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

After break, team heads to NCAA Regionals

After nearly two weeks off, the women’s cross country team will compete again this Saturday. This weekend the Tide will take five runners to Birmingham to compete in the NCAA Regional meet.

Runners seem comforted by the meet’s near proximity and are ready to compete.

“Like a normal meet, we’re just trying to get ready,” junior Andrea Torske said. “It’s nice that it’s so close. We won’t be tired from traveling when we get there.”

The women last had to travel to Columbia, S. C., at the beginning of the month to race in the Southeastern Championships where they would finish sixth out of 12 teams. The women had gone into the race hoping to place in at least the top four.

“We haven’t had our best race collectively yet,” Hasenbank said. “However, we’re getting very close.”

Nonetheless, the women can expect to do better at NCAAs despite the fact that they will have to face a larger field than what they saw at the SEC Championship. The course the women will race on in Birmingham is expected to be much smoother and not have as much of a hilly terrain as courses the team has faced earlier in the season.

“From what I’ve heard it is really flat, our [home course] is hilly,” Torske said. “I think we could very easily have fast times if the course is flat.”

However, head coach Randy Hasenbank provided a bit of perspective on the relatively flat course on the horizon and the larger field the women will face.

“It’s a very narrow course,” Hasenbank said. “It is flatter so it has the potential to be fast, but there are so many people to navigate. It will be a challenge, but I think the potential to run fast is there if you are smart about how you do it.”

Regardless of whether the course is flat or hilly, the women have their minds set to do well.

“We’re ranked number 10 behind some schools that we are definitely better than so we have a lot to prove at this meet,” said junior Leigh Gilmore.

The women will be racing against about 30 teams with each team being allowed to enter a maximum of seven runners. The top two finishing teams will automatically advance to the NCAA National Championships. Also, the top four runners not on either of the qualifying teams will advance to the Championships.

“We’re certainly a long shot,” Hasenbank said. “We’re going to keep it simple and try to get our squad to the top five where I think we belong. Anything above the top five would be tremendous.”

The women are eager to compete and have efficiently used practice to get ready for this big meet.

“We train together in practice,” Gilmore said. “If we all can just run in the race as a group and have each other encouraging each other then I think that would be a great race.”

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