Men’s cross-country team finishes season with championship and accolades
The UALR men’s cross-country team has completed its season and several accolades have been handed down to the team.
The Trojans won the Sun Belt Conference Cross-Country Championship at Kereiakes Park in Bowling Green, Ky., head coach Milton Williams has been named the 2012 Coach of the Year and several student athletes have been named to the All-SBC team.
The 2012 SBC title is the team’s second in three years, bringing the team’s all-time total to five.
The Trojans tallied 58 points to claim the conference championship. They bested North Texas, which scored 85 ; Middle Tennessee, which scored 86; and South Alabama, which scored 139.
UALR had three men finish tenth place or better in the event, which was a distance of eight kilometers (approximately five miles). Senior Markus Pearson finished seventh (25:33.7), Senior Felix Maritim finished eighth (25:40.7) and Sophomore Brock Hime finished tenth (25:51.9).
After the team had secured the SBC championship, it was announced that Williams was named “Men’s Coach of the Year.” This is Williams’ fourth time to win the award. He was named “Women’s Coach of the Year” in 2005 and “Men’s Coach of the Year” in 2007 and 2010.
Hime was not surprised that his coach got the award. “It doesn’t shock me that he won Coach of the Year, it would’ve shocked me of he didn’t.” Hime continued, “[Williams] is very passionate about the sport and truly cares about his athletes. The man will do anything for us and I respect him for that.”
Junior Shaun Koehn praised Williams for his ability to get his players to perform their best at just the right time. “Coach Williams has many years of experience with training and knows how to make our bodies hit their peak performance at the right time. This is very crucial and not easy to do in our sport.”
Hime made a point to recognize Assistant Coach Aaron Batey as someone who is passionate and works hard, but stays out of the spotlight. “He does a lot of the behind the scenes work and does a great job.”
“[Batey] was all over the course at conference,” Hime said. “When Coach Batey came running up to us right after [we] finished and yelled we had won, we all just began hugging — we were so happy.”
Four Trojan student athletes have been named to the All- Sun Belt Conference team.
Pearson, Maritim and Hime have all been given Second Team All-SBC honors. Koehn rounds out the awards for the Trojans with Third Team All-SBC honors.
Hime appreciates the personal recognition because he did not get to compete last season. “This was my first cross country season since 2010 due to injury, so making a comeback and getting all conference meant a lot to me.”
Koehn said he is happy the team achieved its goal of winning the conference championship and he achieved his goal of being named to the all-conference team. “It’s awesome to see over five months of hard work and consistency finally pay off.”