Seniors prepare to lead men's cross-country to new heightsBy Cody Estremera | 08/22/2016 9:06am
Connor Thompson rounds the corner during a meet. Photo courtesy of Steve Austell
“Ever since I’ve been here we’ve been pretty young and going through a lot of growing pains,” Thompson said. “Now this year, we’ve gone through that and I think it’s going to make us so much better. Some of our top guys are seniors. Now that we are all older, knowing how to get through the year is going to be a big help.”
Thompson’s experiences with the Crimson Tide have helped him grow as a runner. Now, he’s ready to see just how much he’s improved.
“Cross-country is one of those things where you build on each year,” Thompson said. “So just another year of aggressive training and just base building, I’m stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been. I think that applies to all our guys, just another year of fitness and experience under our belts.”
Coach Dan Waters’ main goal is to progress the team forward and move onto the NCAA championships. He believes the way the Crimson Tide will take the next step is through the experience of the seniors.
“I think the combination of seniors we have that figure into the top five,” Waters said. “That would be Connor Thompson, Robbie Farnham-Rose and Antibahs Kosgei, and I think all three of those guys will continue on with great seasons and competitions.”
Waters believes that there is no such thing as an offseason. Even in the offseason the athletes are pushing themselves to improve.
The Crimson Tide, led by five seniors and a handful of juniors, starts the season on Sep. 3 in the Brooks Twilight Classic taking place in Memphis, Tennessee.
Those seniors believe it is time to make the push towards making the NCAA championships.
“With one more year, it is a great time for us to leave it all out there and see what we can do,” Thompson said. “Eight kilometers and 10 kilometers are hard to figure out. This being my fourth year, I’m starting to get the hang of it. It really should pay off in those championship races.”
The Crimson Tide will have to overcome stiff competition to earn a spot in the championships, but Waters isn’t concerned about Alabama’s opponents.
“I would like to tell you I spent the offseason analyzing every other team, but I haven’t,” Waters said. “I’m more worried about ours. I’m sure they’ve retooled. I’m sure they are going to be ready for the competitions. We are just hoping to be ready too.”