Runners find success on big stage at homeBy Matt Speakman | 11/14/2015 2:26am
Alabama cross country saw two runners place in the top three at the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Junior Anthibahs Kosgei won the men’s race, advancing to nationals with a time of 30:55.66. Senior Katelyn Greenleaf finished third in the women’s after crossing the finish line at 20:16.13. Both runners will advance to the national meet after placing in the top three in their respective races.
“When I was in front, I knew I was going to win this race,” Kosgei said. “I was the one controlling the pace.”
Kosgei’s victory comes days after he was selected as the SEC Runner of the Year. Kosgei is the fourth runner in school history to be named SEC Runner of the Year.
The men’s team saw one other runner finish in the top 25. Junior Robbie Farnham-Rose crossed the line in 19th place with a time of 31:27.01. Junior Conner Thompson finished notched a 27th place finish, running for a time of 31:45..21. Sophomores Garrett Bull (32:36.43) and Andrew Bull (32:48.50) finished in the top 100 for the Crimson Tide. Seniors Justin Ahalt (33:25.49) and Eric Sivill (33:31.34) were the next runners to cross the finish line at 105th and 110th respectively.
The men finished in sixth place with an overall score of 183 points. Florida State took top honors in the men’s category, tallying 58 points. Ole Miss (62), Florida (102), Georgia (127) and Auburn (174) rounded out the top five.
“I thought everyone had a great meet,” said head coach Dan Waters. “I thought it was run really fairly well.”
Katelyn Greenleaf was the only runner to place in the top 10 for the women, but they had one other runner honored for placing in the top 25 with junior Hannah Waggoner crossing the finish line in 18th at 20:50.71. Senior Meropi Panagiotou finished with a time of 21:17.09 while coming in 33rd place. Freshman Rachel Reddy was close behind her, earning a 36th place finish at a time of 21:22.90. Sophomore Caroline Barlow rounded out the top 50 for Alabama, crossing the finish line in 49th place with a time of 21:33.05.
“Towards the end of the race when it started thinning out, I could see the front and I was like ‘maybe I can do this,’” Greenleaf said. “It gave me a boost of energy.”
Alabama had two other runners finish in the top 100, with sophomore Emily Edwards (21:38.05) coming in 55th and senior Rebecca Stover (21:51.47) finishing 68th. Alabama finished 3rd over all in the team rankings with 135 points. Vanderbilt (65) took home top honors with Mississippi State (78) being runners-up. Florida State (139) and Auburn (186) rounded out the top five in the women’s category.
“I was really excited after I finished and I knew was making it through to the national race,” Greenleaf said.
The women can still clinch an at large bid for the national meet if results in other regions fall their way. Kosgei and Greenleaf will participate in the national meet in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 21.