LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Univ. of Ark.) -- The No. 11 University of Arkansas men's cross country team will close out its season Saturday with the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships in Louisville, Ky. The men's 10K race is scheduled for a 12:15 p.m. (CT) start at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. A web stream of Saturday's national meet will be available at NCAA.com.
"I can't think of a tougher race than the NCAA cross country meet," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "I say that because you've got every walk of life in runners from middle- to long-distance guys running in one race. They're all good. You've got the miler types and the speed guys, and the guys that may not be so fast on a track but compete really well on a cross country course. You have to beat a lot of different styles to score at the national meet."
The Razorbacks are making the program's 42nd appearance at the NCAA Championships. Arkansas secured an automatic berth into the national meet with a runner-up finish last weekend at the 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships in Fayetteville. For their individual performances, Kemoy Campbell, Solomon Haile, Eric Fernandez, Layne Nixon and David Flynn earned all-region recognition.
During the season, Arkansas ran to two team titles with victories at the season-opening Razorback Invitational and the SEC Championships. The win at the conference meet was the Razorbacks' third straight and 20th overall. Based on the team's performance, Bucknam was named the SEC Coach of the Year while Cale Wallace was selected as the league's Freshman of the Year.
In its history, Arkansas has 11 NCAA cross country titles and two individual national champions in Joe Falcon (1987) and Godfrey Siamusiye (1995-96). The program also has five runner-up finishes (1980, 1985, 1996, 1997 and 2005) and three bronze results (1981, 1982 and 2001). The Razorbacks' current cross country All-America runners-designated by top-40 individual finish-are Fernandez (2011, 38th place) and Haile (2010, 17th).
Including Arkansas, the 18 teams that automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships are BYU, Columbia, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State, Georgetown, Georgia, Iona, Michigan, Northern Arizona, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Portland, Stanford, Texas, Villanova, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The 13 teams to receive at-large bids are Colorado, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, New Mexico, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Princeton, Syracuse, Tulsa, UCLA and Virginia Tech. The field will also include 38 individuals whose teams did not qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The live webcast at NCAA.com will begin at 11 a.m. (CT). For continued coverage of the Razorback cross country and University of Arkansas athletics, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.