FORT MYERS, Fla. – Of the 344 Division I Women’s Cross Country teams only 21 are cross country-only programs; all others sponsor indoor and/or outdoor track and field. Based on the team average times for the 5K, FGCU’s women’s team ranked second among those 21 programs, behind only Northwestern University.
The Northwestern Wildcats, a member of the Big Ten Conference, averaged an 18:56 for the 5K in 2009, while the Eagles were 40 seconds behind with a team average of 19:36. The next closest team, Longwood, was more than a minute behind FGCU with a team average of 20:45.
The 2009 season was the most successful in the history of the FGCU cross country program. The women’s team won the Miami Greentree Invitational, their first win since September 2007.Junior Megan Thies (Brandon, Fla.) shattered the school record in the 5K at the A-Sun Championships with a time of 18:55. Freshman Shannon Compher (Oviedo, Fla.) also ran well at the conference championships, finishing in 19:09. If not for Thies’ outstanding performance that same day, Compher’s time would have broken the previous school record.
The FGCU men's cross country team had a strong season as well, winning the Flrunners.com Invitational and the inaugural FGCU Invitational, the first two wins in the history of the program.