NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the final competition in the fall season, the FGCU men’s cross country team ran to an eighth place finish in the field of 10-teams at 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, hosted by Belmont on Saturday morning in Nashville, Tenn.
“The conference was very tough this year and it showed in today’s event,” said fourth-year head coach Cassandra Harbin. “I think our effort was there this morning, and I was pleased with the way the guys competed.”
The Eagles used a team score of 177 to finish in eighth place at the conference championship. With four runners inside the top 20, USC Upstate took the team victory with a score of 69.
Leading the Eagles with nearly identical times through the 8K event, sophomore Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) and redshirt classmate Gilbert Chemaoi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kirobon HS/Eastern Kentucky) finished 25th and 26th, respectively, in the field of 79 runners. Cruz finished with a time of 26:14.52, just slightly ahead of Chemaoi’s mark of 26:14.59.
With his best time this season, junior Matthew Crowe (Glen Burnie, Md./Old Mill) crossed the finish line at the 26:33.83 mark to take 36th overall. The time also bettered Crowe’s personal best time of 26:39.79, which he set at the 2010 A-Sun Championship.
Also inside the top 40 for the Green and Blue, junior Dillon McGee (Indialantic, Fla./Melbourne HS) took 39th overall. McGee ran a time of 26:48.54 for his second-best finish of the 2011 season.
The sophomore duo of Sanders Payne (Weston, Fla./West Broward) and Chris Rudloff (Ormond Beach, Fla./Mainland) were the next to come across the finish for the Eagles. Payne finished the event at the 27:21.55 mark, good for 53rd, just ahead of Rudloff’s 27:35.35, which placed him 54th in the field.
Rounding out the Eagles squad on Saturday were freshmen Ryan Stafford (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) and Shane Deeley (Clearwater, Fla./Dunedin HS), and junior Jonathan Lanning (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Military Academy). Stafford was slotted 57th with a time of 27:37.31, while Deeley and Lanning took 61st and 63rd, respectively, with corresponding times of 27:44.62 and 27:56.98.
The A-Sun Championship was the final team competition of the season for the Eagles. However, Cruz and Chemaoi will go on to represent the Green and Blue at the NCAA South Regional competition in Tuscaloosa, Ala. hosted by Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 12. Results and recaps from the event will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.
25. Argeo Cruz - 26:14.52
26. Gilbert Chemaoi - 26:14.59
36. Matthew Crowe - 26:33.83
39. Dillon McGee - 26:48.54
53. Sanders Payne - 27:21.55
54. Chris Rudloff - 27:25.35
57. Ryan Stafford - 27:37.31
61. Shane Deeley - 27:44.62
63. Jonathan Lanning - 27:56.98
A-Sun Championship Results
1. USC Upstate – 69
2. Kennesaw State – 79
3. Belmont – 84
4. Lipscomb – 90
5. UNF – 94
6. ETSU – 104
7. Mercer - 145
8. FGCU - 177
9. Stetson - 296
10. Jacksonville - 314