FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University cross country teams certainly seemed to enjoy running in the school’s first-ever home meet, held Friday evening at Estero Community Park. Leigh Mumford won the women’s race, while Jonathan Lanning won the men’s race, leading the men’s team to a first place overall finish.
The men took to the course first, running a 5K race. Jonathan Lanning (Sarasota, Fla.) ran a great race for the Eagles, crossing the finish line in first place with a time of 16:38.00, almost five seconds ahead of Miami’s Charles Michel. The Hurricanes claimed second, third, and fourth, before Dillon McGee (Indialantic, Fla.) crossed the line in 17:13.90, claiming fifth place. Two Eagles were right behind McGee: Kyle Brunette (Venice, Fla.) took sixth in 17:20.00 while Joseph Hebel (Naples, Fla.) earned seventh in 17:20.70. Joshua Brooks (Fort Myers, Fla.) finished in 17:27.90, good for ninth place. Richard Black (Tavernier, Fla.) ended up in what turned out to be a decisive position, finishing tenth overall in 17:43.90, 3.2 seconds ahead of Miami’s Reginald Buford. Because Miami and FGCU ended up tied in points, the overall team champion had to be determined by a tiebreaker. The first tiebreaker is based upon which team had a higher-finishing sixth place runner. So, since Black was the sixth-fastest Eagle, and Damon Campbell was the sixth-fastest Hurricane (13th overall), FGCU earned the team victory.
The women got going in their 2-mile race shortly after the men’s race concluded. Leigh Mumford (Clemson, S.C.) gave the Eagles a sweep of the individual wins for the day, finishing in 11:46.70, winning by nearly six seconds over Miami’s Katherine Woodard. Barrie Cohen (Voorhees, N.J.) came in third place in a time of 12:02.30. After Cohen, four consecutive Miami Hurricanes crossed the line before FGCU’s Megan Thies (Brandon, Fla.) clocked in at 12:30.10, good for eighth place. Taylor Cooke (Homosassa, Fla.) cracked the top ten, finishing tenth in 12:39.90. In the team competition, Miami earned the victory by ten points over the Eagles. Saint Thomas did not earn a team score in either the men’s or women’s competitions due to the fact that they only ran four runners in each race, less than the mandatory five runners to earn a score.
“I am very excited for all of our athletes, especially Leigh and Jonathan for winning here today,” said Cassandra Harbin, head coach of both FGCU cross country teams. “I am glad to see us do well in our first-ever home meet, and I am looking forward to doing this again in years to come. I also think we are in a good position heading into the conference championships next weekend. I’m excited to see how well do there.”
The Eagles wrap up the 2009 season next weekend at the A-Sun Championships, being held in DeLand, Florida. Both competitions will take place the morning of Saturday, October 31st. The women’s race is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the men’s race is set for 10 a.m.