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 regroups before SEC Championships

The final placing order of the women’s cross country meet last weekend is misleading.  the Crimson Tide finished 35th out of 39 teams, but all was not lost. Three Tide runners finished the meet last Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., with new personal best times recorded.

Junior Leigh Gilmore finished first on the team with a time of 21:42.90 and placed 105th in the meet out of a field of 261 runners.

“Big meets like that you have to put in perspective,” Gilmore said. “We’re not just running against the SEC but the entire country.”

The next Tide member to finish was junior Andrea Torske. Torske had previously finished first on the team at the last three meets. 

Nonetheless, Torske still put up a strong performance finishing second on the team in 22:02.80 and placing 150th overall at the meet. Last weekend’s finish for Torske topped her previous personal best by nearly a minute.

Overall, the Tide had four runners finish in the top 200 of the field.

The women have two weeks to regroup before the Southeastern Championships on Nov. 1 in Columbia, S. C., where they will compete in a much smaller field.

Head coach Randy Hasenbank is reducing the mileage during practices this week but increasing the speed work to keep the girls fast but not wear down their legs too much before the big meet.

“It’s all based on conditioning,” Hasenbank said. “The key thing at this time of the year has a lot more to do with rest rather than overtraining. You’re either ready, or you’re not ready. The fact that the entire team was flat tells me they were tired.”

The women competed in a larger field last week as they did in early October at Notre Dame. At the Notre Dame meet, the women struggled to break out of the initial pack and found themselves boxed in for the majority of the race.

“The first 600 meters, the course narrowed so much and the field was so large that it just became a standstill for the whole rest of the race,” Gilmore said. “Trying to catch back up to where we should be took all of our energy and was a bad tactical error on our part.”

But the team already knows what adjustments to make so that the same error doesn’t happen at the SEC Championships.

“They need to be more aggressive,” Hasenbank said. “When there are 280 or more people, you’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on early in the race. The SEC meet is much smaller. There’s 12 teams, you can see everybody. There’s no excuse not to be competitive from the very first step.”

Gilmore said the team needs to be more aggressive than in past meets and came up with a new strategy and said, “We’re still going to want to get out just as fast [as last week] to get our positions up front so we can just hold it, and not have to play catch up.”

The women finished 5th in the SEC Championships last year, but this year the runners and coaching staff have their eyes set on at least a 3rd place finish.

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