FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 2008 cross country season has come to a close, but the impact that this year’s teams made on the school record books will last for quite some time. On the men’s team, Kyle Brunette had an outstanding junior season. Kyle established four new top ten times including shattering Mike Harney’s previous school record by over 41 seconds. Joshua Brooks also made his mark at the conference championships, setting a new personal record with a 27:05.74, a time that also now stands as the sixth-fastest in school history.
Kyle’s first great run of the season came in the second meet, the Mountain Dew Gator Invitational, where he ran a 27:10.94. At the time that was the third-fastest time in school history, about 20 seconds behind Mike Harney’s school record. The following week, at the Florida State Invitational, Kyle nearly accomplished his goal, breaking the 27 minute mark for the first time in his career. He ran a 26:54.12, just 3.66 seconds behind Mike Harney’s record. A few weeks later, at the Walt Disney World Invitational, Kyle ran a solid race, but again missed the record, finishing with a 27:02.95. Finally, in the last race of the year, the conference championships, Kyle accomplished his goal. Finishing in a time of 26:08.92, Kyle smashed Mike Harney’s previous record by 41.54 seconds.
The coaching staff all spoke highly of Kyle’s accomplishments this season. First-year head coach Cassandra Goodson said, “Kyle has been working all year to get to this point. One of the goals he set for himself at the beginning of the season was to break the school record, and after pushing himself all year long, he has accomplished his goal, and I couldn’t be happier for him. The whole team was excited to see him break the record.”
Assistant coach Antoinette Biffar said, “Kyle has made a huge impact this season, adding many great times into the top 10 as well as accomplishing his goal at the conference championships of breaking Mike Harney’s record. Kyle has responded so well to Coach Goodson’s training philosophy and has shown so much leadership on this team.”
For the women, Megan Thies solidified her position as the top female cross country runner in FGCU history. As a sophomore, Megan came into the 2008 season already holding the top two times in school history; she now owns the top five times. In the third meet of the season, the Florida State Invitational, Megan ran a 19:33.03, which, at the time, was the fourth fastest time in FGCU history, and just 3.09 seconds behind the school record. A week later, at the FLRunners.com Invitational, Megan obliterated that record with a 19:10.11, which remains the school record. The following week, at the Walt Disney World Invitational, Megan had another fantastic run, finishing with a 19:29.47, which now stands as the third-fastest time in school history. At the conference championships, Megan very nearly broke her own school record again, running a 19:10.42.
Assistant coach Antoinette Biffer spoke about Megan, saying, “Megan had an outstanding season, breaking her own school record three separate times, and now she holds 6 of the top 10 times in school history. She was incredible for us all season long, and her hard work early in the season really paid off in the end.”