CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The FGCU women's cross country team opened the 2009 season with a bang, winning the Miami Greentree Invitational at Larry and Penny Thompson Park in Coral Gables, Florida. Junior Megan Thies led the Eagles with a first-place overall finish, running the 5K in 19:39.66. The men's team finished third, led by senior Kyle Brunette's 10th-place finish, running the four-mile in 16:24.89. Afterwards, Coach Cassandra Harbin said, "this meet is a great start to our season! There were some good teams here, Miami, FAU, FIU, and both the men and the women went out there and competed. I am very proud of them."
The FGCU women earned 42 points, with Florida Atlantic finishing six points behind. Host Miami was third with 57 points. For the Eagles, three runners finished in the top five, including two freshman who finished close behind Megan Thies. Shannon Compher (19:43.75) and Leigh Mumford (19:50.44), each running in their first collegiate meet, placed second and fifth overall, respectively. Barrie Cohen (20:19.31), also a freshman, finished 13th overall. Rounding out the Eagles finishers, Taylor Cooke placed 24th with a 21:10.38 and Christine Baird placed 31st with 21:54.15. Coach Harbin was extremely proud of the girls, saying "the lady's had a great race! They work hard and deserve everything they get. Megan showed tremendous leadership."
For the men, the Eagles picked up 77 points, finishing 37 points behind first-place Nova Southeastern and 35 points behind second-place Florida Atlantic. Along with Kyle Brunette’s 10th-place finish, junior Joshua Brooks cracked the top 20 with a 16th-place finish (16:41.98). A pair of freshman finished in the top 25, with Jonathan Lanning (16:51.31) placing 23rd and Dillon McGee (16:52.31) placing 24th. The other five Eagle runners all finished in the top 50: Garett Faulkender (17:30.99, 36th), Joseph Hebel (17:38.19, 38th), Richard Black (17:57.73, 41st), Hugo Gijon (18:05.79, 42nd), and Max Jones (18:56.28, 50th).
The Eagles will be back in action on Saturday, September 19th, as both cross country teams participate in the Florida Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Florida. The women are set to start at 8:00 AM with the men to follow at 8:30 AM.