Women's Cross Country Announces 2006 Freshman Class
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University’s cross country coach, Chris Highfield announced the final additions to the 2006 women’s team.  Casey Hasten, Christina Slayman, and Abbie Zaspel will join Andrea Griggs of Fort Myers, Kaitlin Sauskojas of Spring Hill, Fla., and Katy Turner of Key Largo, Fla. to make up the 2006 freshman class.

Hasten, a Fort Myers native, and 2006 graduate of Mariner High School, set the all-time Mariner record in the 5K with a time of 19:57.  Last year, Hasten led her school to a third place finish in both districts and regionals.  The success in the district and regional meets gave Mariner it’s first-ever cross country state finals appearance.  Hasten finished 15th individually as she helped the team to a 12th place finish.  The two-year team captain received All-State Third Team and All-Area First Team honors after her senior year.  She also won the Triton Award for Most Valuable Runner three years in a row and the Footlocker Silver Medalist Award.  In addition to cross country, Hasten also lettered in track and field and softball.  Coach Highfield said, "Casey is a tremendous addition to our women's distance squad. She has several great accomplishments on her running resume. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with this home grown, exceptional student-athlete over the next few years."

At Astronaut High School in Titusville, Fla., Slayman excelled in multiple sports.  She was a varsity letter winner in basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, and track and field.  In cross country, Slayman was named team captain and she was honored with the 110% Award in Cross Country her senior year.  She also was a four-year member of Student Government and was given the Tom Statham Super Senior Award.  When asked about Slayman, Highfield said, “We feel very fortunate to have Christina in our jersey this fall. She is a remarkable young lady and has been quite a hidden gem within the state. In terms of running, she has only done so for a year, however she's certainly found her niche and has found success on the cross country course. She has clearly only scratched the surface in terms of her overall running potential and this is something we are looking forward to developing.”

Zaspel comes to FGCU by way of Burlington High School in Burlington, Wisconsin.  The 5’6 freshman was a four time letter winner in both cross country and track and field.  She was recognized as the cross country team MVP in all four seasons of prep competition.  In addition to team MVP, she was team captain in her last three seasons at Burlington High.  In her senior year, Zaspel qualified individually for the state finals.  She was also a First Team All-Conference and First Team All-County honoree.  Off the field, Zaspel was recognized for her academic success.  She was a member of the National Honor Roll and the National Honors Society. Zaspel also won the All-State Academic Award and was honored on the Who’s Who Among American Students list.  “Abbie is one of those student-athletes that has a great presence, which is felt both within the classroom and out on the athletic fields. She comes from an outstanding high school program and brings a wealth of running experience with her, here to FGCU. I am confident that she understands what type of commitment it will take to be as successful at the collegiate level, as she experienced the past four years. We are excited to have such a purely talented and gifted runner added into our cross country family,” stated Coach Highfield.

Last season the Eagle women placed in the top ten in five out of the six regular season invitationals.  They ended the season with a 17th place finish at the NCAA Regional Championship in Dade City, Fla.  The team returns eight runners from last year’s squad including four seniors.  The Eagles will open the season on September 2nd at the Nova Southeastern Sharks Invitational in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.