Nov. 4, 2013
DENTON, Texas – In its first appearance as a member of Conference USA, Florida Atlantic University’s finish at the 2013 C-USA Cross Country Championships was highlighted by the women’s team posting their lowest 5K team average (18:47.57) at a conference meet in school history.
Prior to Saturday’s meet, the lowest team average was held by head coach Alex Smolka’s 2010 team that posted an average time of 18:52.
In addition to the team’s overall accomplishment, seven women ran personal records. Sophomore Chloe Sell led the Owls for the second time in a conference meet crossing the finish line in 13th place with a final time of 17:46.90, a personal record. Her finish secured her a Second-Team All-Conference award. Previously, Sell’s best time in a 5K was set at the 2013 Disney Cross Country Classic, which she finished in 18:09.63. She led FAU’s women’s team in the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championship when she finished the 5K run in 19:27.90 for 33rd place.
Marla Keyes finished behind Sell in 38th place with a final time of 18:37.18. The freshman has had a successful first season at FAU, breaking into the school’s all-time top-10 for the 5K at Disney and earning C-USA’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week in the eighth week of the season. Tara Cripe, who finished behind Sell at the 2012 SBC Championships, finished third for FAU running a personal record of 18:43.76. Rounding out FAU’s women who posted personal records were Brittany Garesio, Kia Heller-Spencer, Tia-Rose Raymond, Danielle Dunn and Clare Brinkman.
“I can’t be anything less than proud of our women’s performance” said Smolka. “Having so many run lifetime bests on the day it counts most is a testament to their hard work and dedication to each other and the team.”
For the men’s team, Michael Vidal continued as FAU’s top finisher. Vidal’s final time of 26:48.91 in the 8K was good for 39th place. The junior improved his time from last year’s conference meet where he ran the 8k in 27:58.00. Sophomore transfer Josh Peterson recorded FAU’s second-best finish of the day with a final time of 27:41.97. Christian Small and Josh Nicholas finished just seconds apart, crossing the finish line in 28:35.53 and 28:41.94, respectively. Returners Adam Simon and Neil Coffman rounded out the men’s team. Simon finished in 28:57.81, nearly 20-seconds faster than last year’s conference meet finish (29:15.50), and Coffman finished in 29:08.11.
“On the men’s side, we knew we would have a huge challenge on our hands. C-USA has numerous regionally and nationally ranked teams that we had to contend with. Our men ran valiantly against steep competition” said Smolka.
The women’s team took 10th place while the men finished in 12th. The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane claimed victory for the men’s team title and tied with UTSA for the women’s title. Tulsa’s women finished with a team average of 17:47.44 while the men’s average was 25:06.47.
The Owls will wrap up the 2013 cross country season at the NCAA South Region Championships, which will be held in Tuscaloosa, AL on Nov. 15 at 9 a.m.