Gainesville, FLA. The No. 17 University of Alabama men’s cross country team earned an automatic spot in the NCAA Cross Country National Championship race with their first place finish at the NCAA South Regional Championship today at the University of Florida.
“These guys ran like the champions they are today,” head coach Harvey Glance said. “This team ran very strong and smart, I am extremely proud of the way they bounced back after the SEC’s.”
The Crimson Tide ran as well as any team could possibly hope for at the University of Florida Golf Course, the site of this years NCAA South Regional, scoring only 28 points, which was 24 points ahead of second place Florida State and 54 points ahead of No. 24 Florida who finished third.
Alabama placed all five runners who scored on the All-Region team with their strong finishes this afternoon.
Sophomore Emmanuel Bor finished in second place (30:10.23), junior Augustus Maiyo was third place (30:18.48), freshman Andrew Kirwa was fourth place (30:21.24), junior Abraham Kutingala was in sixth place (30:31.51) and junior Titus Koeh rounded out the Tide scorers with a 14th place finish (31:08.14) over the 10k course.
For Maiyo and Kutingala it is their third time selected as a NCAA All-South Regional Performers, they were both selected in 2005 and 2006 as well. Bor, who earned Southeastern Conference Cross Country Runner of the Year last week, gains his second consecutive NCAA All-South Regional honor.
Freshman Andrew Kirwa, who was selected Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year last week, earns his first NCAA All-South Regional selection. Koeh earns his second NCAA All-South Regional honor in his career after also earning All-Region in 2005
“Coming off a conference meet that was pretty tough for us, we really bounced back and I thought the guys ran exactly how we discussed with them how to run the race,” cross country coach Joe Walker said.
With today’s finish the Tide earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Cross Country National Championship race in Terre Haute , Ind. on November 19.
“I think next for us, a top ten finish at nationals is going to be our goal,” Walker added.