TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — On Saturday, sixth-ranked Arkansas pursues its 12th national title at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Navigating strategically through the regular season, the Razorbacks look to carry their momentum into the season finale and cap the year with a collective strong team performance. Arkansas is currently perfect in the postseason – 2-0 through two championships.
“We’re healthy and our guys are in good spirits,” coach Chris Bucknam said. “I definitely think we have a shot at the podium. It’s going to take an outstanding race from all of our athletes. This is not a meet where two or three people can carry the load, it’s going to be all hands on deck for all seven of our guys.”
The NCAA meet will feature 31 total teams, 18 of which earned automatic bids as the top two best of their regions and 13 who raced to at-large spots. Each team is allowed to field seven runners in the competition whom will be joined in the mix by 38 individual qualifiers.
Let’s Check The Polls
Bucknam’s squad has been a mainstay as one of the top six best programs this year since the preseason rankings. Currently resting behind defending champions No. 5 Syracuse, Arkansas has the potential firepower to shoot directly into national-title contention against a tough top three in No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 Colorado and No. 3 Stanford.
“It’s not about a podium for us, it’s about winning the meet,” Bucknam said. “If we can go in with that attitude and give it a run we’re going to be happy with our results, no question about that. But we’re not running for second or third or fourth. Will I be happy if we do that and have a great race? Of course I’ll be happy, but I can tell you that we’re focused on the top of that podium.”
Entering the 2015 national meet as the eighth-ranked team, the Razorbacks proved the standings wrong by jumping to sixth place with the help of All-America-meriting performances from Jack Bruce and Frankline Tonui.
Arkansas Cross Country By The Numbers (NCAA Championships Edition)
• 11 NCAA Championships
• Three NCAA Individual Titles: Joe Falcon (1987) & Godfrey Siamusiye (1995 and 1996)
• 98 All-America Honors – 10 since 2008 with two seasons (2010 and 2015) which featured two in the same year
• Two Returning All-Americans: Jack Bruce (23rd), Frankline Tonui (40th)
• Top 2015 NCAA Returner: Jack Bruce, 23rd (30:15.30)
The championship will begin at 10 a.m. CT with the women’s 6K race. The men’s 10K race will follow at 11 a.m. after which an awards ceremony will be held for the top individual performers and team champions.
On Wednesday afternoon the NCAA and FloSports announced a multi-year partnership to provide live and archived coverage of the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships exclusively on FloTrack.com.
A free 7-day trial is available to access the 2016 Division I NCAA Cross Country Championships. Watch live on Saturday here: http://bit.ly/2emLXEU.
Live results will also be available for fans to follow the progress of the meet.
2015 NCAA Championship Results – Top Four (Points)
1. Syracuse (82), 2. Colorado (91), 3. Stanford (151), 4. Oregon (183) | 6. Arkansas (244)
2016 Cross Country Schedule
Thurs, Sept. 1 – Cowboy Duals (Stillwater, Okla.) | 4th of 6
Fri, Sept. 16 – Battle in Beantown (Boston, Mass.) | 3rd of 15
Sat, Oct. 1 – Chile Pepper Festival (Agri Park) | 1st of 18
Sat, Oct. 15 – Pre-Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.) | 2nd of 41
Fri, Oct. 28 – SEC Championship (Agri Park) | 1st of 12
Fri, Nov. 11 – NCAA South Central Regional (Agri Park) | 1st of 20
Sat, Nov. 19 – NCAA Championship (Terre Haute, Ind.) 11:00 a.m.
Bold denotes a home event.