Columbia, SC (UofA) - For the 18th time in program history, the University of Arkansas captured the Southeastern Conference men's cross country championship Monday morning in Columbia, S.C. Paced by five top-10 individual finishes, the 10th-ranked Razorbacks totaled 34 points to come away with the team title. Senior Dorian Ulrey led the way for Arkansas with a third-place individual finish. The win also marks the first SEC cross country title for head coach Chris Bucknam.
Ulrey, Eric Fernandez and Solomon Haile earned All-SEC First Team honors with their performances while Bryan Cantero and Dey Tuach claimed spots on the second team; with his effort, Cantero also landed on the conference all-freshman team.
"We're very happy," Bucknam said. "I'm proud of my athletes. I'm happy for them. They've worked awfully hard, and it's nice to show something from that hard work. We're excited about it and we're going to move to the nationals now. Anytime you win an SEC title, it's the best. It's not easy to do. I'm really proud of our athletes. They did a great job."
Running to a season-best result, Ulrey crossed in time of 24:03.46 and pushed his streak of top-eight finishes as a Razorback to seven races. It was his first top-five finish of the season and fourth of his career. Fernandez led a trio of Arkansas runners across the line with a sixth-place finish in a time of 24:10.12. It was his first SEC Championships race since the 2008 season.
Haile and Cantero were the Razorbacks' third and fourth finishers, respectively. Haile was seventh overall, clocking in at 24:17.35. In two conference meets, he has two top-10 finishes; he was ninth in last year's race. Cantero made his scoring debut for the Razorback lineup with an eighth-place finish. As the top freshman finisher, he posted a time of 24:22.16.
Tuach concluded the team's top five with a 10th-place finish. The junior transfer turned in a career-best 8K time of 24:24.77. Dominating the top-10 individual results, the Razorbacks' top five runners were separated by approximately 21 seconds.
The top-20 performances continued with Rick Elliott who finished in 17th place with a season-best 8K time of 24:45.27 Cameron Efurd and Michael Chinchar were Arkansas' seventh and eighth finishers, respectively. Efurd was 21st overall in a time of 24:52.03 and Chinchar followed right behind in 22nd place with a time of 24:52.94.
Along with Cantero and Tuach, Tom Cattin-Masson made his SEC Championships debut. He closed out the Razorback crew in a time of 26:10.23, good for 48th place.
In the team race, Arkansas outdistanced second-place Alabama by 28 points. Florida finished third while Tennessee and Ole Miss rounded out the top five. Ole Miss' Barnabas Kirui won the individual title for the third time in his career. The top seven finishers in Monday's race placed to the All-SEC First Team while the No. 8-14 runners grabbed second-team honors. The conference's all-freshman team consists of the top seven freshman finishers.