Saturday, October 08, 2005
Results | Photo Gallery
Soggy and wet conditions didn’t keep the Alabama women’s cross country team from enjoying a career outing Saturday at the 13th annual Auburn Invitational held over a 5-kilometer course at the Indian Pines Golf Course.
The Crimson Tide’s top seven runners averaged 17 minutes and 51 seconds, nearly 40 seconds better than its average at the Crimson Classic three weeks ago. Three weeks removed and half a state away from the Crimson Classic, the team standings, at least through the top four finishers, were identical. Samford, Lamar and Alabama went one-two-three while Mississippi State took fourth. Alabama scored 138 points, outpointing the Bulldogs by 10.
“This was a big meet for us with nearly everyone turning in a personal best,” Alabama coach Steve Keith said. “It was good to get back to racing. We were certainly hungry to race after three weeks off from competition.”
Alabama was supposed to race at the LSU Pre-SEC invitational two weeks ago, but canceled due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The change in the racing schedule gave the Tide extra time to train, but it also affected its race experience.
“That stretched allowed us a really good training cycle, which certainly showed out there today, but we were lacking that race intensity coming out of the start. But we certainly picked up the pace over the second half of the race.”
Alabama now has one race and three weeks before the Southeastern Conference Championships, which was been moved from Baton Rouge, La. to Columbia, S.C. after the storms. Between now and then, Alabama will race at the Chili Pepper Invitational, a 6k race that will set the Tide up nicely for the SEC Championships.
“We needed this race to set us up for the Chili Pepper (Invitational) next week and the conference meet beyond that,” Keith said. “Things have worked out perfectly for us to have a great race in Arkansas and hopefully that will carry us over into a great showing at the SEC Championships.”
The Tide’s top six finishers all ran career best times, led by junior Julia Hicks who shaved another 30-plus seconds off her personal best time, turning a 17:01. Hicks, who finished just five seconds behind two-time Southeastern Conference champion Angela Homan in fifth place, came into the season sporting a career best of 18:23. Three weeks ago at the Crimson Classic she ran a then personal best of 17:33.
Today’s time ties Hicks for sixth all-time for the Tide and marks the program’s fastest 5k time since Becky Wells posted a 16:53 at the 1993 NCAA regional. Hicks has been the Tide’s leader in all three races this season, posting runner-up finishes in her first two races.
Redshirt sophomore Tara Enebak was the Tide’s second finisher, turning in a career best 17:35 to finish 17th. Her previous best was 18:19. Junior Elizabeth Wancowicz shaved more than 20 seconds off her career best to take 37th. Junior Megan Carnes nearly 30 seconds off her career best time, posting an 18:14 to take 44th place while freshman Katie Davis rounded out the Tide’s scoring by shaving nearly 40 seconds off her career best, which she set at the Crimson Classic earlier in the season, running an 18:17 in 46th place.
Sophomore Jen Gray ran the most time off her previous best, crossing the line a minute faster than her previous career mark at 18:28 and 54th place.