TUSCALOOSA, ALA After starting things off last weekend at the UTC-Opener, the Alabama men’s cross country team hosts the 18th annual Crimson Classic this Friday at the Harry Pritchett Cross Country Course.
The men toe the line at 5:30 p.m. and will race over 8-kilometers. The women’s collegiate race gets underway at 5 p.m. over a 5-kilometer course. There will be a middle school race at 3:30 p.m. and high school races as well with the girls starting at 4 p.m. and the boys at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s always great for our athletes to run in front of the home crowd,” men’s coach Joe Walker said. “They really enjoy competing in front of their friends, classmates and family. It also helps to run on their home course.”
The Harry Pritchett course was built on the site of the former University of Alabama golf course. When the golf course closed its doors three years ago, it gave the Crimson Tide the opportunity to create a true cross country park.
“I can’t thank everyone on campus who has worked hard to get the course ready enough,” Walker said. “It’s really a plus for us and something that we really appreciate.”
The Harry Pritchett Cross Country Course is located off of 15th Street near the VA Hospital. Among the teams competing at the meet will be Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Emory, Jacksonville State and Arkansas State.
“Ole Miss and Mississippi State both have some excellent talent at the top of their lineup,” Walker said. “I expect it to be very competitive among the top 10 to 12 runners.”
While it will be young crew racing for the Tide men on Friday, they are experienced, taking Alabama to a 21st place national finish last season with a core primarily made up of freshmen. And in last week’s season opener, the Tide, led by freshman Emmanuel Bor, swept the top three places in the individual race and won the team title by more than 40 points.
“A lot of times we’ve hosted this meet on a Saturday morning when it’s been cooler,” Walker said. “Even though the weather turned a bit cooler this week, we’ll have to see what the conditions are at race time and if that will affect our times at all.”