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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Looking back at Arkansas' historic 2019 XC season

25 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: SEC Staff

When the Arkansas women's cross country team won the NCAA championship in 2019, it was a milestone accomplishment for the Razorbacks and the Southeastern Conference.

It marked the first national title in women's cross country by an SEC program since 1988 and the first for either a men's or women's program since the turn of the century. It was also just the second top-five national finish by an SEC squad since 2007.

In addition, the win gave Arkansas the triple crown in 2019. The Razorbacks also claimed national titles at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March and at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June. Only once before had a program nationwide won the three-season triple crown.

The Razorbacks became the first SEC program to win all six championships (men's cross country, women's cross country, men's indoor, women's indoor, men's outdoor, women's outdoor), joining one another program nationally.

Arkansas won the race at Terre Haute, Ind., by six points, finishing with a total team score of 96 after a third-place mark by Katie Izzo at 19:59.3. She was followed closely by Taylor Werner, who posted a fourth-place time at 20:11.1. Devin Clark (21st) and Carina Viljoen (28th) rounded out Arkansas All-America honorees with times of 20:32.2 and 20:39.8, respectively, while Lauren Gregory completed Arkansas' scoring unit with a time of 21:05.0.

The Razorbacks, who had finished as an NCAA Runner-up four times previously ('91, '92, '93, '99), rolled through the 2019 season in dominating fashion, winning every meet they competed in including an unprecedented seventh-straight SEC title, a ninth-straight regional title and capturing the program's first NCAA cross country team title.

At the NCAA South Central Regional meet, Arkansas made history by placing first with a perfect score of 15 points. It was the 23rd regional title in program history, and the fourth regional title won at Agri Park in Fayetteville.

Two weeks prior, the Razorbacks won their seventh consecutive SEC title in Lexington, Ky. Five Arkansas runners finished in the top-10, with four in the top-five.

Said Arkansas head coach Lance Harter after the Razorbacks won the NCAA cross country title: "2019 will always be prominent in my household. The track team did such a tremendous job to pull off the upset indoors, then wait until the mile relay to pull off the upset outdoors. We had two of the steps, now it was about taking the third. This is really special."

Individual accolades poured in for the Razorbacks as the 2019 season marked the first time since 1993 Arkansas has had four All-Americans, which is awarded to the top 40 finishers in the national championship race. Taylor Werner became the 10th Razorback to earn at least two All-American honors in cross country over her career.

Werner was also voted the SEC Runner of the Year, while Harter was named the league's coach of the year.