By (Cody Estremera)

After coming in second last season in front of the home crowd, the Alabama’s women’s cross country team knew it had what it takes to finish first given a second chance. This time around, the Crimson Tide fulfilled that goal.

The Alabama women’s team claimed first place by 20 points over fellow SEC foe Kentucky. Freshman Mackenzie Yanek, with a time of 21:00.1, was the top finisher for the Crimson Tide, and she finished sixth overall. Fellow freshman Hannah Capek finished 11th with a time of 21:08.9 in her first colligate meet.

“I was really excited to see four freshmen in our top five in the women’s race,” Alabama coach Dan Waters said. “We’ve got some pieces there that we can plug in and we need to get healthy for the SEC meet. A team win is a big deal for us. They ran an extremely competitive race and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The men’s team also took part of the meet, finishing seventh overall, while using only five of the team’s runners because most of the team fell ill. Senior Antibahs Kosgei said he was glad that he got to run in the event because he had been sick leading up to the race. He wasn’t feeling that strong before the race, but if he ran, he was determined to give it his all.

Kosgei was the top finisher for the Crimson Tide. He finished second overall with a time of 24:14.1. Fellow senior Robbie Farnham-Rose finished fifth overall with a career-best time of 24:39.6. Four of the five runners finished with a personal record time.

“I wanted to get off to a fast start today and I was able to do that,” Kosgei said. “I feel good and I think I’m in a good place heading into the SEC meet at the end of the month. I’m a little faster than last year and I’m expecting a lot at the SECs.”

The focus now shifts to the upcoming SEC Championship meet that starts Oct. 28. Yanek said the women winning the home meet was a good step in the right direction for the team’s preparation.

For three of the runners who competed Friday, this was the last time they will run at Harry Pritchett Running Park as they’re in the midst of their senior season.

“I can’t believe that I’m done,” Kosgei said. “I was glad for the home support because this is my last year. Running here means a lot to me.”

The Crimson Classic is the only home meet for cross country this year. Members of the women’s team and the coaching staff all wore pink instead of the normal crimson for breast cancer awareness, too.

“A lot of our athletes, fans, families and friends have been dealing with breast cancer,” Waters said. “The fact that the whole university comes behind this Power of Pink meet, it’s a very special day for us.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports