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University of Alabama cross country runner Mercy Cheangat won the South Regional in Huntsville, while the Crimson Tide men's team placed second Friday morning to advance to the NCAA national championships. 

Chelangat, the defending NCAA champion and two-time Southeastern Conference champion, led the women's team to a third-place finish.

The top two team finishers from each regional automatically advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held Nov. 20 in Tallahassee, Fla. The rest of the field being filled by at-large bids, so the women's team can still advance as well.  

After teams have been determined, 40 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete based on finish at their respective regional championships (38 are automatic selections; two are at-large).

“We’re very proud of both our men and women today," Alabama track coach Dan Waters said. "Both squads went out there and ran tough against a very good regional field. The women ran a smart, savvy race, while a couple of our men had the race of their lives out there today and that made the difference for us. 

"We’re excited to have the men earn an automatic berth and we’re confident that the women will earn an at-large bid. Overall, it was just a great day for the Crimson Tide and we’re looking forward to closing out the season strong next Saturday.”

For the men, Victor Kiprop, Eliud Kipsang and Hillary Cheruiyot placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Kipsang won the 2021 SEC title.

Flomena Asekol placed sixth and Esther Gitahi seventh for the women.

Both the men and women raced on the John Hunt Course.

Alabama swept the individual titles at the 2021 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships in Columbia, Mo.

Men’s NCAA South Regional Team Finishes

1. Ole Miss 68 pts

2. Alabama 79 pts

3. Florida State 112 pts

4. Lipscomb 130 pts

5. North Florida 143 pts

Alabama Men Individual Finishes

3. Victor Kiprop 29:21.80

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4. Eliud Kipsang 29:28.090

5. Hillary Cheruiyot 29:29.35

30. Paul Selden 30:47.69

37. Carson Burian 30:55.06

39. Jack Hawes 31:03.18

120. Gavin Saacke 33:13.22

Women’s NCAA South Regional Team Finishes

1. Ole Miss 69 pts

2. Florida State 86 pts

3. Alabama 99 pts

4. Tennessee 121 pts

5. Florida 135 pts

Alabama Women Individual Finishes

1. Mercy Chelangat 19:34.74

6. Flomena Asekol 19:55.57

7. Esther Gitahi 19:58.46

30. Jami Reed 20:46.46

56. Megan Patton 21:15.59

82. Leahrose Mami 21:54.52

132. Sophie Spada 22:49.06