June 10, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. –The Florida Atlantic University cross country team has announced its schedule for the 2014 season.
The schedule includes seven races beginning with the FAU inaugural home meet to open the season on Friday, Aug. 29, while the Conference USA championship is set to complete the season on Monday, Nov. 3 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. If runners qualify they will have the chance to move on to the NCAA South Regional Meet which will be in Tallahassee on Friday, Nov. 14.
The five regular season races that FAU participates in will all take place in Florida. Following the season opener at home, FAU will make their way to Tampa for the USF Collegiate Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 9. Next the Owls compete at the University of Florida’s Gator Invitational in Gainesville on Saturday, Sept. 20. FAU will travel to Orlando for the Disney Wide World of Sports Invitational on Friday, Oct. 11, followed by the Westminster Academy Collegiate in Lauderdale Lakes on Friday, Oct. 25.
“Our schedule is designed to give us a chance to perform at our best at the end of our season. We are also very excited to host our first home cross-country meet,” said Alex Smolka, head coach. “The 2014 schedule will also give our newcomers a chance to gain collegiate racing experience in at least two of our regular season meets, at home and at Westminster.”
A number of standouts will be returning to FAU’s roster this upcoming season. Chloe Sell concluded the 2013 cross country season at the Conference USA championships where she led the Owls with a final time of 17:46.90 in the 5K run, a personal record and the second-best time in FAU history. Her finish secured her a Second-Team All-Conference award and she qualified for the NCAA south regional championships, but was unable to compete due to a foot injury. Sell also recorded the fourth-best time in FAU history in the 6K at the University of Florida’s Mountain Dew Invitational with a final time of 21:46.66.
Marla Keyes competed at the NCAA south regional championships to conclude her freshman season at FAU. She ran in the 6K, crossing the finish line in 22:25.87. The Ontario, Canada native recorded her collegiate best finish in the 6K at UCF’s Black and Gold Invitational, with a time of 22:15.47. Keyes’ time at UCF put her among the ranks of FAU's top runners as she set the eighth-best time in University history. She also broke into the all-time top-10 for the 5K with a final time of 18:19.92.
As the only senior on FAU’s women’s team, Tara Cripe looks to improve her collegiate finishes to conclude her career. Cripe finished the 2013 conference championship 5K in 18:43.76, a personal best and the 10th-best time in University history. Cripe set her career best in the 6K at the University of Florida’s Mountain Dew Invitational, finishing in 23:56.98.
On the men’s side, Michael Vidal and team captain Josh Peterson will both conclude their collegiate careers at the end of this season. Vidal is the current University record holder in the 10K with a time of 32:50.80 which he set during the 2012 season. He finished the 2013 cross country season with the fourth-best time in FAU history in the 5K with a final time of 16:13.19. Peterson concluded last season with the sixth-best time in FAU history in the 5K with a final time of 16:30.92. Both Vidal and Peterson recorded their 5K records at the Westminster Collegiate Challenge.
“It is rare to have the top five runners returning on a team,” said Smolka. “In our case, we have the top five returning on both our men’s and women’s teams. This should give us the experience, maturity and team chemistry to have a great season.”
For the full 2014 cross country schedule, CLICK HERE