Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Sitting down with women’s cross country coach Randy Hasenbank

Last season, the women’s cross country team had its best finish since 2000, coming in seventh place at the NCAA South Regionals held in Tuscaloosa.  But with the finish, they were still a few places off from qualifying for NCAA Championships.

With more runners coming back, the Tide heads into its 2010 schedule with experience and confidence. Because the season opens in a week with a road trip to Nashville, Tenn., The Crimson White sat down with women’s cross country coach Randy Hasenbank to get his outlook on the season.

The Crimson White: Do you have a battle plan for this coming season?

Randy Hasenbank: As far as our accomplishments this year, our final goal is to continue to make progress towards an SEC Championship. We moved up to fifth last year, and we really just want to improve upon that.

CW: Do you have a team slogan or a key point you make to the team during each practice, to pick up the pace?

RH: Our mantra is, “Train like a champion. Compete like a warrior.” Train like a champion simply meaning, don’t take days off, always be consistent, always be ready to perform. Then, when it comes to the opportunity to compete, compete like a warrior. Give it that aggressive mindset it takes to be a champion.

CW: Do you ask your team to follow a strict diet plan during the course of the season?

RH: It’s their responsibility to fuel their bodies. I just ask that they stay hydrated. Most of them have been in the sport long enough to know what their body can and can’t handle.

CW: Are you confident in the skill level of the runners this season?

RH: We’ve got more veterans on our squad this year than we’ve had in the past. So it’s a more seasoned lineup. They understand what the goal is and what it takes to get there.

CW: Are you happy with the overall size of your team this year?

RH: I’m coming up on my fifth season at Alabama and coming from very slim numbers, around seven or eight. Now we’re up to eighteen girls… That gives us some leeway if we have to red-shirt or if we get an injury, we’ll have someone to move into the spot.

CW: Is there enough healthy competition within the squad to keep the Tide at the top of its game?

RH: [Competition] breeds excellence. Having a deep roster assures me that all of our top runners are working hard to keep their spots. If you can have some depth, in any sport, it makes the athletes work harder to stay where they’re at.

CW: Do you feel there is a sense of unity on your team, a sense of family?

RH: We spend an awful lot of time together because we travel year round, as opposed to some other sports that only spend a few months together in a season… It’s basically their sorority. These women are together not only as a running group but as a group of friends. They know each other better than anyone else, and they know how to take care of each other. They look forward to being together and training each year. They are their best support group.

CW: Do you put any positive pressure on your athletes to make the grade?

RH: Out of over two hundred fifty women’s DI [Division I] teams, we were ranked number one academically, with the highest team GPA in the country.  It is a priority. At the end of the day, they’re supposed to walk out of here with a degree and contribute to society.

CW: Is it mandatory for your athletes to work out and keep fit over the summer and during the off-season?

RH: These ladies run year round. They’ve got an NCAA DI cross country season in the fall, then these ladies will join the indoor team for the distance championships, then they head back outdoors as the distance runners for the track team in the spring… So at the end of May, I send the girls home with a training routine to get better. It’s a continuous training process.

CW: Are the athletes as confident in victory this season as you are?

RH: I have very high expectations. I want us to win an SEC championship. And there may be a point in the beginning where they’ll look at that and think “Wow, that’s a lot,” but if you structure properly if you motivate properly, their expectations will match mine. In fact, exceed mine when they see how good they can be.

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