DELAND, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University men's and women's cross country teams concluded their regular season this weekend when they ran in the Stetson Hatter Invitational. Freshmen led the way for both squads as the women runners placed third out of 14 teams and the men finished sixth out of 11.
The women's team recorded its best ever finish in the Stetson Hatter Invitational. In the last four seasons, the highest the Eagles have ever finished is ninth. The lady runners finished third behind Division I schools, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville. The Eagles edged out Palm Beach Atlantic by two points to match their highest team finish of the season. Freshman Abbie Zaspel (Burlington, Wisconsin) took 14th overall with a 20:35 finish. Casey Hasten, a freshman from Fort Myers, wasn't far behind Zaspel, as she crossed the finish line in 17th. Junior Cadie Sly (Loxahatchee, Fla.) came in just short of a Top 20 finish with a 20:53 5K run as she shaved nearly 30 seconds off of her time in last year's Hatter Invitational. Senior Katy Steffan (Naples, Fla.) finished with a time of 21:48, good for a 49th place finish. Head coach, Chris Highfield said "Our women's team is right where we want them to be, they have finished the second half of the season extremely strong. I am proud of their team accomplishments and again, they have had an outstanding regular season. The girls are looking forward to a solid 3 week training block to best prepare for the Divison II South Regional Meet, come early November."
The FGCU men's cross country team finished in the middle of the pack in Friday's race. Once again, the Eagles defeated three Division I squads to take sixth overall. Freshman sensation Kyle Brunette (Venice, Fla.) ran a phenomenal race as he finished fourth overall. Brunette's fourth place individual finish is the highest ever in FGCU history for the 8K event. Dustin Kapper, a freshman from Seminole, Fla. ran a good race and finished in the Top 25. Kapper finished 23rd with an 8K time of 30:01. Seniors Ismael Galicia (Naples, Fla.) and Scott Poindexter (Tallahassee, Fla.) finished 26th and 29th in their last regular season collegiate cross country meet. "I was proud of our guy's effort today under tough racing conditions. The team has had an spectacular year. We are looking forward to putting in our best training efforts with the goal of finishing the season strong with a great showing in Memphis, at the Divison II South Regional Meet," added Highfield.
Next up for the Eagles is the 2006 NCAA Division II Regional Championships in Memphis, Tennessee. The Regionals will be held on Saturday, November 4th with the men starting at 8:30 in the morning.