Both UA cross country teams head to regionals

The men’s and women’s cross country teams will head to Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 9 for the NCAA South Region Championships.

“We’re in the best spot that we’ve been all year,” assistant distance coach Adam Tribble said.

The Tide will be taking on Memphis, Florida State and the usual conference competitors such as Arkansas and Florida, who placed first in the men and women’s SEC championships in October.

The men will run a 10k, which is two kilometers more than the longest trail they have run all season. The women will run a 6k.

Tribble said he is looking for a few runners to step up and have top performances. Freshman Katelynn Greenleaf led the way for the women’s team at SECs, while fellow freshman Robbie Farnham-Rose, who will not be competing in Tallahassee, was the first Alabama finisher for the men.

“It’s going to be interesting to see who steps up into those scoring spots,” Tribble said. “[The freshmen] are getting experiences now that most people in their first year of college don’t get.”

Players said they are excited but also nervous as they prepare to head to Tallahassee.

“I think that we are going to do really good,” Greenleaf said. “We didn’t have the best race as a team at the SECs, but we’re definitely ready for this one and I feel like we’re going to do really good.”

Last year, regionals were held in Tuscaloosa. The men’s team placed 18th while the women came in 6th. Both teams also finished 5th and 6th, respectively, at the SEC championships in 2011. This year both team’s finished in 11th place.

“I think [the distance increase] is a lot more of an adjustment for the guys, but at the same time, the girls are coming off a less than subpar SECs for sure, so I think they’re on a mission to really improve their performance because the SEC performance was nowhere close of an indicator of where we are,” Tribble said.

Tribble said the main differences between this year’s teams and last is the makeup of the rosters. Seven freshmen on the women’s side and seven freshmen from the men’s will be competing in their first regional competition.

For a Tide team that is built for long-term success, regional competition will be a true test of where the team fairs now. Greenleaf said as long as the team stays focused, they will be successful.

“As a whole, we just have to get better and better times and not so much race each other, but go out and get the group in front of us – race other teams instead of racing ourselves,” Greenleaf said. “I think if we do that, then we’ll have a good race.”

The women’s race will be at 8:30 a.m. EST while the men are set to take off at 9:15 a.m. EST.

 

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