FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University’s men’s cross country team heads to Dade City for the NCAA Division II Cross Country South Regional Saturday at Little Everglades Ranch. The 10,000-meter race is scheduled to start at 9:15 a.m.
The field includes 21 teams, including defending regional champion Harding (Ark,), which is currently ranked sixth in the latest NCAA Division II poll. In addition to the Eagles, the teams entered in Saturday's regional are Alabama-Huntsville, Central Arkansas, Christian Brothers, Clayton State, Columbus State, Florida Southern, Florida Tech, Francis Marion, Georgia College & State, Lincoln Memorial, Morehouse, North Carolina-Pembroke, Nova Southeastern, Saint Leo, Southern Arkansas, Tampa, Valdosta State, West Florida, and West Georgia.
This will be the first time that FGCU has competed as a team in the NCAA regional meet. Last year, Edison Vasquez became the first male athlete at FGCU to compete in an NCAA sanctioned championship when he competed as an individual in the 2004 South Region meet.
Seven runners will compete for FGCU, led by sophomore Mike Harney (North Fort Myers, Fla.), who has posted three of the fastest 8-K times in FGCU history this fall, junior Scott Poindexter (Tallahassee, Fla.) who has recorded three of the top seven times in FGCU history this fall, and junior Ismael Galicia (Naples, Fla.). All three runners have consistently posted sub-30 minute times over the normal 8K distance. Head coach Chris Highfield feels all three are prepared.
“I expect the school record to fall this weekend,” said Highfield. “All three guys have a shot to top what Edison accomplished for us last year. Despite losing practice time to Hurricane Wilma, they have continued to train hard and prepare for this meet.”
Also running for the Eagles on Saturday are junior Ray Cayo (Lima, Peru), sophomore Bryan Spiewak (Coral Springs, Fla.), freshman Grant Berkery (Sarasota, Fla.) and freshman Adam Ulrich (Coral Gables, Fla.).
The South Region is one of eight regionals being held this weekend. The top three teams and four individuals not on one of the top four teams from each regional advance to the Division II Championship meet November 19 at Pomona, California.