"Faced with a difficult choice the four coaches on yesterday's video conference --which also included Arkansas's head men's coach Chris Bucknam and Texas head coach Edrick Floreal-- said they had no choice but to prioritize indoor track over cross country. They said that they would put their full efforts into the indoor meet, and in the case of Bucknam and Harter would decide on Saturday whether to take their Razorback teams to Stillwater. It's not what they wanted to do.
"Well, we're just focused on Fayetteville right now," said Bucknam who chose his words carefully. He added: "It seems like somebody was forcing us to make decisions to pick one or the other, and I'm disappointed with that."
"Well I know for our situation it forced us to make some decisions," Harter said. He continued: "This is the traditional time of year for indoor track, and we're sticking with that as our priority."
The situation is particularly difficult for the Razorback women. Harter's team dominated the SEC Cross Country Championships last October, scoring just 41 points and beating second place Alabama by a comfortable 16 points. His best student-athletes --Lauren Gregory, Logan Morris, Abby Gray, Taylor Ewart, and Krissy Gear-- all finished in the top-11. Gregory, Morris, Gray, and Gear are all entered in the indoor championships. It would be very difficult for them to rebound and run again on the tough Stillwater course next Monday. Harter is frustrated that he has to choose.
"I don't think that anyone stepped forward and told us why they sandwiched them so close together when we have plenty of time," he lamented. "It could have been much more of a true championship at cross country nationals if we had just given more space between the two championships."