Cross country takes third at Joe Piane Invitational

Deana Nichols, Contributing Writer

The Alabama cross country teams took on some of the country’s top ranked schools Friday morning at the Joe Piane Invitational in Indiana. Both teams finished third overall at the event. 

The No. 10 ranked women’s team finished just two points (70) behind New Mexico (68). This race included the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 8 teams. Senior Mercy Chelangat competed in her first race of the season and finished in second. Hilda Olemomoi finished just two seconds behind her teammate in the second race of her freshman season.  

Our women went toe-to-toe with arguably the best two teams in the country and we were right there,” head coach Dan Waters said. “In a very tough and deep field, our ladies raced with heart and soul all the way.” 

On the other side, the No. 25 men’s team went against five ranked teams. Coming off his win at the North Alabama Showcase, sophomore Victor Kiprop was able to hold his position in first place. Sophomores Eliud Kipsang and Hillary Cheruiyot finished in the top six, making half of the top six Alabama runners.  

We gained some invaluable experience and put up breakthrough performances up and down the line, giving us our best finish ever at this meet,” Waters said. 

Taking on some of the top-ranked teams in the nation allowed for Alabama’s strengths to shine through. They were able to see how they could perform against big competitors.  

“To have this kind of meet against this kind of competition is a big step forward for us,” Waters said. 

The victories from this showcase are important for the Crimson Tide, but this is not the end. The teams are scratching the surface of the potential this season holds for them.  

There’s still a lot of racing left to do, but we know what we need to do to be successful at the end of the season,” Waters said.  

The Crimson Tide will host the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa on Friday, Oct. 14.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]