LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University cross country teams opened the 2013 season with a first-place finish on both the men’s and women’s side Saturday night at the Westminster Academy Collegiate Invitational.
Sophomore Nathan Kandie (Iten, Kenya/Arizona) led the men with a first-place overall finish in the 5K, clocking a time of 15 minutes, 42.36 seconds. FGCU had six top-10 finishers as Austin Boetje (Lawrenceville, Ga./Mill Creek HS/Georgia State) finished third (15:46.43), Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) in fourth (15:48.45), Charles Bengston (West Palm Beach, Fla./John I. Leonard HS) took seventh (16:01.24), Chris Rudloff (Ormond Beach, Fla./Mainland) claimed eighth (16:08.71) and Courtland Bernard (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota HS) completed the top marks at 10th (16:14.10).
“I liked how we competed today, it was a good way to start the season,” head coach Cassandra Goodson said. “On the men's side, it was great to see an underclassman win the whole thing. Over the shorter distance, his leg speed won out over some of the strength of our upperclassman.”
The men tallied 23 total points to claim the team title, outpacing second-place Miami which had 44 points. Florida Atlantic (82 points) was third, followed by Florida International (95).
In the women’s 3500-meter run, senior Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) finished first overall (11:59.42), leading the Eagles to their first-place victory over Miami (47 points) and Florida Atlantic (68). FGCU racked up 20 team points for its best finish in a season opener ever.
“On the women's side, Kelly ran an impressive race by beating the whole field by over a minute,” Goodson said. “We saw a few newcomers step up and help our team.”
Joining Perzanowski in the top-10 were five other Eagles. Courtney Corradetti (Oceanside, Ca./Vista HS) placed third (13:30.45), Amanda Restivo (Mount Laurel, N.J./Lenape HS) took fifth (13:32.03), followed by Alicen Wilbur (Pine Island, Fla./Ida S. Baker HS) in sixth (13:45.45), Stephanie Cajas (Lithia, Fla./Newsome HS) in eighth (13:50.35) and Regan Farrow (Oviedo, Fla./Lake Howell HS) in 10th (14:02.33).
“We’re in a lot better position now than where we were at this point last year,” Goodson said. “We still have things we need to work on, but I feel good about this group. We are excited for what these teams are capable of and we’re looking forward to rest of the season.”
The Eagles hit the ground running again in Gainesville as they compete in the UF Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 8 a.m.
OVERALL WOMEN’S TEAM RESULTS
1. FGCU – 20
2. Miami - 47
3. Florida Atlantic – 68
FGCU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Kelly Perzanowski – 11:59.42
3. Courtney Corradetti – 13:30.45
5. Amanda Restivo - 13:32.03
6. Alicen Wilbur - 13:45.45
8. Stephanie Cajas - 13:50.35
10. Regan Farrow- 14:02.33
12. Emily Perkinson – 14:20.64
15. Gretchen MacMillan – 14:34.77
21. Kelsey English – 15:06.20
28. Savanah Lacey – 15:55.31