Sophomore Edison Vasqez shattered his own school record to finish 23rd in a strong field of runners at the Gator Invitational at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace in Newberry, Fla. Saturday morning.
Led by individual winner Simon Ngata, the University of Georgia captured the team title with 32 points, just two points ahead of host Florida. Florida Gulf Coast University finished 14th in the event with 437 total points, good for sixth among the 11 Division II schools in the meet.
Vasquez (Naples), who topped the old mark he set a year ago by 1:57, finished with a time of 26:49.68 in the 8-K race. Vasquez, whose average mile was 5:23, now holds the five fastest times in school history.
“Edison ran a near flawless race, he looked strong at every mile point and had an unbelievable kick to the finish line,” said coach Chris Highfield. “To crush the school record by close to 2 minutes, that's a substantial time. I could not be more happier for him. He's paid his dues in the off season and now we are seeing the results."
Freshman Ronald Jean-Gilles (Naples/Lely) ran a time of 30:20.83 to finish second for the Eagles. Freshman Rob Clendening was FGCU’s third finisher with a time of 31:19.68 and freshman Bryan Spiewak was fourth on the team in 31:45.20. Senior Franco Mata rounded out the scoring for FGCU with a time of 33:35.33 in his first race. Additional finishers for the Eagles were Chris Hernandez and Lyle Edixon.
“All seven of them ran a strong race,” said Highfield. “With Edison out front, our supporting cast and the three freshman (Jean-Gilles, Clendening and Spiewak) continue to improve each week."
Florida Gulf Coast University’s next meet will be September 24 at the flrunners.com Invitational V at Ed Radice Park in Tampa.