Chris Bucknam is hosting a track team at his home in Fayetteville on Thursday night. The entire group of around 40 will be given Hog noses as a gift.
So what's so big about the Arkansas men's track coach hosting his team before a big home meet, this weekend's John McDonnell Invitational? Those will be Minnesota Golden Gophers in his home.
Bucknam has a rare chance to host another team in his home since it's daughter Kate running for Minnesota. She'll be back in Fayetteville to run on what was once her home training track as a Fayetteville High athlete. She has run there before as a sophomore.
Kate Bucknam isn't just a regular senior for the Golden Gophers.The distance ace and team captain became famous last fall when her act of extreme sportsmanship was captured near the finish line at the NCAA Cross Country Championship when she joined with a Baylor runner to help another fallen Baylor runner make it the final 25 yards.
It made Chris Bucknam proud, but also raised an interesting point. Kate is a little more like mom than dad.
"I taught her to jump over that girl and go finish," Bucknam said. "Her mom is a little better person. She taught her to stop and pick the other girl up."
Dad was probably being a little too harsh on himself.
"Maybe," he said. "But it's against the rules. You get DQed for that. But, I wasn't surprised when I heard about it back at the hotel. I didn't see it. By then, it had gone viral. I was getting messages from Europe about it.
"I think that's just the way Kate is, always a part of the sisterhood. That's her.
"The thing about it, when I saw her back at the hotel, she didn't say a thing about it. That's her, too.
"When I asked about it, she just said, 'I wasn't having a good race and neither were those girls. I just wanted to help them. That captures her. She just thought it would be at least one thing she could do right that day. There are several stories about that you can find on the Internet."
Bucknam beamed as he told the story. It's all out there if you know how to use Google. He's proud of her for that, but also for jumping up in stature at Minnesota.
"She could have gone to some mid major, but she wanted to try the bigger stage, run in the Big 10, and she's done well. She's worked hard. She's about to graduate and then will come back for one more year since she redshirted as a freshman. She worked herself up on a big team and got in the top seven to run in the NCAA meet."
Bucknam knows there is pressure on her coming home.
"I know what our women's team has in the distances, and for her to run with those girls, well it's a tall order," Bucknam said. "To come back her and run on this track against our girls, that's going to be a challenging day."
The John McDonnell meet begins Friday with the high school events, with the collegians set for Saturday. The meet won't be scored since it's in April.
"We just don't have everyone ready to go right now and no one scores meets in early April," Bucknam said. "We are still trying to figure out who is going for us. We've got some injuries that we are nursing along."
That would be pole vaulter Andrew Irwin, battling back from a hamstring tweaked in the NCAA Indoor. Hurdler Omar MacLeod has a sore quad.
"They want to go, but we are going to just see how they feel later in the week," Bucknam said. "You put them out there, they won't hold back and we don't want to get them injured."
Bucknam Hosting Track Team
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