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  • 13 Aug
    Birmingham, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference announced its 2016 cross country awards on Tuesday, as voted on by the leagues head coaches.The mens recipients include Arkansas Alex George (Runner of the Year), Arkansas Carter Persyn (Freshman of the Year), Kentuckys Jacob Thomson (Scholar-Athlete of the Year) and Arkansas Chris Bucknam (Coach of the Year).The womens recipients include Missouris Karissa Schweizer (Runner of the Year), Arkansas Abby Gray (Freshman of the Year), Arkansas Devin Clark (Scholar-Athlete of the Year) and Arkansas Lance Harter (Coach of the Year).George was named the SEC Mens Runner of the Year after he took home the SEC mens cross country individual title. He clocked an 8K time of 23:24.9 at Agri Park in Fayetteville, Ark.Schweizer was chosen as the SEC Female Runner of the Year after winning three races this season including the SEC individual title. She finished the 6K race in 20:10.5, a personal record.Persyn, the Mens Freshman Runner of the Year, was the first freshman to complete the race by finishing in 37th place on the 8K course with a time of 25:24.4, earning him a spot on the Mens All-Freshman Team.Gray was named the Womens Freshman of the Year after finishing as the top female freshman at the SEC Championships with a time of 20:52.5 to place ninth overall at the SEC Championships. For her efforts, she also earned spots on the All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman Team.Thomson is a junior at Kentucky with a 3.647 grade point average in accounting. He placed seventh overall at the 2016 SEC Cross Country Championships with an 8K time of 24:03.6. Thomson started the season with three-consecutive runner-up finishes at the Bluegrass Invitational, Texas A&M Invitational, and then led the Wildcats to a team win at the Alabama Crimson Classic.Clark is a sophomore with a 3.885 grade point average in kinesiology at Arkansas. She has been Arkansas top finisher in every meet she has competed in this season.Bucknam garnered his seventh consecutive SEC Mens Cross Country Coach of the Year award after leading the Razorbacks to their seventh consecutive SEC Championship and 24th in the last 26 seasons.Harter earned his 17th all-time SEC Womens Cross Country Coach of the Year honor and his fourth consecutive such accolade after leading the Razorbacks to their fourth consecutive league crown and their league-leading 17th all-time.2016 SEC Cross Country AwardsMens Runner of the Year: Alex George, Arkansas Mens Freshman Runner of the Year: Carter Persyn, Arkansas Mens Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jacob Thomson, Kentucky Mens Coach of the Year: Chris Bucknam, ArkansasWomens Runner of the Year: Karissa Schweizer, Missouri Womens Freshman Runner of the Year: Abby Gray, Arkansas Womens Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Devin Clark, Arkansas Womens Coach of the Year: Lance Harter, Arkansas Nike Air Force 1 Clearance . 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Cheap Air Force 1 . -- Adam Snyder returned to the San Francisco 49ers this season because the offensive lineman thought it was his best opportunity to win a championship. U.S. athletes in several different Olympic sports, frustrated by inaction and bureaucratic infighting about doping issues at the highest levels, are going public with their displeasure and pushing for action from specific reforms to potential event boycotts.Athletes attending USA Track & Fields annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, last weekend drafted a petition which calls for the World Anti-Doping Agency to become completely independent of the International Olympic Committee, and for the IOC to provide sufficient funding for WADA to do an effective job.The document, generated by USATFs athlete advisory committee (AAC), had been signed by more than 80 current and retired athletes as of Monday morning, including 2016 Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter and 4x400-meter relay gold medalists Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings, along with past medalists Bernard Lagat (5,000 meters), Adam Nelson (shot put), Brigetta Barrett (high jump) and Terrence Trammell (110 meter hurdles).Newly elected AAC chair Jeff Porter, a two-time Olympian in the 110-meter hurdles, said athletes are deeply dissatisfied with what they view as slow, piecemeal responses by international authorities to the Russian doping scandal that has unfolded over the last two years. He said U.S. track and field athletes wanted to make a statement ahead of what they anticipate will be more evidence of corruption when law professor Richard McLaren releases Part II of his WADA-commissioned independent investigation on Friday.These systemic issues can no longer be tolerated, Porter told ESPN.com. He added that many athletes are galvanized to the point where they would contemplate more drastic actions, such as boycotting events. I am hopeful and optimistic that we wont need to, but if we need to, I think the athletes are prepared to, Porter said.The petition backs proposals made by a coalition of national anti-doping agencies last August in Copenhagen, the most pointed of which seeks to eliminate conflicts of interest by excluding international sports executives or policy makers from WADA executive positions. A number of IOC members sit on WADAs executive committee and Foundation Board, and current WADA president Craig Reedie, who was just re-elected to a second three-year term, is a longtime IOC member.We feel strongly that IOC and WADA governance should be separate, and that the IOC should invest the necessary funding in WADA for it to be effective, the petition states. These would be landmark steps toward protecting clean sport athletes globally, and restoring faith in Olympic Sport. We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to support the Copenhagen Reform Proposal.The upcoming conclusion to the McLaren report is looming large in the minds of athletes, who wonder if the fourth major set of investigative findings to be issued in the last 13 months will be enough to tip leaders into aggressive action. McLarens July findings regarding state-sponsored doping in Russia fed every conspiracy theory that athletes normally try to keep from distracting and deflating them, said reccently retired U.dddddddddddd. distance runner Lauren Fleshman.We give up a lot of personal freedom and allow our privacy to be invaded for drug testing, and we do it on the assumption that its being done everywhere else, Fleshman, a two-time national champion in the 5,000-meter event, told ESPN.com.It should be [the IOCs] responsibility to pay for things that are going to keep their brand from public humiliation. Everyone tells us that athletes can make a difference. But weve never tested it.The petition drive took shape after athletes heard a presentation by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who traveled to Orlando at the athletes request, Porter said. USADA was among the agencies that participated in the Copenhagen meeting.Lauryn Williams, one of a handful of athletes to have won medals at both the Summer (2012 gold, 4 x 100 meters) and Winter Games (2014 silver, two-woman bobsled), also signed the petition and said she is outraged that competitions are still being scheduled in Russia.They were passing [urine] samples through a hole in the wall and they expect athletes to go back there? she said, referring to revelations made by former Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov about drug-testing sabotage at the 2014 Sochi Games. Stop backing athletes into a corner. Move the competition and dont tell me its too expensive. Thats bullshit.The IOC executive board asked winter sports federations to freeze preparations to hold major events in Russia. However, the February 2017 world championships for bobsled and skeleton in Sochi are proceeding as planned, and the international biathlon federation recently awarded its 2021 worlds to Tyumen, Russia, a city in western Siberia.WADA has threatened the biathlon federation with an edict of non-compliance if it does not provide a satisfactory explanation.The New York Times reported Sunday that U.S. bobsled and skeleton athletes are considering a boycott of next years world championships. Reigning British skeleton gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold has previously said she would consider skipping the event.Athletes and officials in various ski disciplines are taking issue with remarks made by the longtime president of their international federation last month, which they view as symptomatic of a greater problem. Gian-Franco Kasper, reacting to a slew of retested samples that came back positive from the Beijing and London Games -- most of which disqualified athletes from Russia and former Soviet republics -- told The New York Times, We need to stop pretending sport is clean. Its a noble principle, but in practice? Its entertainment. Its drama.The comments by Kasper, a senior Swiss official who is also an IOC member and sits on WADAs Foundation Board, prompted 2010 Nordic combined gold medalist Bill Demong to post a response on his Facebook page that included this:Any success we have had is in spite of doping and an attitude like that just perpetuates the narcissistic attitude required to cheat. ' ' '