FORT MYERS, FL – In her first season on the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s cross country team, sophomore Katy Steffan (Naples/Barron Collier) is making it a season of firsts as well.
One week after posting the highest finish ever by a FGCU cross country runner - men or women - with a fourth-place finish at the Embry-Riddle Classic, Steffan rewrote the record books again this weekend.
Steffan cruised through the Disney 5-K Classic on Saturday in 19:40 to set a new FGCU record. She smashed the old mark of 20:13 set last fall by Carolyn Johnstone, her former high school teammate, by 33 seconds. Steffan, who transferred to FGCU after competing at Eckerd College a year ago, now has five of the top-10 fastest times in school history.
“"Katy ran an exceptional race,” said coach Chris Highfield. “She looked great at all three checkpoints (1,2,3 miles). We had a game plan heading into the race and she couldn't have executed it better. I'm really proud of her. She certainly deserves to hold this accomplishment.”
Four other Eagles posted season and career-best times this weekend, led by freshman Laura Salinas (Naples/Lely). Salinas bettered her personal record by over one minute as she completed the course in 20:34, the seventh-best time in school history, to finish 120th overall. Freshman Nicole Grothaus finished 174th overall with a career-best 21:41. Sophomore Lindsey Garven posted a season-best time of 22:33 while senior Jamie Knapp, in her first year with the Eagles, posted a career and season-best of 22:57. Sophomore Erika Long missed her career-best by five seconds with a time of 24:07. Junior Antoinette Savino, who did not compete in last’s week meet at Embry-Riddle, finished in 27:09.
"I have been very impressed with the year that Laura has had so far,” said Highfield. “For a true freshman to establish herself as our number 2 runner from day one says a lot about her, as both a person and an athlete. She is an extremely talented runner and I honestly believe we have only seen a small glimpse of what she can accomplish out on the racecourse. I am excited about her development here at FGCU over the next three years."
FGCU finished 25th of 32 teams competing. The University of Florida won the event.
The Eagles will travel to Deland for the Stetson Hatter Invitational, the final regular-season meet of the season, on Friday, October 15.