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

Teams still optimistic for NCAA Regionals

Equipped with just five runners each, the men’s and women’s cross country teams headed to Columbia, S. C., earlier this week to compete at the Southeastern Conference Championships.

The men had their eyes on matching a first place finish, like last season and the season before, while the women were hoping to make a run for the top four.

Unfortunately, both teams fell a bit short of their expectations, with the men bringing home a second place finish and the women a sixth place finish.

“The last two years we’ve made really nice progress, and I’ve been really pleased with that,” women’s head coach Randy Hasenbank said. “This year, for whatever reason, we were just flat in some of our key races.”

Competition was stiff at the SEC Championships with unexpected teams edging the Tide out of the top four.

“They competed very hard,” Hasenbank said. “The result is the result of a tough conference. It’s a very competitive conference. We’ve beaten a lot of teams this year that went on to win their respective conference titles. [The SEC] is a tougher conference, although we still didn’t perform to where I think we’re capable of.

“We’re just a little off, and we’ve got one more meet, the regionals, to see if we can take a shot at beating some of the teams we haven’t gotten past this year.”

That being said, all five women who competed put up solid times, with the whole squad finishing within 45 seconds of each other.

“In the [SEC Championships] Kelsey [Johnson] performed really well, and had her best race of the season,” Hasenbank said. “Leigh [Gilmore] and Andrea [Torske] were strong again. We just didn’t quite put all five together on the same day. We finished about where we were predicted to finish by the coaches’ poll. But really we wanted to go in and battle for a top four spot.”

Though the women did not finish where they would have liked to, they still acknowledged that they competed hard and faced a tough field.

“I think we were all psyched up before the race,” said junior Dayle Van Ess. “A lot of us ran either our PR’s [personal record] or actually did PR.”

For Van Ess, the SEC Championship was the first meet where she scored and ran in the top five on the team.

For the men’s team, a second place finish was not enough.

“The effort was good and the outcome was fine, but we obviously started off the year with the goal of winning that meet,” head coach Joe Walker said.

The men were edged out by nearly 30 points as the Arkansas team won the meet with 34 points while the Tide finished with 62 points.

The men went into the race expecting to repeat as SEC Champions. Senior Julius Bor, who finished first on the team, was disappointed with the team’s performance.

“I think we didn’t have a good day that day,” Bor said.

Bor finished fourth overall at the meet, earning All-SEC honors. Bor and his four other teammates will now prepare to gear up for the NCAA Regionals meet in Birmingham on Nov. 13. Bor said he already knows the focus of his practice in the coming week to prepare.

“I’m working with my final kick,” Bor said. “I need to be working on the last part of my race.”

Both coaches are confident in their athletes’ conditioning and will be focusing on rest and mental preparedness for next week’s meet as well as having their athletes run together in the race.

“We look more at the gaps between athletes,” Walker said. “Time in cross country is pretty irrelevant.”

More to Discover