By (Cody Estremera)

The group of seniors on the Alabama track-and-field team is one of the best classes the University has ever seen. Both the men’s and women’s teams have put in work both on the track and in the classroom.

The track team really puts the student in student-athlete. The Crimson Tide men finished with a 3.14 GPA while the women finished with a 3.48 GPA.

The Alabama campus has been one staple in every Crimson Tide sport. Track and field is no different.

“The atmosphere here is a lot more serious [than Virginia Tech],” senior Tadashi Pinder said. “The public is a lot more involved, and they are very supportive. There is a high expectation of performance. I think that’s good because that makes you want to work harder and rise to the occasion of your peers. You want to put out and perform. Being here has made me a better person [and] athlete, and I’m glad I made the decision to transfer here.”

Pinder is a sprinter and made his decision to transfer because of a couple of reasons. One was the conference. He believes that the SEC is one of the best, if not the best, conference in the nation. He has good reasons to believe that with the SEC having nine teams in the top 25 and six in the top 10 alone. Another reason was because he believed the coaching staff at Alabama would push him more than other schools would, helping him reach his full potential.

Every senior has one specific moment when the realization sinks in that this is their last year. The end of their collegiate career is near.

“I feel nervous that the season is already half way over,” senior Kimberley Ficenec said. “I’m not too excited about finishing because I still want to run. I feel a little bit of pressure because I want to run fast, but I’m running out of time.”

Ficenec has been on the team since her freshman year, competing cross country and distance. Over the course of her career, the program has grown into a special place to her.

“I love it; I love the spirit of it,” Ficenec said. “Everyone is just always screaming ‘Roll Tide’ at you. I love my team and coaches and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is just really welcoming. I’ve always been a huge fan of that. My favorite part has just been putting on the Alabama uniform – just putting on my uniform, getting on that line and representing Alabama.”

Alabama has just over two months left of its season. With that in mind, there are 11 seniors on the men’s team and seven seniors on the women’s team who are less than eager for that time to pass.

The Crimson Tide travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for its next competition in the Battle of the Bayou.

“I think our team is very well prepared for the upcoming meet,” Pinder said. “We are coming off of a large momentum meet at the Florida relays. I think in every area we had some stellar performances from our top athletes. We had great performances from the young guys as well. I think everyone built some confidence at the Florida relays and we built some momentum, and we are excited to keep building on that all the way up to conference.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports