TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Capping the strongest season in program history, the FGCU men’s and women’s cross country teams posted the best results in program history while shattering two program records to earn a spot on the awards podium at the NCAA South Region Championships Friday morning at the University of Alabama. The men’s team finished 17th overall while Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) continued to shine against high-major competition placing 14th.
“Our performance today was a great culmination of our season,” head coach Cassandra Goodson said. “Almost everyone ran a personal best while leaving everything they had out on the course. To see FGCU on the award podium at regionals alongside some of the best teams in the country is very satisfying as a coach. I’m very proud of this team and what they accomplished this season.”
Taking to the starting line for the last time of their collegiate careers were Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) and Perzanowski whose program best results solidified their titles as the fastest runners in FGCU cross country history. Their final race of the 2013 season was no different than those prior as they both crossed the finish line in a program-high individual place while setting a school record. It’s safe to say that the achievements and recognition Cruz and Perzanowski brought to the Green and Blue will be remembered for years to come as they own every school record, all of which were posted this season, as well as 44 of the top 60 times.
Finishing the race in a record 20:38.86, Perzanowski outpaced every runner from the Atlantic Sun Conference as well as every runner from high-major programs Georgia, Mississippi, Auburn and Georgia Tech. In last year’s regional, Perzanowski finished in 101st place with a time of 22:02.6.
To begin the day, the men’s team outdid its 20th-place finish from last season’s race as it placed a program-best 14th with two runners claiming a spot in the top 50 for the first time. The Eagles totaled 385 points, compared to last season’s 477, to finish distantly ahead of South Alabama in 18th (453), Miami in 19th (459), Samford in 20th (472) and Vanderbilt in 21st (542).
Leading the Eagles was Cruz with a record 30:45.35 to finish in a program-high 25th place. Finishing in 36th was Austin Boetje (Lawrenceville, Ga./Mill Creek HS/Georgia State) (30:59.50), while Nathan Kandie (Iten, Kenya/University of Arizona) rounded out the trio of top-100 performances in 80th place (31:53.68). The three team leaders all posted personal bests while outrunning the former FGCU record of 32:22.90 set by Cruz at last year’s regional.
Adding to the list of FGCU accolades were the top-25 finishes by Cruz and Perzanowski, which named them to the NCAA South All-Region Team and put the Eagles on the awards podium for the first time.
The 2013 fall season comes to a completion for the Green and Blue as the top two teams and top four individuals are the select few advancing to the NCAA Championship race, hosted by Indiana State University on November 23.
FGCU Individual Results
25. Argeo Cruz* – 30:45.35
36. Austin Boetje* – 30:59.50
80. Nathan Kandie* – 31:53.68
120. Charles Bengtson* – 32:58.60
124. Courtland Bernard* – 33:04.86
138. Chris Rudloff – 33:35.25
152. Alex Delle Monache* – 34:32.49
14. Kelly Perzanowski* – 20:38.86