FORT MYERS, Fla. – Riding the highs of the 2013 season, the FGCU men’s and women’s cross country teams and head coach Cassandra Goodson will welcome three talented runners to The Nest this Fall as Troy Clark, Leonel Delacruz and Anita Munoz have all signed a National Letter of Intent, becoming official members of the Green and Blue.
“Troy, Leonel and Anita are a great start to our recruiting class,” Goodson said. “We will continue our recruiting through the spring, but these three establish a great foundation for next year’s incoming freshman class.”
Clark joins the FGCU family from Mount Dora, Fla., where he was a leading competitor for the Mt. Dora Bible Bulldogs. In the 2013 Florida High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships Clark placed fourth in the 1A boy’s 5k with a time of 16 minutes, 10.07 seconds, the top finish of all runners from Lake and Sumter counties. In his last season with the Bulldogs, Clark recorded a personal-best 15:40.88 to place 20th in the FSU XC Invitational 5k.
During his four years at Immokalee High School, Delacruz, a native of Immokalee, Fla., was a valuable member of the Indians’ cross country team and served as the 2013 captian. Showing an undying dedication, Delacruz became the greatest distance runner in IHS history, the same high school that Eagle great Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) attended. During his career with the Indians, Delacruz was a four-time state qualifier, three-time All-Conference Team member and the 2013 District, Region and 2A State Champion in cross country. In his senior season, Delacruz clocked a person-best 15:30.96 in the FSU XC Invitational 5k to take home 13th place.
Joining her IHS teammate to race collegiately with the Green and Blue is Munoz. Crowned 2013 team cross country MVP, Munoz represented her school as a three-time All-Conference selection and was the 2013 District and Region champion. Placing third in November’s FHSAA Cross Country Championships, Munoz ran a personal-best 5k time of 18:33.00, a mark that would rank 10th in FGCU’s all-time record book.
“Our team culture and identity has come a long way,” Goodson said. “In becoming members of our program, these three become part of a very special extended family. We look forward to incorporating them into what is already a talented and excited group.”
In addition to their accomplishments on the course, the three future Eagles embody the high ideals FGCU student-athletes are known to possess as each has shown excellence in the classroom and a desire to better the community.
While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Clark’s love for the sport and passion to help others can be seen every time he races with his friend Kyle, who suffers from autism. Clark and Kyle participate in local Special Olympics meets, racing either the 3k or 5k. While Clark’s hard work and dedication has earned him a spot on a Division-I roster, the same is true for Kyle as he has just accepted an invitation to compete in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
Shining in the classroom, Delacruz holds a 4.33 GPA and was named IHS Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2013 while also being a member of the High Honor Roll in 2012 and 2013. In his spare time, Delacruz enjoys volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, organizing books at the Public Library or helping mentor younger children at the local Immokalee Track Club. Showing the same commitment to the community as he does to athletics, Delacruz has spent 125 hours giving back to Immokalee.
Munoz displays a high quality of leadership to both her team and her school. Through her work as President of the Key Club, a tutor for students who speak English as a second language and membership in JROTC and Guadalupe Social Services, Munoz has spent more than 350 hours volunteering during her high school career. With a tight schedule filled with school, practice and community service, Munoz still finds the time to focus on her studies as she holds a 4.6 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Already having received 10 academic awards before graduation in May of this year, Munoz’s accolades in the classroom are highlighted by receiving the Highest GPA award in 2011 and being named a Top 10 Student in 2013.
“Troy, Leonel and Anita come with a long list of achievements and accolades,” Goodson said. “They represent great character, good work ethic and are excellent students in the classroom. They all share a passion for our sport and for Florida Gulf Coast University. The addition of these individuals makes me feel very good about the future of FGCU cross country.”
The talent and commitment of these three signees will help the Eagles continue to reach new heights, especially after two of the best runners in FGCU program history, seniors Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) and Cruz, ran their last race for the Green and Blue in November.