Oct. 31, 2009
OXFORD, Miss. - For the first time in school history, the No. 6 Alabama men's cross country team claimed back-to-back SEC Championships. The meet was held on Saturday at the Ole Miss Cross Country Course in Oxford, Miss.
"I just give the guys a lot of credit for competing hard on a not so ideal day," cross country coach Joe Walker said. "It was rough on everybody with these tough conditions, but you could tell that our guys kept fighting even when they weren't necessarily competing at their best."
Alabama became the first team other than Arkansas to win consecutive titles since Tennessee did so in 1989-90.
"I think its great that we can start our own streak at this meet now," Walker said. It's definitely something you can feed on and Arkansas used that to their advantage when they were the team to beat."
"To be able to repeat in this conference is a true blessing and I'm real proud of these guys," Glance said. "They came out to prove they were the best team in the conference and they did just that."
On a course still underwater in many places due to constant rainfall on Friday and through the night, the Crimson Tide were paced to their third conference title in school history by Moses Kiptoo who finished sixth with a time of 24:57.75. Tyson David followed in seventh and a time of 24:58.45. Both earned First Team All-SEC honors.
"The main objective was to return the trophy back to Tuscaloosa," David said. "We did what we came here to do. Now we have to get ready for the Region and NCAA Championships."
Earning Second Team All-SEC were Fred Samoei (25:10.73) and Julius Bor (25:16.52) who crossed the line in 12th and 14th place, respectively.
Emmanuel Bor (25:26.27) and Andrew Kirwa (25:27.20) just missed earning another All-SEC accolade as they finished in 17th and 18th, respectively.
Jeff Palmer (26:59.76), Nathan Corder (27:40.66) and Austin Duckworth (27:52.28) rounded out the Tide finishers coming through in 50th, 63rd and 69th place.
No. 28 Arkansas made Alabama earn the title today finishing just five points behind in second by a score of 56-61. No. 24 Auburn finished third with 86 points. Florida (120) and Georgia (133) rounded out the top five in team scoring.
2006 SEC Champion Barnabas Kirui of Ole Miss claimed the individual title again with a time of 24:24.75.
"Anybody that knows my makeup knows I like making history," head track and field coach Harvey Glance said. "This was the first time we've gone back to back in school history. When you're the target for everybody like we were this year, it makes it even more special."
Alabama will return to competition on Nov. 14 when they host the NCAA South Region Championships at the Harry Pritchett Running Park.