TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With their final practice of the season in the books after a warmup on the Apalachee Regional Park and Cross Country Course in Tallahassee, Fla., the Alabama men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete in Saturday’s NCAA Championships.
Both teams earned berths at the national championships in the same season for just the second time in program history. The women are making their second-consecutive appearance and tenth overall while the men are back at NCAAs for the 21st time following a one-year hiatus. Paced by defending NCAA Champion Mercy Chelangat, the Tide women are ranked 15th heading into Saturday’s race, while the men are 23rd.
“We’re excited to have both teams here at the national championships for the first time since the ’90s and we’re ready to race. Both the men’s and women’s teams have worked extremely hard since last season to get us to this point and now it’s time to get out on the course, race hard, race smart and battle at every spot. Cross country is an amazing combination of individual and team effort, and that’s what we’ll be looking for out there on Saturday.”
Alabama at the NCAA Championships
- Alabama is sending both its men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA Championships in the same season for just the second time in program history and the first time since 1994
- The women’s race gets underway at 9:20 a.m. CT, while the men toe the line at 10:10 a.m. CT
- It will be the second time this season that Alabama has raced at the Apalachee Regional Park and Cross Country Course after competing at the Pre-Nationals Invitational in mid-October
- This year’s appearance marks just the second time since 1993-94 that the Crimson Tide women have earned back-to-back berths
- Last season, junior Mercy Chelangat became UA’s first individual NCAA cross country champion
- The Alabama women were eighth at last season’s NCAA Championships, the second-best finish in school history
- The UA men are returning to the NCAA Championships after a one-year hiatus
- The men finished 24th in their last team appearance, which came in 2019
- The Tide men are making their 21st appearance at the NCAA Championships and the 10th for the women
- The Tide posted its highest national finish, third, in 2009, while the women’s top placing, seventh, came in 1987
Last Time Out
- Alabama’s men finished second and the women were third at the NCAA South Regional Championships, with Mercy Chelangat winning the individual women’s title in Huntsville, Ala.
- Victor Kiprop, Eliud Kipsang and Hillary Cheruiyot finished 3-4-5 in the men’s race, pacing the Tide to a 79-point, second-place finish. Paul Selden (30th) and Carson Burian (37th) rounded out UA’s scoring five.
- Chelangat ran away with the women’s race, posting a 19:34.74 to finish more than seven seconds ahead of the field and becoming the Tide’s first individual regional champion since 1980.
- Flomena Asekol and Esther Gitahi took sixth and seventh to give UA three top-10 finishers. Jamie Reed (30th) and Megan Patton (56th) rounded out Alabama’s scoring five.
- Kiprop, Kipsang and Cheruiyot earned All-South Region honors for the men, while Chelangat, Asekol and Gitahi earned the regional honor for the women
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