women's cross country teams captured the 2014 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships on Friday at the Harry Pritchett Running Course in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The No. 5 Arkansas women won their league-leading 15th all-time SEC Cross Country Championship and second consecutive, scoring 32 total team points. No. 14 Vanderbilt was second with 85 points, while host Alabama was third with 140 points. It was the best team finish for the Crimson Tide women at the meet since 1994.
"I'm just elated," Arkansas women's head coach Lance Harter said. "Every journey is different; there are always ups and downs for one reason or another with every individual. For us to put everything together, I think this is as rewarding as any championship."
Arkansas' Dominique Scott became just the sixth woman in SEC history to win multiple individual SEC cross country titles, capturing her second in a row in a time of 19:22.74. It is the second-fastest winning time in meet history and it helped spark four Razorbacks in the top-10 of the individual standings. Scott's teammate Grace Heymsfield was second in a time of 19:32.21, while Tennessee's Chelsea Blaase was third in 19:32.37.
"That was the most exciting race ever - not only individually, but running as a team as well," Scott said. "We had a really good chance of winning, but I didn't know we'd have so much fun running as a team. I knew my training had been going well so far this season, so I knew I had a good chance of winning, and I'm glad we're coming together at the right time."
The No. 23 Arkansas men took home their fifth consecutive SEC team title and their 22nd in the last 24 years, totaling 54 team points and placing four runners in the top-10. Ole Miss was a close second, placing three runners in the top-10, and totaling 60 team points. Auburn was third with 77 points, sparked by Ty McCormack's second-place finish.
"I'm really proud of this group," Arkansas head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We lost two low sticks last year in Solomon Haile and Kemoy Campbell to graduation. This group wasn't deterred by that, and they've been working hard all year. This was the result. I'm proud of our team; this was a big win for us."
Arkansas' Stanley Kebenei captured the SEC men's individual cross country title, giving the Razorbacks their third men's individual title in the last four years, clocking a time of 23:49.27. Auburn's Ty McCormack was second in 23:58.64, while Ole Miss' Wes Gallagher was third in 24:21.28.
"The race was very good," Kebenei said. "I started kind of late, but I knew what I was doing. The course was perfect, I liked it. I consider [Auburn's Ty] McCormack a good athlete. I knew he was good and we were going to take it. At 2K, I looked at McCormack and he was kind of tired, and I knew I would take it because I was feeling strong."
SEC Cross Country teams return to action on Friday, November 14 when they will participate in the NCAA Cross Country Regionals at several regional sites across the country.
2014 SEC Cross Country Championships - (Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Friday, October 31, 2014)
Women's Team Results
Women's Individual Results (Top 15 Finishers)
Men's Team Results
Men's Individual Results (Top 15 Finishers)
Women's All-SEC First Team
Dominique Scott, Arkansas
Grace Heymsfield, Arkansas
Chelsea Blaase, Tennessee
Rhianwedd Price, Mississippi State
Hillary Montgomery, Texas A&M
Kaitlyn Fischer, Missouri
Jessica Kamilos, Arkansas
Women's All-SEC Second Team
Karis Jochen, Texas A&M
Katherine Delaney, Vanderbilt
Diane Robison, Arkansas
Katelyn Greenleaf, Alabama
Shannon Klenke, Arkansas
Claire Benjamin, Vanderbilt
Sara Barron, Vanderbilt
Women's SEC All-Freshman Team
Karissa Schweitzer, Missouri
Kelsey Schrader, Arkansas
Aundrea Busse, Kentucky
Katy Kunc, Kentucky
Tayler Tuttle, Georgia
Molly McKenna, Arkansas
Emma Abrahamson, Vanderbilt
Men's All-SEC First Team
Stanley Kebenei, Arkansas
Ty McCormack, Auburn
Wes Gallagher, Ole Miss
Gabe Gonzalez, Arkansas
Tyler Schneider, Missouri
Sean Tobin, Ole Miss
Robert Domanic, Ole Miss
Men's All-SEC Second Team
Cale Wallace, Arkansas
Kane Grinster, Auburn
Alex George, Arkansas
Austin Whitelaw, Tennessee
Matt Airola, Alabama
Damian Roszko, Mississippi State
Dan Roe, Missouri
Men's SEC All-Freshman Team
Sean Tobin, Ole Miss
Alex George, Arkansas
Taylor Caldwell, Ole Miss
Mark Robertson, Ole Miss
Coleman Churitch, Auburn
Bryan Kamau, Georgia
Thomas Howell, Florida
Lance Harter, Arkansas Women's Head Coach, SEC Women's Team Champion
On Dominique Scott winning the 2014 SEC Women's Cross Country individual championship ...
"That's a fantastic effort for her. We basically told her to lay back, observe what's going on - the same thing with Grace [Heymsfield] - see what the tempo of the race was going to be like. Then, with a mile to go, she tried to put the hammer down and, boy, they both followed the race plan perfectly."
On Arkansas winning its second consecutive SEC Women's Cross Country Championship ...
"I'm just elated. Every journey is different; there are always ups and downs for one reason or another with every individual. For us to put everything together, I think, this is as rewarding as any championship."
On the competitiveness of the SEC Championship race ...
"I have great respect for the rest of the SEC. Every one of those coaches is out there trying to find the next great one, there's some already here. This is biggest pack as far as depth goes in the elite pack that we've probably ever, ever had. There's some that are already getting that idea 'Okay, there's a target on Dom's back' and, next year, it's going to be tough to hold off to try and get that third title because there's always somebody back waiting."
Chris Bucknam, Arkansas Men's Coach, SEC Men's Team Champion
On Arkansas winning the 2014 SEC Men's Cross Country Championship ...,br> "I'm really proud of this group. We lost two low sticks last year, Solomon Haile and Kemoy Campbell, to graduation. This group wasn't deterred by that, and they've been working hard all year. This was the result. We had a little adversity with a couple of K to go. We lost one of our guys, and our sixth man came in and passed 13 people in the last 2K and we win the meet by six points. I'm proud of our team, every one of them. This is a big win for us. My hat's off to Ole Miss; they have an outstanding group of athletes. They're going to be someone to be to be reckoned with, no question about it."
On Arkansas' Stanley Kebenei winning the 2014 SEC Men's Cross Country Individual Championship ...
"He's just an unbelievable competitor. The thing I love about Stanley is he's such a team guy. He hung back a while with the rest of our group to give them confidence the first half of the race, and when the race opened up a little bit with McCormack taking off, Stanley broke off with him and comfortably won the race. I'm hoping he didn't extend himself too much because he's got a big regional championship coming up in a few weeks. I'm very proud of Stanley, how he carries himself, and the great team guy that he is. He fits the mold of a Razorback, that's for sure."
On the importance of his team's depth in winning the SEC Cross Country Championship ...
"We didn't come into this with a lot of depth. We lost a lot of guys last year. We've had two freshmen who have been in our top five all year. You have a guy like Aidan Swain that's kind of lurking as our sixth and seventh man, but working just as hard, out of the limelight. When we told him he was our fifth man with about a K and a half to go, he came through for us in a big way. I'm proud of what happened on the front end with Stanley, proud of what happened in the middle with Cale Wallace [who had] the best race of his career. Cross country is not his [Wallace's] forte, but he did a phenomenal job. A freshman, Alex George, getting 10th. Gabe Gonzalez, is another guy, that is an All-SEC runner in track. Those guys in the middle did a great job, and then when we lost Austen Dalquist to the heat, you have a guy like Aidan Swain from Fayetteville, Ark., pass 13 people with 2K to go. It doesn't get much better than that for a team win."
Dominique Scott, Arkansas, SEC Women's Individual Champion
On winning the 2014 SEC Women's Cross Country Individual Championship ...
"That was the most exiting race, ever - not only individually, but running as a team, as well. We, as the Hogs, we had a really good chance of winning, but I didn't know we'd have so much fun running as a team. We were talking to each other when we were out on the course like a training run. I felt so strong. I knew my training had been going well so far this season, so I knew I had a good chance of winning, and I'm glad we're coming together at the right time. I'm excited I'm peaking at the right time of the season. It's really important, and it's sometimes hard to do, especially as a team to do it as a team on the right day."
On becoming just the sixth woman to win multiple SEC Cross Country individual championships ...
That's really, really exciting. What an honor, that's really cool. I'm excited I'm in the record books for that."
On her Arkansas team winning the 2014 SEC Cross Country Championship ...
"It's so special. This year, our team is like a family. We've just been supporting each other so far this season, encouraging each other. I'm so happy to be a part of this team and help my team get this victory today."
Stanley Kebenei, Arkansas, SEC Men's Individual Champion
On winning the 2014 SEC Men's Cross Country individual championship ...
"The race was very good. I started, kind of, late, but I knew what I was doing. The course was perfect, I liked it. The people around here were everywhere. I thank everyone for doing this."
On the battle with Auburn runner Ty McCormack, the runner-up ...
"McCormack, I consider him a good athlete. I knew he was good, and we were going to take it together. But I knew at 2K, we'd know who'd win the race. At 2K, I just checked with McCormack, and he was kind of tired and I knew I would take it because I was strong. So I knew it was good."
On continuing Arkansas' tradition of winning SEC titles ...
"To be part of the tradition is something big. To be part of Arkansas, in the SEC, this is where everything starts. When you see the world champions, the Olympians, they're from the SEC. This is a good thing for us to build our dreams, to be a pro athlete, especially for me because I'm a senior and I'm looking forward to doing that."