GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU men's and women's cross country teams will return to action Saturday, Sept. 14, as they take to the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. for the Mountain Dew Invite. The men's 8K is set to begin at 7:55 a.m., followed by the women's 6K at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday will mark the Eagles ninth overall and seventh consecutive appearance in the invite, with last year yielding their best finish to date as both teams finished fifth overall. Leading the men’s team, running a 25:39.8 for a 14th-place finish, was Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS), while Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) led the women with a 17th-place finish and a time of 18:33.2.
Twenty-six teams will join FGCU to race in The Swamp, including 14 NCAA Division I teams, Atlantic Sun Conference rivals North Florida and Stetson and five teams from the Southeastern Conference – including meet host University of Florida – whose men’s team currently ranks 23rd nationally.
Despite the meet’s competitive field, the Eagles look forward to Saturday with confidence as they aim to build on the success they have already registered this season. Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off winning performances in their season opener at the Westminster Academy Collegiate Invitational, finishing ahead of in-state foe Miami.
In the women’s 3500-meter run, Perzanowski finished first overall (11:59.42). Joining her 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).
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), Cruz 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).
Adding to their list of accomplishments, both teams were ranked fifth in the current A-Sun Cross Country Coaches Polls released by the league office on Thursday. This weekend the men challenge No. 3 North Florida and No. 9 Stetson, while the women will face No. 2 North Florida and No. 10 Stetson.
After they return from Gainesville, the Eagles will travel to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational Sept. 28.