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Campbell cops 3rd at NCAA cross country

Paul Burrowes

Sunday, November 11, 2012    

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JAMAICAN Kemoy Campbell performed beyond the call of duty on Friday when he powered the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville into the runner-up spot at the NCAA Division I South Central Region Cross Country Championships at Agri Park in Fayetteville.

Campbell, the 21-year-old national junior record-holder in the 1500m and 5000m, became the Razorbacks standard-bearer when he clocked 29:43.00 to finish third in the 10K.

He, along with teammates Solomon Haile (30:00.73), who placed fifth and Eric Fernandez (30:19.74), who ended eighth, ensured that Arkansas earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at the EP "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky on November 17.

Henry Lelei of Texas A&M won in a time of 29:36.42, ahead of David Rooney of McNeese State who clocked 29:41:40.

So solid was Campbell's run that he would have copped the bronze at last year's championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Only the top three in the South Central Region championships ran under 30 minutes. One hundred and 25 competitors completed the run.

The University of Texas claimed the team title in a combined time of 2:31.36, beating Arkansas, 2:32.21, and Texas A&M, 2:35.14. The times are based on the five to seven runners competing for each school.

"Our goal... was to come in and qualify for the nationals," Campbell said in a report on the Razorbacks' website. "I think the guys did a great job of executing the plan. This was my first 10K and I feel like I ran well," he added.

"I'm looking forward to the NCAA meet but I know it's going to be a tough race, so the team and I are going to come away... ready to prepare for next week," he explained.

The Razorbacks collected five all-region honours with the performances of Campbell, Haile, Fernandez, Layne Nixon (14th), and David Flynn (23rd).

Arkansas head coach, Chris Bucknam said: "It was another nervy meet with a lot on the line... but our kids did a great job. Our goal going into every meet is to win but with this one, we just wanted to finish in the top two to get the automatic qualifying position. I am happy with our performance and looking forward to moving on the national championship next week."

Arkansas are ranked at number 10 nationally, boasting 11 team titles and three individual champions.

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