Nov. 21, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 12 University of Alabama men’s cross country team is set to make its sixth straight appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships Monday, Nov. 22, in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s 10-kilometer race is scheduled to start at 11:48 a.m. CST on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
The Crimson Tide advanced to the NCAA Championships by virtue of winning its fourth straight NCAA South Region championship last Saturday in Hoover, Ala. Head coach Joe Walker’s squad returns to Terre Haute after posting a third-place finish, the highest in the program’s history, in last year’s NCAA Championships.
“You’d like to duplicate that effort from last week and see another similar performance,” Walker said of following up on last week’s regional title. “Sometimes in our sport you have a high followed by a low. We have to come back with another great performance and we need to get into a similar mindset to compete in Terre Haute.”
Getting back to the NCAA Championship has been a challenge for the Tide this season as the team began the year ranked fifth in the nation and dropped as far as 27th while battling adversity and subpar performances in the middle of the season. The team began to find its stride in time for the SEC Championship where it finished second behind No. 9 Arkansas, but ultimately failed to win its third straight SEC crown.
Undeterred by that result, the squad put together its best performance of the season at the regional meet with all five scorers earning all-region honors.
“This year, it has had a special feeling,” Walker said. “Seeing these guys come together and perform at a high level at this point in the season has brought a smile to my face.”
The Tide will have to perform at that high level again if its wants to record its fourth straight top-10 performance. Stanford comes into the championships at the nation’s top-ranked squad followed by defending national champion Oklahoma State in second.
Leading the Tide into Monday’s meet are Carison Kemei and Julius Bor who finished second and third, respectively, in the regional meet. The pair finished with times of 30:05.08 and 30:06.96 in their first 10-kilometer races of the season and they have consistently been the Tide’s top two runners this season. Veteran Moses Kiptoo is the team’s lone returning All-American having earned the honor last season with a 26th-place finish in a time of 30:08.60. Bor finished 92nd in last year’s race but holds a personal best of nearly a minute faster than last year’s time.
Live streaming of this year’s NCAA Championships is available by clicking here.