BEAVERCREEK — Taylor Ewert was named the top cross country freshman in the Southeastern Conference.
Ewert, in her first year at the University of Arkansas, produced the top times by a freshman during the fall season at 5,000 and 6,000 meters and is the 11th Razorback to earn the award since 2001.
“What is a credit to Taylor is she never lost perspective, she ran to her abilities and her race,” said Coach Lance Harter, who was named coach of the year. “She started with a win in her first race and was always a major contributor to our team which remained undefeated throughout the season. She capped that off at the conference championship being the first freshman across the line. Her consistency is something that excites us all for the future. Taylor has a lot of upside in this sport.”
In placing 10th at the SEC Championships, Ewert was the top freshman finisher with a time of 20:21.6 and earned second team All-SEC honors. Teammate Corie Smith was the second freshman finisher, placing 16th in the meet, in 20:38.4.
“Taylor runs with great pride as an individual, but she is the consummate team player and definitely wants to be a contributor to help our team be as successful as possible,” Harter said.
Ewert won the 5K race at the SEC Preview in her debut race with the Razorbacks and set a course record with a personal-best time of 16:53.7. That finish earned her SEC co-runner of the week honors. In her first 6,000-meter race, Ewert posted a time of 20:15.1 to place fourth in the Gans Creek Classic hosted by Missouri, finishing third among Razorbacks as Arkansas won the team title with 20 points. After that race she was again selected as SEC freshman of the week.
No. 1 Arkansas claimed its 21st league title in cross country and extended its current SEC championship streak to eight consecutive titles. During the past eight seasons, seven different schools have finished as runner-up to the Razorbacks in the SEC cross country meet.