The women’s cross country team poses with their PBC championship trophy. The UM cross country teams have been very powerful this season. Photo courtesy of UM Athletic Dept.

With the women’s team ranked No. 1 in the region and the men’s team ranked No. 8, the highest in school history, UM’s cross country teams are in the midst of a perfect season.

“We are really coming together as a team and plan to get top three as a team in the [Peach Belt] conference,” says Andrew Givan, a freshman runner for the men’s team.

After the Peach Belt Conference on Nov. 8 in Augusta, Georgia, both the men and women’s teams will be running in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Southeast Region Championship hosted by Montevallo.

“Being on our own course should give us an advantage and more knowledge to really push through regionals,” Givan added.

The women’s team’s chances of victory look favorable as well. Freshman Katie Nelson has been named the PBC Runner of Week for the third time this semester, and the team has won three of the four events that they’ve participated in so far this season.

“My personal opinion of why the team is having as much success is due to the student-athletes buying into what we are doing,” Tommy Barksdale, head coach for both teams, says. “They help each other in workouts and races, they cheer for one another, they just have that chemistry that you look for in a team.”

Future goals for the teams include finishing in the top four for the season and bringing home a trophy from the National Championship.

Update: The women’s team has since won the PBC championship, and the men’s team finished sixth in the conference.