ORLANDO, Fla. – For the second straight weekend the FGCU cross country teams will travel to Orlando, Fla., this time competing at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge on Friday evening. In their final tune-up before the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, the women’s team will begin the 6K event at 6 p.m. with the men’s 8K race to follow at 6:45 p.m.
The Eagles will be competing in the 17-team women’s field and 13-team men’s field which includes Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, FAU, Jacksonville, North Florida, USF, Stetson and UCF (women only). It will mark the first time competing at the event for the Green and Blue.
It will also be UCF’s UKNIGHT in Pink event, meant to raise awareness for breast cancer research. Part of the entry fees for the competition will be donated to cancer research. With approximately 300 runners in the competition it will be the largest meet hosted by UCF, and runners will be wearing pink shoelaces in honor of the event.
Last Saturday at the Disney World Cross Country Classic in Orlando, the Eagles had a strong showing as the men’s team took second place in the field of 24 teams, while the women took fourth in the 28-team race at the Wide World of Sports Complex.
Finishing one-two in all four competitions this fall, the women’s team is led by junior Barrie Cohen (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional HS) and sophomore Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS). For the fourth straight event this season, Cohen was the top finisher for the Eagles, taking seventh out of 269 individuals with a time of 18:42.70 last Saturday, an effort which earned her FGCU’s first-ever A-Sun Runner of the Week honor. It was a new season-best time for Cohen, and also set a new program record for a junior. Perzanowski finished 10th overall at the event with a time of 19:00.20.
Sophomore Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) and redshirt sophomore Gilbert Chemaoi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kirobon HS/Eastern Kentucky) continue to pace the Eagles, running top times for the Green and Blue in all four fall events this season. Earning FGCU’s first-ever A-Sun Runner of the Week award, Cruz finished in seventh place in the field of 214 runners with a time of 25:55.70, setting a new season-best time, as well as, a new program record for a sophomore. Chemaoi also made a strong contribution to the men’s second place finish, crossing the finish line at the 26:18.01 mark to take 12th overall.
Results and recaps from the women’s and men’s events will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com following the competition.