By: Jordan Harirchi
Superb athleticism and fitness continue to run the race for the UNF men’s and women’s cross-country teams.
The men’s team nabbed the top eight spots Sept. 30 in Titusville, at the FLRunners.com Invitational. The women’s team boasted a win as well, beating runner-up and conference rival Jacksonville University by 12 points.
The men’s team ran against two formidable conference foes, but overall, the opposing teams at the meet were all lower-echelon cross country schools, said winner, UNF junior James Post. UNF improved to tenth in the South Region, but still has work to do, Post said.
“There are a couple pieces we need to put together in the puzzle,” Post said.
The women’s team, while not winning as convincingly as the men’s team, still took care of business. Ranked sixth in the South Region, the women bring back the top racers on a team that won conference last year.
“We’ve never been this fast before,” senior Erin Nixon said.
The women’s team beat out a JU team ranked No. 12 in the region without Shelby Kittrell, a junior who consistently finishes among UNF’s top three runners. Beating JU was a major confidence booster for the team, Nixon said.
Coach Mark VanAlstyne said he is confident in the two teams’ chances at winning conference but won’t stretch to say the championship is a lock. The teams have a lot to work on, especially pack running, VanAlstyne said.
“At any point in the race, you should be able to touch someone,” VanAlstyne said. “We see them do it in practice, but on race day it’s different.”
The men’s team races next Oct. 14 at the UCF Invitational in Orlando. The women’s team next races Oct. 14 at the Panorama Falls Invite in Charlottesville, Va.