CLINTON, Miss. - All five members of the Florida Atlantic University men's team, and two of their women's counterparts, set new personal bests at Saturday's 2017 Conference USA Championship. Eleven total runners will now move on to the NCAA South Regional in less than two weeks.
- All five men had previously set their new best at the USF Invitational and were even faster Saturday
- First across the line was Jonathan Werble, 21 seconds faster than the 8K he ran in Tampa, down to 26:36
- Lachlan Shiver was next, 17 seconds lower to 26:55
- John Marting shaved the most off his PR, 42 seconds, to 27:09
- Two men's runners made their postseason debut: Sean Barone and Cristian Moreno. Barone went down 28 seconds to 27:30, and Moreno 27 seconds to 28:00 flat
- Only 36 seconds separated the first five Owl females, a school record. It was also the fastest total time for the squad in three years
- The first to finish also set a PR, over a year in the making, in Christina Schultz. As a junior at the FAU Invitational, she ran a 19:03. Saturday, she broke the 19-minute mark to 18:56
- Two spots behind Schultz was Bethany Hardcastle (19:01), and four behind that was Liz Wellman (19:05)
- Mikaela Jonsson also notched a new best, to 19:18, six seconds faster than the season opener this year
- Just two seconds apart, and fifth and sixth for the squad, were Erica Lersch (19:32) and Sophia Clark (19:34)
- Freshmen Megan Giovanniello and Morgan Graff took part in their first conference championship, to times of 19:51 and 20:14, respectively, and Johanna Freeman finished in 20:55
"We made some nice progress today," said Head Coach Alex Smolka. "Being able to race well at the time it counts the most is something every runner aspires to. Of course, we are not satisfied with our overall team finishes, however we are very encouraged and proud how our Owls competed this morning. The best is still ahead of us."
The five Owl men, and top six female runners from Saturday (Schultz, Hardcastle, Wellman, Jonsson, Lersch and Clark), will now prepare to compete at the NCAA South Regional. The meet is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.