BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Five Southeastern Conference cross country student-athletes and coaches have earned regional recognition from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, as voted on by the Division I Coaches and announced Tuesday by the New Orleans-based organization.
The SEC student-athletes and coaches honored include:
• Chris Bucknam, Arkansas – Men’s South Central Region Coach of the Year
• Kemoy Campbell, Arkansas - Men’s South Central Region Runner of the Year
• Patrick Cunniff, Georgia – Men’s South Region Coach of the Year
• Lance Harter, Arkansas – Women’s South Central Region Coach of the Year
• Mark Parrish, Florida – Men’s South Region Runner of the Year
In his sixth season at the helm of the Arkansas men’s cross country program, Bucknam and his Razorbacks squad edged out Texas for the South Central Region title, 34-37. Individual winner Stanley Kebenei and South Central Region Athlete of the Year Kemoy Campbell finished one-two to lead four top-10 finishers. The Razorbacks also claimed the SEC team title.
Campbell, a senior from Manchester, Jamaica, crossed the line at the South Central Region side-by-side with teammate Stanley Kebenei, who technically won by .03 of a second, to pace Arkansas to the team title. While Kebenei may have notched the regional win, it was Campbell who claimed titles at both the SEC Championships and the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, arguably the deepest meet of the year to this point. He also finished runner-up to defending national champion Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech at the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival.
Cunniff, in his second season at the head of the Georgia program, guided the Bulldogs to the tightest regional championship win of the weekend as his squad edged SEC rival Florida by just one point, 72-73, to claim the South Region. Fourth-place Lucas Baker led three top-10 finishers for the Bulldogs. The region win came after a third-place finish at the SEC Championships just five points behind runner-up Florida.
In his 24th year in charge of the Arkansas women’s program, Harter guided the Razorbacks to a decisive win in the South Central Region, 33-116 over SMU and Texas A&M. Individual runner-up Dominique Scott and third-place Grace Heymsfield were among the squad’s four top-10 finishers and seven top-20 finishers. Harter’s Razorbacks also claimed the SEC title and finished runner-up to former No. 1 Arizona at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
Parrish, a senior from Tampa, Fla., claimed the South Region title with a 29:44.24 performance in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Parrish crossed the line five seconds prior to the runner-up teammate Jimmy Clark, combining to earn a runner-up team finish and an automatic NCAA bid for the Gators. The win was his second of the season in addition to a runner-up showing at the Mountain Dew Gator Cross Country Invitational.
The upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships will be contested November 23 at Terre Haute, Ind.
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Men’s Regional Athletes of the Year
Great Lakes: John Mascari, Indiana State
Mid-Atlantic: Patrick Tiernan, Villanova
Midwest: Chris O’Hare, Tulsa
Mountain: Kennedy Kithuka, Texas Tech
Northeast: Maksim Korolev, Harvard
South: Mark Parrish, Florida
South Central: Kemoy Campbell, Arkansas
Southeast: Paul Chelimo, UNC-Greensboro
West: Edward Cheserek, Oregon
Women’s Regional Athletes of the Year
Great Lakes: Juli Accurso, Ohio
Mid-Atlantic: Emily Lipari, Villanova
Midwest: Crystal Nelson, Iowa State
Mountain: Sammy Silva, New Mexico
Northeast: Abbey D’Agostino, Dartmouth
South: Colleen Quigley, Florida State
South Central: Marielle Hall, Texas
Southeast: Emily Stites, William & Mary
West: Emma Bates, Boise State
Men’s Regional Coaches of the Year
Great Lakes: Alex Gibby, Michigan
Mid-Atlantic: Marcus O’Sullivan, Villanova
Midwest: Dave Smith, Oklahoma State
Mountain: Eric Heins, Northern Arizona
Northeast: Chris Fox, Syracuse
South: Patrick Cunniff, Georgia
South Central: Chris Bucknam, Arkansas
Southeast: Rick Erdmann, Eastern Kentucky
West: Chris Miltenberg, Stanford
Women’s Regional Coaches of the Year
Great Lakes: Mike McGuire, Michigan
Mid-Atlantic: Gina Procaccio, Villanova
Midwest: Andrea Grove-McDonough, Iowa State
Mountain: Mark Wetmore, Colorado
Northeast: Ray Treacy, Providence
South: Karen Harvey, Florida State
South Central: Lance Harter, Arkansas
Southeast: Todd Morgan, Virginia
West: James Li, Arizona