SEC Cross Country Title Run Saturday
The men's 8K race is slated for a 10 a.m. (CT) start, while the women's 6K will begin at 11 a.m. (CT). The awards ceremony is set for Noon (CT).
Twelve women's teams and 11 men's teams will compete for the conference title. The Alabama Crimson Tide are the men's defending champions while the Arkansas Razorbacks are the defending women's champions and have won the last three titles.
On the men's side, Alabama will attempt to become the first team other than Arkansas to repeat as back-to-back champions since Tennessee in 1989-90. The No. 6 Crimson Tide enters the meet as the highest nationally ranked SEC team this season. Also ranked for the SEC is No. 24 Auburn and No. 28 Arkansas. The Razorback's Lane Boyer currently holds the fastest 8K time in the league this season with a time of 23:23.05, followed by Alabama's Tyson David with a time of 23:37.71. Another strong contender is the 2006 champion, Ole Miss' Barnabas Kirui, who has the fifth fastest 8K time in the league this season.
The Florida women and the Arkansas women are the only two teams entering the meet ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I National Poll. The Gators are No. 5, while the Razorbacks are No. 29. Arkansas leads the conference in titles with 13 followed by Tennessee with five, Kentucky and Florida with three and Alabama with two. The Gators were picked by the conference coaches to win the title in their preseason poll. Tennessee's Jackie Areson currently boasts the conference's best 6K time this season with a mark of 20:02.00. Auburn's Holly Knight was the SEC's top finisher at the Pre-NCAA meet earlier in the season where she finished second with a time of 21:10.4. Knight was the 2008 runner-up at last year's SEC Championships.
Highlights from the Championship will be aired on ESPNU's SEC Weekly on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. (ET). For more information on the Championship, visit www.secsports.com or www.olemisssports.com
After ending Arkansas' streak of 34 straight conference titles (17 SWC, 17 SEC) last season, the Alabama men aim to launch a conference title streak of their own. Should the Crimson Tide claim their second consecutive title on Saturday, they will be the first team other than Arkansas to repeat since 1989-90 (Tennessee). In 2008, the Alabama men claimed their second SEC Cross Country Championship in school history – the other title in 1973. The Crimson Tide posted an impressive score of 32 points by placing all five scoring runners in the top 10 to best runner-up Auburn's 62 points in dominant fashion. The Alabama men were the first team other than the Razorbacks to bring home the elusive championship since Tennessee won in 1990. Alabama is predicted to repeat as conference champions in 2009, according to the SEC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Alabama women have been getting consistently better each year since 2006 posting their best SEC Championship finish since 2000 last year as they put together a team finish of seventh. This year's squad returns everybody from last year's seventh place team and has risen as high as third in the South Region Rankings this season. In addition, the rebuilding of Alabama into the SEC contender it once was is well underway by having three All-SEC and All-South Region performers in the past two years, all of which were freshmen. The Crimson Tide has been led by yet another freshman in Katlyn Will once already this year.
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