NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ninth-ranked Arkansas ran to the title Friday at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championships at Percy Warner Park. The win represents the third consecutive SEC title for the Razorbacks and the program’s 20th overall since joining the league in 1991-92. Arkansas was paced by a 2-3-4 finish from Solomon Haile, Eric Fernandez and Kemoy Campbell, respectively.
“We wanted to come in and make a statement,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “This is the first of three legs in the championship season. This is really the most important one. The SEC Championship means a lot to our school. When you win an SEC title in any sport, it’s special and I’m awfully proud of our guys for the effort they put in today and all the hard work they’ve done all year.”
Friday’s victory is the Razorbacks’ ninth SEC title under Bucknam with three cross country (2010-12)
In addition to the team title, the Razorbacks collected six All-SEC accolades. For their top-seven performances, Haile, Fernandez and Campbell were named to the All-SEC First Team. Layne Nixon and Cale Wallace earned spots on the All-SEC Second Team.
In his return to the SEC Championships, Haile was Arkansas’ top performer with a second-place individual finish. He posted an 8K time of 23:47.27. Haile redshirted the 2011 season. Fernandez was third overall in 23:52.16, while Campbell crossed in fourth place with a time of 23:55.38. The Razorbacks’ top three has remained the same for three consecutive races.
Nixon and Wallace rounded out the Razorbacks’ top-five scoring lineup. Nixon navigated the 8K course in a time of 24:14.52, good for 12th place in Friday’s race. Nixon has been part of Arkansas’ scoring lineup in all four competitions this season. Wallace finished in 14th place in his first SEC Championship. He crossed the line in a time of 24:17.79.
The Razorbacks’ remaining runners included Cameron Efurd in 21st place at 24:30.75, David Flynn in 24th at 24:36.76, Raymond Joseph in 46th at 25:17.36, Anthony Lieghio in 57th at 25:31.00 and Drew Butler in 63rd at 25:33.63.