Cross country to open season

Cross country to open season

The Alabama men and women’s cross country teams will begin their 2014 season with a meet against Samford. CW File

Kayla Montgomery

The Alabama men and women’s cross country teams will kick off their 2014 season with with a meet against Samford Friday at Veteran’s Park in Hoover.

In last year’s season opener, the Crimson Tide teams split races with the Bulldogs. The women’s team won their race, finishing perfect with 15 team points, taking the first seven places of the race against Samford, while the men’s team finished second.

Head coach Dan Waters said the teams look to open their season in a competitive fashion, and improve upon last season’s results from their opening meeting with Samford.

“The primary thing [UA assistant] Coach [Adam] Tribble and I look for is a competitive mindset from both of our teams,” Waters said. “We felt like last year one of our teams lacked that against Samford, and it cost us dearly. This team needs to realize that we are good enough now to compete with anyone, as long as we have the right mentality and take that mentality into the race.”

Waters said this race is paramount to beginning the 2014 season on the right foot.

“Our men’s team is still building into a competitive unit, but we expect them to come out anticipating a win on Friday,” he said. “Our women’s team has the talent to make an impact on the regional scene this year, as well as make a good finish on the conference level. How we perform this Friday should be a tone setter for our season, so we definitely expect our teams to come out ready to give a top effort.”

Specific goals on the season for the women’s team, according to Waters, include making the NCAA meet, a top-five finish in the SEC and a top-three regional finish, while the men’s team looks to improve to a top-eight finish at SEC’s, and a top-five or six finish at the regional meet. However, despite the specific goals, Waters said that it’s important to remain focused in the present.

“All of that may be getting ahead of the primary goal and expectation – showing up every meet ready to compete and excel while achieving a consistency of performance and effort,” Waters said. “If we can do that, those goals will be met.”

Following this race, the Crimson Tide will head to Ashville, North Carolina, on Sept. 20 to compete in the Ashville Cross Country Carnival, where junior Katelyn Greenleaf will compete in her first race of the season, expecting to come out strong after a successful summer of training.

“I’m hoping to get out and see where I’m at,” Greenleaf said. “I think that, this past summer, I’ve had one of my best summers of training, so I kind of don’t know what to expect with what my time will be. But I hope to compete hard and put out a good effort, and hopefully the time and the place will follow.”