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

Tide hopes for a third straight championship

The University of Alabama men’s cross country team ended its 2009-2010 season by winning a second straight Southeastern Conference Championship and a third-straight South Region Championship.

The team was sad to see two of its three All-American runners leave, but is even happier to invite a new addition to the team, junior Carison Kemel.

“We lost two All-Americans, which is always hard, but this one new guy [Kemel] is going to contribute a lot to the team,” said head coach Joe Walker. “There is a lot of talent in him.”

Similar to many runners on the Tide’s squad, Kemel is originally from Kenya, just like their returning All-American, Moses Kiptoo. Kiptoo said Kemel is really enjoying his time here and fits in perfectly with the rest of the runners.

“We are a team,” said Kiptoo. “We run together, compete together, and, as a team, we encourage one another.”

Currently, the Tide is ranked No. 1 in the South Region, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

“We are all really absolutely excited,” junior Nathan Corder said. “This is the first season we have had coming off back-to-back championships, making it an exciting third year.”

The Tide is starting the season with 14 healthy runners

“Two guys had some issues at the end of last season but everyone is good now,” Walker said.

Alabama’s goal this year, according to Walker, is “the same as it has been: try to win the SEC and be in the top 10 at nationals.”

In order to obtain that goal, the team meets separately three times a week to work out.

“When you put a bunch of elite runners together, they will all try to outrun one another rather than getting the full effect of a work out,” Corder said. “Practice is tough because of the heat, but Alabama won’t let it get in the way.”

Before practice, Alabama will do what is called a “wet down,” which consists of pouring large amounts of water on one another, to avoid the heat.

“We try to focus more day by day rather than focusing on something that is so far away,” Walker said. “This approach helps us get to our goal.”

Day by day, Alabama gets stronger not only physically but mentally in order to prepare itself for nationals.

Although they are not new to this glory, winning seven South Region Championships out of 11, the team wasn’t always glorious.

“When I came here, the team was on probation; nothing was going right,” said Harvey Glance, head coach for men’s track and field. “Now we seem to have turned it around. It’s been a good run.”

After 14 years with Alabama, Glance will be retiring this year.

“Our theme this year is ‘finish this thing,’” he said.

Alabama will kick off its season on Sept. 10 at the UTC/Powerade Invite in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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