Cross Country Travels to Monday's SEC Championships
Oct. 29, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The University of Alabama women’s and men’s cross country teams aim to add another strong performance to their resume as they enter the championship portion of their schedule at Monday’s Southeastern Conference Championships in Maryville, Tenn.
Hosted by the University of Tennessee at the Lambert Acres Golf Club, the SEC Championships will feature all 11 men’s teams and 12 women’s programs competing for the opportunity to be named SEC Champion. The men’s squad is set to take to the 8-kilometer course at 9 a.m. CT with the 6-kilometer women’s race following an hour later.
“This is the part of the season we’ve been focusing on an directing all the training to these next three, most important meets of the season beginning with the SEC Championships,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “We want our teams to run extremely hard and be proud of their efforts at the end of the race. Both the men’s and women’s teams have done their best workouts to date in the last two weeks and we expect them to put on their best performances.”
The women’s squad, currently ranked sixth in the South Region Top 10, will be facing stiff competition as five other schools in the SEC are currently ranked in top 10 alongside Alabama. The other schools are Vanderbilt (No. 2), Florida (No. 3), Georgia (No. 4), Mississippi State (No. 5), and Mississippi (No. 9). The women finished sixth at last year’s championships and are aiming to finish in the top half of the league for the third consecutive season.
The men’s team, which has won two of the last three SEC titles, will be competing against heavy opposition of its own. The Tide is currently ranked ninth in the South Region, but has four SEC squads ranked ahead of them including Georgia (No. 2), Florida (No. 3), Auburn (No. 7), and Mississippi (No. 8).
In its last meet, the women's team secured first place at the Crimson Classic with five top-25 finishes on the 5-kilometer course. Leigh Gilmore led the way for the Crimson Tide with a time of 17:51.95 to finish ninth overall. The men's squad finished fifth overall at the Crimson Classic with only six Alabama runners competing in the 8-kilometer race. Carison Kemei returned to action in a big way as he finished first overall in the men's race with a time of 24:49.25.
“We saw a couple of SEC teams at the Crimson Classic and that gives us a nice measuring stick to know exactly what to expect at the SEC Championships,” Waters said. “The women built momentum and we wanted them to run tough and be tough competitors and they did exactly that. On the men’s side we’re going to have to be perfect to finish where we should be able to finish. Carison Kemei is one of those people that has the opportunity to compete for an individual title and we hope he’ll be on top of his game.”
After the SEC Championships, both teams will have a week off before they host the NCAA South Region Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 12 at the Harry Pritchett Running Park.