Cross Country: Esteban leads men at Mountain Dew for second year in a row


The UNF cross country team left the University of Florida Mountain Dew Invitational Sept. 18 with results similar to 2008’s race.

The men’s team earned third place and tallied 125 points after finishing second in 2008, while the women’s team improved from seventh to sixth place posting 156 points out of 23 teams.

For the men’s team, sophomore Jonathan Esteban was UNF’s top placing runner for the second straight year finishing in 18th after a 14th place finish in 2008.

Esteban was followed by freshman James Post who placed 28th with a time of 26:33, followed by sophomore Josh Brown in 35th with a time of 26:47, junior Will Pearce placed shortly behind with 38th place with a time of 26:55 and senior Sammy Palmer finished in 39th place with a time of 26:56 out of the 198 runners in the event.

“On the men’s side, Esteban continues to be a strong leader while James Post had a breakout race leading the rest of the men’s pack across the line within 20 seconds of each other,” UNF Head Coach Mark VanAlstyne said.

Freshman Shelby Kittrell led the UNF women, placing in at 17th with a time of 18:40.34. Freshman Melanie Novack placed 30th with a time of 19:08.44, while sophomore Erin Heasley finished close behind with 34th place and a time of 19:16.50 in the 5k race.

The UNF women finished sixth in front of four schools including Atlantic Sun Conference rival Florida Gulf Coast and the University of Miami, while finishing behind Jacksonville University who finished fourth. Before the match, VanAlstyne said he was excited to see how his team matched up against Jacksonville because they were ranked first on the women’s side in the A-Sun preseason coaches’ poll.

Last season in the Mountain Dew Invitational the men finished second of the 12 teams that participated. UNF finished on top of in-state rivals Florida International University, FAMU, Florida Atlantic University, USF, Miami and Florida Gulf Coast University. Esteban placed best overall for the UNF men’s team coming in 14th place with a time of 26:01.89 and Pearce finished 31st out of the 139 runners.

The women’s team finished in the middle of the pack last year at the event with senior Hilary Adams scoring the best time of 18:74.07 and finishing in 15th place.

The Ospreys will travel to Tallahassee Oct. 10 for their next competition to participate in the Seminole Invitational.