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This weekend the Alabama men's indoor track and field team of Coach Harvey Glance and the women's team of Coach Sandy Fowler will be at the 2006 Southeastern Conference championship meet at the Universioty of Florida in Gainesville. The meet was to begin Friday morning with the heptathlon and run through Sunday afternoon.

The Alabama men's track and field team is looking to return to the top after finishing in ninth the last three seasons.

Alabama should more than hold its own in the meet having qualified for the NCAA Championships in 11 events, the most of any SEC school.

"We are expecting to do well at the meet, to be competitive and as we have all year to work on consistency," Glance said. "We want to make as many finals as we can because you can't score points if you don't make finals."

The Tide has only competed in one scored event this season at the Carle/Health Alliance Classic in Champaign, Ill.

"This meet is different from the other ones that we have competed in so far this year," Glance said. "This one means something. This is about competition and not about times and we understand that and hopefully our team will come through this weekend."

The meet should provide the Tide a grueling test of endurance. For the first time this season, Alabama will be competing in a three day event and many of the Tide's athletes will be competing in multiple events for the first time this season.

"This will be new for us this season as well in that it is a three day meet," Glance said. "We are asking a lot of our athletes to do more events rather than just focus on a specific event. Our athletes will be pretty exhausted by the end of the meet."

The Alabama women's track and field team will be looking to win its first SEC Indoor title since the 1994 season.

"I think this is like a second season for us," Fowler said. "I reminded the girls that before the season they set goals for the season and now it is time reach up and meet those goals."

As always the SEC Championship will feature many of the nation's best teams with six of the conference schools ranked in the Top 20 including four in the Top 10. The Tide is no stranger to many of its conference foes, having competed against Top 10 conference foes Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina.

"This meet is always considered a mini-national championship meet. It's not unusual for you to place higher at the NCAA meet than at the SEC meet. The competition is what we are looking forward to. You have to go all out in every single heat or preliminary just to advance to the finals."

The Tide will be forced to deal with running on the smallest track they have competed on this season, but Fowler expects the Tide to do well.

"It's a smaller but a fast track, one of the fastest in the country," Fowler said. I think the girls will need to expect some really fast times. One thing that should help us though is that the weight throw competition will be outside on concrete which is what we practice on, so that could be an advantage."

"I'm expecting big things and looking for consistency in our performances. Tahesia Harrigan, Beau Walker, Aymara Albury, Beth Mallory, Kou Luogon, LaTasha Pharr, Megan Carnes, Elizabeth Wancowicz and Julia Hicks are just several of the athletes who I think will come up big for us this weekend."


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