LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University cross country teams will kick off the 2013 season this weekend as they travel just outside Miami to compete in the Westminster Academy Collegiate Invite on Saturday, Aug. 31. The women’s team will hit the ground running the 3500m at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s 5K at 6:15 p.m.
In last year’s season opener the men’s team finished first overall as a result of five FGCU individual top-10 finishes with senior Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) taking home the top individual title. Meanwhile, the women’s team finished second with senior Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) finishing second overall.
In the 2013 A-Sun preseason poll the men’s team was tabbed to finish fourth overall, while the women were predicted to finish seventh.
For the men, seniors Cruz and Chris Rudloff (Ormond Beach, Fla./Mainland) lead the list of seven returning runners as both posted the top-two records all-time in the 8K last season. Cruz set a program-best time of 25:20.64 at the Greater Louisville Classic, breaking the previous mark by 17 seconds. Rudloff set the second-fastest time (25:28.98) in program history at the A-Sun Conference Championships. Rudloff was also named to the All-Conference Second Team with his time that day.
The women’s squad, an ever-improving program, heads into the 2013 season with six returners, including Perzanowski, who broke the school record for the 6K last year with a time of 22:02.6. Last season the women posted 16 personal records during the spring season in which they competed in five meets as part of a track and field ledger. During the regular fall season, the team took third out of 27 at the Disney World Classic (Oct. 6) and fifth at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge (Oct. 12).
After competing at Lauderdale Lakes, the Eagles go on to compete in five other meets, including its next trip to Gainesville to run in the UF Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 8 a.m.
This year’s A-Sun Championships will be held in Nashville, Tenn., and hosted by Lipscomb on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m.