By (Lucas Nunn)

Running cross country can be a rough, tiresome activity, and sometimes a voice in the crowd cheering you on can be just what you need to power through and finish the race.

The Alabama men’s and women’s cross country teams only get the opportunity to run with familiar faces in the crowd once per season. That opportunity came Friday, as the team hosted its annual Crimson Classic.

Senior Hannah Waggoner believes having a meet at home is just as important in cross country as it is in any other sport.

“We’ve been to the course over and over again,” Waggoner said. “We know exactly where the hard parts are so we have an advantage there just being at home.”

Aside the competitive advantages that come along with knowing the course, there are other benefits to having a meet at home. It gives the team an opportunity to compete in front of its families and friends, while avoiding the travel time it would take to get to the away meets.

So far this season, Alabama has had to make the trip to the state of Tennessee twice, going to Memphis and Chattanooga, along with a trip to South Bend, Indiana. Those trips can be draining to the athletes.

Waggoner thinks all these factors can come into play and impact how the athletes will perform.

“This meet is a lot closer than the others so a lot of families get to come, and friends who normally can’t go to meets get to go, so that’s really great for us,” Waggoner said.

Along with her contributions on the cross country team, Waggoner also serves as the vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, also known as SAAC, at UA. SAAC organizes events for all sports called “High Tide” events. The purpose is for many student athletes, regardless of their sport, to come out and support a team during competition.

Due to cross country only having one home meet per season, the High Tide event always falls on that meet. With all things considered, the team receives an abundance of support that weekend, which makes a difference.

“People don’t understand just how important it is to hear people in the crowd say ‘Go Bama,’” Waggoner said. “It can pick you up and keep you going because cross country is so grueling.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports