Tide ready for first home meet at Crimson Classic

Kelsey Johnson leads the Tide during a race last season. Alabama looks to shine as the Tide returns home for the Crimson Classic Saturday at 8:30 a.m. / Amanda Brackin

The Alabama cross country team will be running at home for the first time in the Crimson Classic this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

The meet features usual conference foes such as Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia, as well as smaller regional schools like UAB and Samford. The meet will also feature high schools from the south, including schools from Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. This year features one of the highest entry totals for any Crimson Classic.

“We are really pleased with the number of entries,” assistant coach Adam Tribble said.

Senior runner Andrea Torske is also excited for the first home meet.

“It’s good to know the course,” she said, “and it’s nice to not have to ride a bus to get to the meet.”

The Crimson Tide is looking to get back to top form after a performance at the Greater Louisville Classic, in which the men finished 19th and the women finished 6th. The team results were misleading, as several individuals set personal and seasonal bests, including Torske.

“I improved my seasonal best,” Torske said. “It was a nice, flat course, and it helped get some good times.”

Tribble said he believes the last meet can be used as a learning experience for the Tide runners.

“The last meet was OK,” Tribble said. “We held out some of the guys, and we didn’t start very well. That gave us things to correct this week.”

The Tide held out several top runners, including Carison Kemei and Oliver Blake, and Tribble hopes they will be back for this weekend.

“Carison looks like a million bucks; hopefully he will be back to full strength this week,” Tribble said. “The women also look good, and this is a good chance to see us against other SEC schools.”

The Crimson Classic will take place this Saturday at the Harry Pritchett Running Park, with the first race starting at 8:30 a.m.