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

Bama disappointed with Invitational

Entering the Notre Dame Invitational, the third meet of its short season, the Alabama men’s cross country team was ranked fifth in the nation. This invitation has been the Crimson Tide’s biggest test so far, but head coach Joe Walker remained optimistic despite the top competition expected at the meet.

“Expectations were high, and we knew it was going to be a tough meet,” Walker said.

Unfortunately in the end, the No. 5 Tide finished eighth place out of 21 schools, scoring 242 points. One word could describe the mood following the Alabama men’s cross country team’s eighth-place finish at the Notre Dame invitation: disappointment.

“We were pretty disappointed,” Walker said. “We just didn’t compete well. We want to portray what we’re capable of, and we don’t feel we did that at the invitation.”

The Tide’s 242 points were outperformed by four other ranked teams: third-ranked Oregon, 16th-ranked New Mexico, 21st-ranked Florida State and 13th-ranked UCLA. Out of the seven that placed ahead of the Tide, four were ranked, with only one of those ranked above No. 5 Alabama to begin with (No. 3 Oregon).

Alabama should expect a drop in the newest polls after this finish, but junior Nathan Corder said that number doesn’t represent the team’s true talent.

“Polls are a representation of the team to the nation,” he said. “We don’t live by the poll. We know how good we are.”

Walker said he is concerned with the team’s performance but views it as just a bad meet and as an opportunity to assess what the team needs to improve on. On the other hand, Walker knows his team is going to be judged by its performance later on, which raises some concerns.

“It does concern me,” Walker said. “We have already dealt with September growing pains, but we are going to be judged by performance in November, too.”

Based on this last outing, there may questions in fans’ minds that need answers. The new question that might be asked is whether the Tide is ready for postseason running.

“This sport is a sport where teams can get better week by week,” Walker said.

Walker believes all the team should do now is to put on a better showing next time and move on.

“We are just going to put this meet behind us,” Walker said. “It‘s over now, and we can’t change it.”

The runners hit the gym and worked out as soon as they returned from Notre Dame, ready to continue with the season and start their journey to climb back up in the polls and get ready for the postseason.

“We had a team meeting as soon as we returned and hit the hill fast, if not faster than before,” Corder said.

Corder and the Tide now get ready for their next meet, pre-nationals, which takes place on Oct. 16 in Terre Haute, Ind. Many teammates look forward to this meet.

“A lot of people love it,” Corder said. “People are working hard to get ready for it.”

Now only time will tell whether Alabama will improve quickly enough and turn the tide before the true competition in November begins.

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