Oct. 30, 2015
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — University of Alabama junior Antibahs Kosgei was in front of the lead pack from the start, going wire-to-wire en route to claiming the 2015 Southeastern Conference Men’s Cross Country title, finishing with an 8-kilometer time of 23:24.20 at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course in College Station, Texas, Friday morning. The native of Eldoret, Kenya, is the first Alabama runner to claim the SEC crown since Emmanuel Bor, also from Eldoret, did so in 2007. By virtue of winning the SEC title, Kosgei earned SEC Athlete of the Year honors.
“I’m so happy, because I’ve been training for this race,” Kosgei said. “I finished second in the Crimson Classic and I told coach I need to train harder to prepare for the SEC. Coach [Dan Waters] told me I have to win. So each week when there was a competition I would check the times of the runners in the conference. I knew I had some of the faster times. Coming into the SEC meet I knew I was faster than the other guys. I knew I was going to win this race.”
Arkansas swept the team titles, as the Razorback men placed six runners in the top 10 to compile 25 points while the Razorback women won with 38 points. Host Texas A&M was the runner-up on the men’s side at 98 points, with Ole Miss (122) third, Kentucky (129) fourth and Georgia (142) Fifth. The Crimson Tide men finished ninth with 203 points. On the women’s side, Mississippi State took runner-up honors with 95 points. Vanderbilt totaled 112 points for third, with the Alabama women finishing fourth with 143, just ahead of fifth-place Ole Miss (147).
The men’s race started things off on a rainy and windy Friday in College Station. The rain subsided prior to the beginning of the race, leaving behind a soggy course for the runners to navigate. Kosgei was in front of a large group of about 50 at the 2-kilometer mark with a time of 5:50. He continued to hold the lead at the 5-kilometer mark, setting a blistering pace of 4:45. Kosgei would breeze across the finish line in 23:24.20, a second ahead of Arkansas’ Christian Heymsfield, who closed the sizeable gap between him and Kosgei over the final 40 meters.
“It affected me a little bit because at times I was sliding and I almost fell down,” Kosgei said of the conditions. “I moved fast at the start of the race, but by the third mile I tried to relax myself since I knew the finish was going to be tough. With 3,000 meters to go, and with a pair of runners following me, I told myself I have to see what can I do with these two guys to stay ahead of them to the finish.”
Junior Conner Thompson was the Tide’s second finisher, crushing the 8k personal-best he set at the Crimson Classic on Oct. 16 by more than 40 seconds, recording a time of 24.21.60 to finish 27th. Junior Robbie Farnham-Rose, who had been close to producing an 8k time under 25:00, did so on Friday thanks to his 24:48.70 effort, good enough for 43rd overall. Sophomore Connor Ferrentino, running an 8k race for just the third time in his career, was Alabama’s fourth finisher in a time of 25:10.40 to take 67th-place, while fellow sophomore Garrett Bull rounded out the team’s scoring with his time of 25:25.10 to place 75th.
Other members of the Alabama men’s team who ran on Friday included junior Evan Prizy (25:50.20), senior Eric Sivill (26:07.70), senior Parker Deuel (26:15.20) and senior Justin Ahalt (26:49.10).
“Individually, we’re super excited with Antibahs getting a wire-to-wire victory,” head coach Dan Waters said. “That was very impressive, and we’re obviously very happy with that. It was obvious that he had another gear to get into, if he needed it, so it really sets him up well for the South Region Championships at home and, hopefully, he can get to the NCAA Championships after that. I thought Conner Thompson had a really great run today. I was really pleased with Robbie (Farnham-Rose) as he was really coming off some illness and injury, but he fought hard today. And Connor Ferrentino had a really good day. We missed on a few places, but with the experience coming in against this field, we did pretty well.”
In the women’s 6k race, senior Katelyn Greenleaf and redshirt freshman Rachael Reddy were able to stay with the lead group through the 4k mark before the Razorbacks Dominique Scott pulled away to win her third SEC title. Greenleaf, coming off a personal-best 5k at the Crimson Classic, came through with a 6k personal best of 20:06.90 to finish seventh overall, earning First-Team All SEC honors for the first time in her career. Reddy, still struggling to overcome an injury she sustained at the Crimson Classic, limped across the finish line to record a time of 20:25.20. She placed 16th and was the fifth freshman in the race to finish, securing a spot on the Women’s SEC All-Freshman Team.
Senior Meropi Panagiotou, senior Rebecca Stover and sophomore Caroline Barlow all came across the finish line within seconds of each other to complete the team scoring for the Tide. Panagiotou finished 41st in a time of 21:05.70, while Stover was 43rd (21:09.00) and Barlow was 44th (21:11.70).
Other runners who competed for the Alabama women’s squad were sophomore Jessica Gray (21:24.40), junior Allison Gregg (21:35.80), sophomore Veronica Lyle (21:40.60), freshman Kaitlin York (21:43.90), sophomore Emily Edwards (21:44.80) and sophomore Alison Ringle (22:11.20).
“On the women’s side, I thought they really ran gutsy,” Waters said. “They put it all out there to try to do something very special, and they just didn’t have it coming down the home stretch. Some injuries crept up on us. Obviously, Katelyn Greenleaf – what a great runner she’s been for us. She’s been our leader and a great competitor for us for a very long time. I am happy to see her finish as high as she did. She made big improvements every single year, just the way you would want to see an athlete compete. She’s the kind of athlete that makes us proud that she is representing us.”
The focus for both teams now turns to the NCAA South Region Championships, which the Tide will host at the Harry Pritchett Running Park in Tuscaloosa on Friday, Nov. 13.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
Friday, Oct. 30, 2015
College Station, Texas (Dale Watts Cross Country Course)
1. Arkansas 25
2. Texas A&M 98
3. Ole Miss 122
4. Kentucky 129
5. Georgia 142
6. Missouri 146
7. Florida 170
8. Auburn 198
9. Alabama 203
10. Mississippi State 280
11. Tennessee 301
12. LSU 322
13. Vanderbilt 391
Alabama Individual Men’s Results (8k)
1. Antibahs Kosgei, Jr. 23:24.20
27. Conner Thompson, Jr. 24:21.60
43. Robbie Farnham-Rose, Jr. 24:48.70
67. Connor Ferrentino, So. 25:10.40
75. Garrett Bull, So. 25:25.10
89. Evan Prizy, Jr. 25:50.20
98. Eric Sivill, Sr. 26:07.70
101. Parker Deuel, Sr. 26:15.20
108. Justin Ahalt, Sr. 26:49.10
1. Arkansas 38
2. Mississippi State 95
3. Vanderbilt 112
4. Alabama 143
5. Ole Miss 147
6. Auburn 164
7. Florida 183
8. Missouri 228
9. Texas A&M 249
10. Georgia 267
11. Tennessee 296
12. Kentucky 297
13. South Carolina 352
14. LSU 436
Alabama Individual Women’s Results (6k)
7. Katelyn Greenleaf, Sr. 20:06.90
16. Rachael Reddy, RS Fr. 20:25.20
41. Meropi Panagiotou, Sr. 21:05.80
43. Rebecca Stover, Sr. 21:09.00
44. Caroline Barlow, So. 21:11.80
54. Jessica Gray, So. 21:24.40
62. Allison Gregg, Jr. 21:35.80
68. Veronica Lyle, So. 21:40.60
72. Kaitlin York, Fr. 21:43.90
75. Emily Edwards, So. 21:44.80
99. Alison Ringle, So. 22:11.20
DNP Hannah Waggoner, Jr. DNF