FAYETTEVILLE,Ark.(Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas will host the South Central Regional in Fayetteville.
For the second time in program history, the University of Arkansas will hostthe 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships on Friday, Nov.9, at Agri Park, the Razorbacks' home course. The women's 6K race will begin at11 a.m. (CT) while the men's 10K competition is set for a 12:15 p.m. start.Fayetteville previously served as the regional host city in 2007.
The regional meet serves as a gateway event to the 2012 NCAA Division IChampionships, which will be contested Saturday, Nov. 17, at E.P. Tom SawyerState Park in Louisville, Ky. The top two teams and top four individuals not onan advancing team receive an automatic berth into the national meet. Additionteams and individuals are chosen through an at-large selection process.
Arkansas is the defending champion on the women's side. In the most recentrelease of the USTFCCCA national poll, the Razorbacks are ranked 12th,Texas is No. 22 and SMU is receiving votes. Those three teams are also the topthree teams, respectively, in the South Central rankings.
The regional top fiveis rounded out by LSU in fourth and Texas A&M in fifth.This year's field of teams willinclude two conference champions in SMU (Conference USA) and Stephen F. Austin(Southland) and five conference runners-up in Arkansas (SEC), Arkansas State (SunBelt), Houston Baptist (Great West), Sam Houston State (Southland) and UT-SanAntonio (WAC). There are also two individual conference champions in the fieldwith Judith Chumba of UT-Pan American (Great West) and Lauren Smith of StephenF. Austin (Southland).
In the men's competition, Texas isthe defending region champion. There will be three nationally ranked teamsfeatured in Friday's race with No. 5 Texas, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 29 Texas A&M.Along with the three ranked teams, the top-five poll in the South Centralregion includes McNeese State at fourth and Lamar at fifth.
The men's field will include fourteams that won their respective conference meet. Arkansas won the SEC,Arkansas-Little Rock won the Sun Belt, McNeese State won the Southland andUT-Arlington won the WAC title.
The race will also include conferencerunners-up Lamar (Southland), North Texas (Sun Belt) and Texas (Big 12).Individual conference champions in Friday's race will be Henry Lelei of TexasA&M (SEC) and David Rooney of McNeese State (Southland).
The South Central region is comprised of teams from a three-staterange-Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas-and consists of programs from eightdifferent conferences in the Big 12, Conference USA, Great West, SoutheasternConference, Southland, Southwestern Athletic Conference, Sun Belt and WesternAthletic Conference.
Including Fayetteville, there are nine NCAA Division I regional sites. Theother host sites this season are Madison, Wis. (Great Lakes); University Park,Pa. (Mid-Atlantic); Springfield, Mo. (Midwest); Fort Collins, Colo. (Mountain);Madison, Conn. (Northeast); Tallahassee, Fla. (South); Charlotte, N.C.(Southeast); and Seattle, Wash. (West). All nine regional meets will becontested Friday.
Fans can keep up with Arkansas cross country andtrack and field with the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitterpages. In addition to the Razorbacks' web site, race results will be posted to BranchSportsTech.com.