Michael Vidal has the men's lowest average this season, at 27:25.16
Oct. 25, 2012
The Florida Atlantic men's and women's cross country teams head to Bowling Green, Ky., for this weekend's Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Eight men and eight women make up the roster for head coach Alex Smolka, competing Saturday at Kereiakes Park. However, only three runners from each team - Neil Coffman, Eric Kessler and Adam Simon for the men; Megan Bary, Tara Cripe and Helen Mann for the women - have official times at this particular course, with the last two conference championships being hosted there by Western Kentucky.
Sophomore Michael Vidal, who started but didn't finish at last year's SBC Championships on that course, is the top runner on the male side. He averages 27:25.16 per 8K, has led the squad in all four events he's participated in this season, and has two of this year's three under-27-minute times (26:17.54 and 26:40.65). Kessler, a senior, has the second fastest average (28:11.28) and that other time (26:57.11 at October 14th's UCF Black and Gold Invitational, setting a new personal record). Next up, average-wise, are Hunter Wampler (28:14.45) and Coffman (28:19.13).
On the women's side, the top runner heading to Bowling Green is Cripe, a sophomore. Of all female Owls running on Saturday, she has the only sub-20 time in a 5K this season, 19:47.33, on September 15 at the UF Mountain Dew Invitational.
A theme for the women's team this year has been competitive balance. As such, number two and three, senior Bary and freshman newcomer Katey CoDyre are next, and are within a one-second average of each other: 20:53.59 and 20:54.59, respectively. The same can be said for the next duo, senior Emily Olsen and freshman Chloe Sell (21:07.23 and 21:08.34). Sell ran particularly well at the season's last meet and only 6K of the year, notching a team-fastest 23:49.01 at the UCF Invitational.
The women run first in Bowling Green, at 11 a.m. Eastern time, while the men are scheduled to start at noon.